Martino Ugolini

Martino was born in Heidelberg and grew up in Berlin. He studied in Pisa at the University of Pisa and at the Scuola Normale Superiore. During the summer between his second and third year, he worked in G. Cecere’s Lab at the Institut Pasteur (Paris) on the role of piRNAs in gene regulation in C. elegans. For his Bachelor’s thesis, he studied the age-dependent effect of the drug Rotenone on the lifespan of the short-lived killifish N. furzeri under the supervision of A. Cellerino. During his Master’s thesis, he studied the age-dependent regulation of the synaptic transcriptome in mice in A. Cellerino’s Lab (Jena). After discovering the MPI during a summer internship at the Bruguès Lab, he joined the Vastenhouw Lab as a predoc, where he will be studying the chromatin organization during the zygotic genome activation (ZGA). In his free time, he plays the violin, listens to music and watches movies.

Martino is also a PhD Student Representative for the IMPRS program.

Yelyzaveta Zadorozhna

Yelyzaveta was born in Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. She is currently studying Biotechnology at the University of Wroclaw in Poland. Her Bachelor’s project focused on the genetic disorders causing defective glycosylation and she is now continuing to investigate the role of nucleotide sugar transporters in cellular glycosylation for her Master’s research.

In the meantime, she tries to explore other exciting research directions during her summer breaks. Having spent two wonderful summers studying cyanobacterial Rubisco biogenesis as well as looking into the mechanisms of RNA mobility in plants, she is now ready for new adventures. Eager to get deeper insights into developmental biology and learn to work with zebrafish, she joined the Vastenhouw lab for an internship to explore the main players in zygotic genome activation. If you can’t find Liza at the lab bench, she might be painting, jogging in the city or enjoying an art event.

Pop Goes the Champagne – Fellowship for Edlyn

Congratulations to Edlyn on her postdoctoral fellowship award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS)!

As the Kool & The Gang would sing: “Cel-e-brate good times, come on!”

We think Ramya secretly shook the bottle before letting Edlyn open it…

Ramya Purkanti

Ramya comes from India with training in both computational and experimental techniques. She did her undergraduate engineering degree in Biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, India. For her doctoral work, she joined Prof. Mukund Thattai at National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), India to understand the billion-year-old origins of eukaryotic intracellular compartments. She discovered the role of gene duplications and hybridization in this key evolutionary transition. Diving deeper, she joined Prof. Michael Desai at Harvard to understand the effect of mutation rate on the dynamics and outcome of evolutionary processes. Along the way, her interest was piqued to understand how cells find/activate stimuli-relevant genes within the compacted nuclear genome in a time-sensitive manner. She decided to take on this challenge and joined Nadine at MPI-CBG to address this. Apart from science, she loves nature walks, gardening and theatre.

Diana Ortega Cruz

Diana comes from Getafe, a town close to Madrid. Amazed about everything she learnt about the human body, as well as, by maths and chemistry, she decided to study Biomedical Engineering. She carried out her Bachelor’s thesis in the CIEMAT Center in Madrid, developing a CRISPR gene editing strategy for an inheritable skin disease. After spending one year of her Bachelor’s in Riverside, California, and experiencing extreme warmth, she decided to go to the other extreme and continue her studies in Germany. She is currently studying in the Regenerative Medicine and Biology Master’s program in Dresden, which feels like a second home for her.

Hann Ng

Half way across the globe, Hann grew up in the tropical country of Malaysia where he had a curious mind for biology from a young age. In pursuit of understanding the ‘why’s and ‘how’s of life, he moved to Leeds, UK for his Integrated Masters in Molecular Medicine at University of Leeds. During which, Hann worked on using CRISPRi to knockdown genes involved in histone modifications under the guidance of Dr. Ron Chen. There, he grew increasingly perplexed and fascinated by the complexities of transcriptional control and the regulation of cell type specific transcriptional programs. This eventually led him to the Vastenhouw lab, where he will be attempting to understand transcriptional control by studying how the earliest transcription event in the developing zebrafish embryo is initiated. When he’s not at work, Hann likes to cook, dance salsa and read (not just journal articles).

Noémie

Noémie was born in a small town close to Paris. She fell in love with genetics in her first science classes in middle school. After high school, she studied medicine in Paris and received her Bachelor’s in medical sciences. Then, she switched from medicine to research and graduated from the Magistère Européen de génétique in Paris Diderot University. During her Master’s, she had the opportunity to work on the HOX gene evolution in plankton (Oikopleura dioica) in the Chourrout group, Center for Marine Biology in Bergen, Norway. Afterwards, she had a great experience studying the effects of compressive stresses on C. albicans in the Holt group, NYU, New York. Finally, she did her Master’s thesis with Dr Escude’s group at the Natural History Museum of Paris, where she worked on the evolution of alpha-satellite sequences in Cercopithecini. Now, she begins a new chapter in the Vastenhouw lab. She will be focusing on understanding early gene transcription in zebrafish and the biophysical mechanisms involved in that process. Exciting!

During her free time, she likes to play the violin (be careful of your ears), travel, and build her family tree.

Dinara Sharipova

Dinara is a Master student of Novosibirsk State University, which is located in the middle of Siberia in the scientific town called Akademgorodok. There, she is studying cell biology and genetics, and doing her research project in the laboratory of developmental epigenetics under the supervision of Prof. S.M. Zakian and S.P. Medvedev. Her research topic is related to cell modeling in neurodegenerative disorders on patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells. During her Bachelor’s studies, she worked with Huntington’s disease cell model and now, for her Master’s, she is studying the molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of Parkinson’s disease. In spite of such neuroscientific direction in her research, she had always been fascinated by embryology and developmental biology – dating back to an embryology course in her university.

This summer, she is doing an internship in the Vastenhouw lab –  an opportunity to work with zebrafish embryos and to study the transcriptional landscape during early zebrafish development.

Apart from science, Dinara is interested in dancehall dancing, horseback riding, skating, and travelling.

Davide Recchia

Davide was born in Michigan and raised in South Carolina, USA.  He did his undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. While there he started working in the lab of Dr. Bert Ely studying the evolutionary relationship between the bacterial genus Caulobacter and their bacteriophage. He’s also had the opportunity to work in the lab of Dr. Rekha Patel studying translational regulation in response to stress signals. Wanting to continue his studies and see more of the world, he moved to Dresden for his master’s studies. For his thesis, he has joined to Vastenhouw lab to study zygotic genome activation in Zebrafish. In his spare time he enjoys biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

The Vastenhouw Lab goes to Laboratory Animal Science Training

Our lab took part in a one week theory and practical training on “Using Experimental Animals in Research”.
During the course we also got exposed to different kinds of fish: besides our favorite zebrafish, we even performed small experiments with medaka and Tilapia! As is evident from the group picture, we had a lot of fun and would like to thank all the organizers.