Vastenhouwies work from home

As of Friday evening of March 13th, 2020, our institute has temporarily closed to minimize our interactions and to reduce any spreading of the coronavirus. We are sad to part ways with our fish, and distance ourselves from both bench work and microscopes, as well as our labmates. 

Thanks to modern technology and digital tools, we are grateful to use multiple channels to stay in touch with one another and keep our curious scientific minds going. 

On Monday, March 16th, we kickstarted our first work-from-home day and week with our very first remote lab meeting over zoom (very reliable and great connection). We take #funwithvastenhouwies to the digital world!

Publication! Máté’s paper is out!

Máté’s PhD work on the regulation of chromatin accessibility during zygotic genome activation is now published!

Check out Máté’s work in PLoS Genetics and find out more about the role of the transcription factors in shaping the chromatin landscape.

Congratulations to Máté and to our wonderful collaborators Gunnar and Eivind (Valen Lab, University of Bergen, Norway) on their work!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 🍁

Prague. Pilsner. PhD retreat. 🤓

On May 19-21, our predocs Hann and Ksenia took some time off from the fishies to journey to Prague for the 2019 DIPP PhD retreat. DIPP PhD retreats are always organised by students and have a strict no-PI policy. This year, Ksenia was one of the organisers and she had a blast doing it!

In addition to enjoying refreshing Czech beer and the beautiful city of Prague, the PhD students also discussed science and career choices post-PhD with interdisciplinary guests invited for the retreat. This year, the PhD students welcomed Vikas Trivedi and Gopi Shah (MPI-CBG alumni) from EMBL Barcelona, Stephanie Weber from McGill, and Phillippe Gorry from University of Bordeaux. Our predocs had fruitful discussions with the speakers about career development and are looking forward to the next PhD retreat already!