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

Prague. Pilsner. PhD retreat. ūü§ď

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!

Pop Goes the Champagne – Fellowship for Edlyn

Congratulations to Edlyn on her postdoctoral fellowship award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec РSanté (FRQS)!

As the Kool & The Gang would sing: “Cel-e-brate good times, come on!”

We think Ramya secretly shook the bottle before letting Edlyn open it…

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?

Introducing….Ramya!

This week, we’re very excited to welcome a brand new member of the Vastenhouw family! Ramya will be joining our lab as a postdoc, fresh from a previous postdoc position in the US.

As with the usual Vastenhouw lab tradition, we treated her to a fun night out in Dresden. We kicked off the night with a tasty dinner in the Altstadt and delicious heiße Birne Рhot pear juice topped with whipped cream. Yummy!

We also tested our creativity (and knowledge of Coldplay songs) with a fun game of Dixit.

Here’s to more fun times ahead!

 

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)!