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 ūüćĀ

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

No√©mie and Edlyn took part in the ‚ÄúPrinciples of Light Microscopy‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄĘ Karneval ‚ÄĘ 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 

From a Russian resto with Love

We kick off every new year with one-on-one review meetings with Nadine, in which we look back on the year before and plan for what‚Äôs to come. After these long, yet productive and fruitful meetings, we all deserve to celebrate together and replenish our minds & tummy with a nice and uber-filling Russian dinner (recommended by Ksenia). We also celebrated Hann passing his first Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting! Here’s to an exciting 2019!

I say Potato, You say Kartoffel

Every Thursday, our lab and other researchers at the MPI-CBG gather around the Stammtisch, or¬†the “regular’s table”.

We spend our lunch time in good company, learning and practicing our German, both with native German speakers, newbies, and slow/fast-learners.

As the saying goes, √úbung macht den Meister (Practice makes perfect)!

Another one with the Goose

Tis the time of the year again! Lab Goose dinner Рcelebrating the German tradition of Martinsgans. 

Nadine was unable to attend, but we made sure she got a piece of goose!