The One with no Goose

Instead of taking part in our annual celebrations of St. Martin’s goose (or Martinsgans in German, refer to our previous posts: The One with the Goose and Another one with the Goose), this year we opted for a potluck dinner to welcome the latest addition to our group: Martino Ugolini. Everyone brought a dish and we indulged in good food with great company.

Welcome Martino! And we wish you lots of fun and exciting findings ahead as you embark on your PhD journey!

Collaboration with the Kimura Lab now published!

Congratulations to our collaborators Yuko and the rest of the Kimura lab for their work on active transcription and histone acetylation dynamics. Twas a wonderful scientific collaboration with Lennart and Nadine, and they are happy to see the published research out in Development!

 

Summer of ’19

Check out our summer cork board below, and you’ll find that the Vastenhouwies took part in many adventures. Even when we’re away from the lab, we like to keep our curious mind active and explore the wonders of science:

Get up close and personal with a tardigrade at Micropia (Museum of Microbes) in Amsterdam,

See the showcase of Alfred Nobel and past and current Nobel Laureates at the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm,

Interact with DNA and nucleosomes at the Health Care Museum in Tallinn, and

And when in Moscow, check out Moscow State University.

Summertime also means taking advantage of nice weather and summer events: the annual Elbhangfest festival along the Elbe River, a pleasant journey along Elbewegrad (Elbe River Bike Path) to Pirna, and heading out for lunch together as a bike gang.

O Canada!

Even though home is across the pond, that won’t stop a Canuck from celebrating Canada Day on July 1st!

Gather the labmates, plant the Canadian flag, and celebrate with Canadian beer 🍁

MZT in review

Our lab’s latest review is now out in Development!
It has been 10 years since Wael Tadros & Howard Lipshitz’s much-loved review “The maternal-to-zygotic transition: a play in two acts“. Now, Nadine, Howard Lipshitz and Wen Xi Cao (PhD student in the Lipshitz lab) revisit the field of maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) and take a look at the research conducted over the last decade. They provide an updated description and the current mechanistic understanding of MZT.

Happy reading!

 

 

Vastenhouwlab goes to Prague for EMBO meeting

The Vastenhouwlab is back from the EMBO Workshop: Awakening the Genome!

The meeting was held from May 15-18, 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic, and featured an amazing line up of speakers in the MZT field. The legendary Marc Kirschner (Harvard Medical School, USA) and Geneviève Almouzni (Institut Curie, France) were the keynote speakers. Many of us presented posters and received a lot of insights and comments.

Many thanks to the organisers for putting together such a wonderful program, and bringing together scientists for stimulating discussions. We look forward to the next EMBOmzt meeting 2 years from now!


Photo credit: header image and Nadine’s talk bubble from @SvobodaLab

Lab retreat 2019

We are back from lab retreat! This year’s retreat took place in Altenberg, a town in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) about 30 km from Dresden. 

Each lab member discussed where the current field is, where their project will lead to, the status of their research project, and their goals and action plans in the upcoming months. We were not only scientifically nourished by our labmates, but also by the friendly hotel staff.

Fun activities in the program included hiking, bowling (aka “kegel” in Germany), ping pong, board games, and alpaca-spotting!

Week of Enlightment

Noémie and Edlyn took part in the “Principles of Light Microscopy” course from April 1-5. Over the course of one week, a tight-knit group of 12 scientists (including PhD students, postdocs, and a BioImage analyst) discussed the basics of microscopy, optics principles, setup and techniques behind the different types of microscopes, digital imaging, and ended with extended resolution in fluorescence microscopy. The program contained a nice mix of theory learning, hands on experience, demos, and short presentations by other imaging specialists in our institute.

This microscopy course is held annually and is organized by our institute’s Light Microscopy Facility (LMF). This year, the course was held in a new venue, in our neighbouring Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD). Great location, making the course seem like a 1-week microscopy retreat!

 

Photos (top row, left to right): listening to imaging specialists, looking at an image of Edlyn’s hair through polarized light; (bottom row, left to right): studying the effects of refraction and polarization, at our microscope stations in small groups for some hands-on experience and tutoring, what do you see Noémie?

Fa-sching!

Some of us know it as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Carnival. Here in Germany, Fasching • Karneval • Fastnacht is serious business. Also known as the “Fifth Season”, Fasching begins in mid-November and ends on the Tuesday just before Lent. Some people might take part in many Carnival parties throughout the season, while others (like us) choose to hold in their spirits and unleash it all at a single party. 

This year, the labs residing on the 3rd floor of MPI-CBG are tasked with organizing the institute’s Carnival Party, held on March 1st, 2019. Some labs chose to do a themed or group costume. We were Vast-in-how we dressed up: mermaid, drunkard, sailor, strawberry, cow, cat, and a pink bunny. 

Photo credits: Nadine, Isabel LuValle-Burke // Photo collage: Edlyn