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.

 

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.

Berry-licious birthday

Happy birthday to the North Americans in the lab, Davide and Edlyn!

The Vastenhouwies kicked off the week with a double dose of sweets, two berry-licious cakes,

and chilling with former lab members, Máté and Pavel.

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!

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.

Let them eat cake!

To satisfy everyone’s taste buds, Nadine spoiled us with five different cakes.

Happy birthday Nadine! May the upcoming year be as sweet as these five cakes combined!

 

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.

Ksenia: ✓ TAC

Freues neues Jahr! Happy New Year!

 

Congrats to Ksenia for passing her first Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting!

With full support from her committee members, Ksenia is ready to push her PhD projects forward into 2018.