Shufflin’ shufflin’

As the end of summer creeps up on us, we take some time to do some cleaning and shufflin’.

We prepare our space for some newbies, who will be joining our group in the fall.

Our treat after a deep office cleaning – PIZZA LUNCH!

Pizza Science and Beyond… with Vastenhouwlab

 

About once a month, DIPP PhD students gather to share & discuss their research with their peers in an informal atmosphere, along with pizza. Pizza Science and Beyond (PSB) is an initiative from the Student representatives of the DIPP predocs.

This year, both Mate (back in March) and Ksenia (this August) gave chalk talks featuring lab’s signature ZGA curve on a board.

How is transcription organised in the nucleus? How does the chromatin become open? Does Mate really have a wikipedia page?… and many other questions were discussed.

 

Photos by Shady El-Husseiny

VW Foundation Grant for Nadine & Jan

Congratulations to Nadine and Jan Brugués!

Nadine and Jan received a 1.5 million Euro grant from the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung), as part of the funding initiative “Life? – A Fresh Scientific Approach to the Basic Principles of Life”.

The two groups will collaborate on the project “The spark of life: initiation of transcription in embryos, and recapitulating such in synthetic nuclei”.

The Germans have a perfect word (and attitude) for how one should end their work day: Feierabend (literally translates to “party evening”). Together with the Brugués lab, we hung up our pipettes, turned off those microscopes, bade farewell to our pet fish and frogs for the day, and partied together to celebrate Nadine and Jan’s achievement.

Contact us if you’re interesting in joining our team to investigate the physical principles that govern transcription initiation during early embryo development.

 

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.

Edlyn back from Postdoc Retreat

Edlyn returned from the 8th Annual MPI-CBG Postdoc Retreat, which took place in Lwowek Slaski, Poland, from 11-13th of June, 2018.

The three-day retreat featured talks from fellow postdocs at the institute & invited speakers, career panel session, and an afternoon of rafting along the Bóbr River.

Invited speakers:

  • Dr. Veronique Miron (University of Edinburgh)
  • Dr. Timothy Nott (University of Oxford)
  • Dr. Marc Güell (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona)
  • Dr. Sebastian van de Linde (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)
  • Dr. Carl Modes (MPI-CBG, CSBD)

The postdocs also welcomed two postdocs from the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR (IMG), Prague as part of the ARIB “Teaming for Excellence” Program.

All hail Dr. Pálfy!

Congratulations Máté! No ATAC today. Instead, Máté successfully defended his PhD.

18 figurines gathered on Máté’s Doktorhut, making him the most connected member of the Vastenhouw lab!

We also bid Máté a fond farewell on this day. Best wishes for your next adventure!

Easter Egg-citement

We joined forces with members of Gaia Pigino’s lab for an artsy day of Easter Egg Painting!

So many artistic approaches to design our eggs, including lacquer/wax painting and onion peel/colouring dye.

Check out our Lab egg on the right, showing the different nationalities that make up the Vastenhouw Lab (Currywurst – Germany, Cornflower – Estonia, Tulip – the Netherlands, Hungarian Paprika – Hungary, Hamburger – USA, Maple Leaf – Canada)

Let’s get biophysical

Last week, the Vastenhouw lab was at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC) for a symposium on the “Biophysics in the Nucleus”, with Nadine among the co-organizers. The meeting featured an excellent line up of speakers in the fields of chromatin remodeling, nuclear architecture, and transcription mechanisms.

Lots of fascinating talks and stimulating discussions covering many disciplines – biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, genomics, and single molecule microscopy!

Both Lennart and Máté were selected to give a talk, and Ksenia and David presented a poster of their projects.

 

 

Máté presenting his PhD work on the last day of the symposium.

Paper in Development about the loss of mesendodermal competence

We celebrated with cake and champagne the new paper from our lab published in Development.

The study, led by our former postdoc Pavel, determines the time during zebrafish development when the prospective ectoderm becomes unable to respond to mesendoderm-inducing Nodal signals. By activating the Nodal pathway with several different strategies, we showed that reduced expression of the Nodal coreceptor Oep causes loss of mesendodermal competence.

The champagne bottle was nicely decorated by Sabrina with the in situ hybridization protocol that was used in the paper.