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.

 

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.

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.