Lab Retreat 2017

Tis that time of the year again! This year’s Vastenhouw Lab retreat took place in Technische Universität (TU) Dresden’s Computer Science green building. Together with Vasily Zaburdaev (MPI-PKS) and Thomas Quail (Jan Brugues lab, MPI-CBG), we had a matinee of stimulating and fruitful discussions.

In the evening, we all gathered around a kitchen and bar – where we got to cook our dinner and shake our cocktails (with some help from the professionals). A festive night for the Vastenhouw Lab! There were also hellos and goodbyes. We welcomed new lab members and said farewell to the veterans, as they transition to the next chapter of their career.

        

 

The Vastenhouw Lab goes to Laboratory Animal Science Training

Our lab took part in a one week theory and practical training on “Using Experimental Animals in Research”.
During the course we also got exposed to different kinds of fish: besides our favorite zebrafish, we even performed small experiments with medaka and Tilapia! As is evident from the group picture, we had a lot of fun and would like to thank all the organizers.

Celebrate! Carine’s paper is out & Happy birthday Máté

Cake and champagne to celebrate Máté’s birthday and Carine’s latest achievement: her research on how transcriptional noise is resolved in the embryo is out! Shout out to Christoph Zechner (Center for Systems Biology Dresden), who collaborated with Carine on this story.

Check out the paper in Genes & Development’s August 15th issue: http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/early/2017/09/13/gad.302935.117

which will feature the cover illustration (below right) from Julia Eichhorn (Media Technologies & Outreach, MPI-CBG).

Visit Hiroshi Kimura & Co.

We had the pleasure of Hiroshi Kimura, Yuko Sato (both Tokyo Tech), and Chikashi Obuse (Osaka University) visiting our group. We were treated to a great presentation by Hiroshi, discussions with all visitors, and by a lucky accident the “big dinner” conincided with Lennart’s birthday. To explain what you see in the picture…

Science cruise along the Elbe River

2017.08.17 – Pavel and Edlyn took part in DRESDEN-concept’s Wissenschaftsfahrt (Science Cruise). They joined other fellow researchers (from MPI-CBG and around Dresden) to celebrate Dresden as an outstanding city for science and culture.

DRESDEN-concept (Dresden Research and Education Synergies for the Development of Excellence and Novelty) is a research alliance that aims to “realize synergies in research, teaching, infrastructure and administration”. MPI-CBG is among the many partners of this network. For more information, visit: www.dresden-concept.de/en/home.html

The evening was filled with mingling with scientists, a speech from Dr. Eva-Maria Stange (the Saxon State Minister of Science and Fine Arts), enjoying music from a live band, and taking in the beautiful landscapes along the Elbe River.

 

 

 

 

 

eLife Paper on Refractive Index Matching in Live Imaging

Microscopes are optimized to give the clearest images, taking great care of all optical components along the light path. This has lead to a situation where the transition between a live sample and the surrounding liquid becomes the biggest imperfection in the optical path.

In this MPI-CBG/MPI-PKS/CSBD collaboration, lead by Tobias Boothe from the Rink lab, we show a simple but highly effective procedure to minimize the optical imperfection at the sample/medium interface. The technique is based on OptiPrep (chemical name: iodixanol), which can be ordered and used in any biological laboratory without any unusual equipment. Our technique worked with no toxicity or other problems in whole animals, primary cells, cell lines, as well as organoids.

Find our paper online with eLife.

Máté at the Zebrafish Meeting in Hungary

July 3rd – 7th, 2017: Máté attended the 10th European Zebrafish Meeting in his hometown, Budapest, and gave a talk in the Genomics/Epigenetics session. The conference brought together the ever-growing zebrafish community (over 500 participants) and covered a wide range of topics. Those who missed it will have to wait until 2020, when the next EZM takes place in Prague.

 

 

Edlyn at MPI-CBG Postdoc Retreat

Edlyn attended the 7th Annual MPI-CBG Postdoc Retreat, which took place in the beautiful and picturesque Tisá, Czech Republic, from 19th to 21st of June, 2017.

The three-day retreat included talks (and elevator pitches) from fellow postdocs at the institute & invited external speakers:

  • Dr. Simon Reber (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin),
  • Dr. Elvan Boke (Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona),
  • Dr. Selina Wray (University College London),
  • Dr. Adrian Raga (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven),
  • Dr. Olof Idevall-Hagren (Uppsala University);

and talks from our very own: Dr. Jacqueline Tabler and Dr. Christoph Zechner.

The retreat was scientifically enriching and also featured a hiking trip in Bohemian Switzerland, through the sandstone rocks of the Tisá Walls.

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Science outreach – for juniors and seniors

Last month Pavel, Lennart, and Máté shared their enthusiasm for science as part of the “Junior Doktor” and “Seniorenakademie” series at our institute.

Pavel taught highly motivated pupils from primary school about the evolution of the eye. This was followed up by a microscopy session where the ‘scientists of the future’ got to look at zebrafish pineal glands and stained nuclei of zebrafish embryos.

Máté gave a seminar about transcription factors to an excited elder audience. He talked about general concepts of how transcription factors can orchestrate gene expression programs with some examples from his own research in zebrafish.