Maurijn van der Zee is a tenure-track assistant professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His primary interest is to understand the genetic and developmental mechanisms that underlie evolutionary change in animals, but recently he has been exploring a new field: innate immunity in insects. Six months ago he became a father for the first time ‘to a beautiful daughter’. His first PhD student also graduated very recently: he says that this also felt a bit like becoming a father. Maurijn also enjoys writing popular science articles for the Dutch press and giving public lectures.