Another one with the Goose

Tis the time of the year again! Lab Goose dinner – celebrating the German tradition of Martinsgans

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

                                                              

Hello, Goodbye

A lot of movement in the lab so far this fall!

At the end of September, we bade a fond farewell to 2 Vastenhouwies:

During the first two weeks of October, we welcomed 3 newcomers to the lab.

  • Diana is expanding her scientific experience and joining our group for a Master’s rotation project.
  • A new chapter begins for Noémie and Hann, as they embark on their PhD journey!

 

Hello, Goodbye picture-moments. For Lennart: heartwarming goodbyes and our last hearty lunch meal together. For Dinara: an afternoon of coffee and sweets, together with Henrike from Michael Hiller‘s group (Dinara’s micro-injection buddy). For our newbies: a merry evening to welcome them to the Vastenhouw group. Many thanks to Elisa (from Norden lab) & Tommaso for the Melanzane alla parmigiana! Eat a lot today, tomorrow we will walk it off!

 

Diana Ortega Cruz

Diana comes from Getafe, a town close to Madrid. Amazed about everything she learnt about the human body, as well as, by maths and chemistry, she decided to study Biomedical Engineering. She carried out her Bachelor’s thesis in the CIEMAT Center in Madrid, developing a CRISPR gene editing strategy for an inheritable skin disease. After spending one year of her Bachelor’s in Riverside, California, and experiencing extreme warmth, she decided to go to the other extreme and continue her studies in Germany. She is currently studying in the Regenerative Medicine and Biology Master’s program in Dresden, which feels like a second home for her.

Hann Ng

Half way across the globe, Hann grew up in the tropical country of Malaysia where he had a curious mind for biology from a young age. In pursuit of understanding the ‘why’s and ‘how’s of life, he moved to Leeds, UK for his Integrated Masters in Molecular Medicine at University of Leeds. During which, Hann worked on using CRISPRi to knockdown genes involved in histone modifications under the guidance of Dr. Ron Chen. There, he grew increasingly perplexed and fascinated by the complexities of transcriptional control and the regulation of cell type specific transcriptional programs. This eventually led him to the Vastenhouw lab, where he will be attempting to understand transcriptional control by studying how the earliest transcription event in the developing zebrafish embryo is initiated. When he’s not at work, Hann likes to cook, dance salsa and read (not just journal articles).

Noémie Chabot

Noémie was born in a small town close to Paris. She fell in love with genetics in her first science classes in middle school. After high school, she studied medicine in Paris and received her Bachelor’s in medical sciences. Then, she switched from medicine to research and graduated from the Magistère Européen de génétique in Paris Diderot University. During her Master’s, she had the opportunity to work on the HOX gene evolution in plankton (Oikopleura dioica) in the Chourrout group, Center for Marine Biology in Bergen, Norway. Afterwards, she had a great experience studying the effects of compressive stresses on C. albicans in the Holt group, NYU, New York. Finally, she did her Master’s thesis with Dr Escude’s group at the Natural History Museum of Paris, where she worked on the evolution of alpha-satellite sequences in Cercopithecini. Now, she begins a new chapter in the Vastenhouw lab. She will be focusing on understanding early gene transcription in zebrafish and the biophysical mechanisms involved in that process. Exciting!

During her free time, she likes to play the violin (be careful of your ears), travel, and build her family tree.

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!

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.