Marsden grant awarded

We are excited to announce that a Marsden grant was awarded to Julia Horsfield (University of Otago, NZ), Justin O’Sullivan (University of Auckland, NZ) and us, to investigate how genes switch on at the start of life. The Marsden Fund, which was established in 1994 to fund excellent fundamental research, is a contestable fund administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Looking forward to exciting collaborations across continents 🙂

Lab retreat 2016 – Saxon Switzerland

In September 2016, the Vastenhouw lab participated in its annual lab retreat located this year in Saxon Switzerland. Till Bartke from Imperial College London and Jop Kind from the Hubrecht Institute were our invited speakers and they provided fascinating talks. The science was great and the discussions were fruitful. We also had team bonding activities - hiking and rafting. We are all looking forward to the next one!

EMBO Workshop: Maternal-to-Zygotic Transition

The MPI-CBG will host the EMBO Workshop “Awakening of the Genome: The Maternal-to-Zygotic Transition” from 23rd to 26th of April, 2017.
Nadine Vastenhouw and her co-organizers Philip Zegerman, Howard Lipshitz, and Petr Svoboda will be hosting an eclectic roster of international experts cutting across disciplines, techniques, and model systems.
To learn more about the speakers, programme, and – of course – to register, please visit
Feel free to print and display the workshop poster (here as full definition PDF).


Thesis Defense Carine

Carine sporting her "Doktorhut"

As the first Vastenhouw Lab Predoc student, Carine has successfully defended her thesis. Congratulations Carine, also on the impressive “Doktorhut” (special German version of the PhD graduation hat).

Genome Architecture Meeting at ICTP, Trieste

Lennart participated in the meeting “Genome Architecture in Space and Time”, which took place at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste from June 20th to 24th. The venue would suggest a Physics and Theory heavy meeting – and certainly there was some of that – but the conference covered various aspects of genome architecture. From newest biophysical and imaging approaches, via medical relevance of aberrations in genomic structural elements, to polymer folding models, a truly eclectic mix of questions and approaches was presented. Unusual for an international meeting, the invited speakers had about 45 minutes each. Throughout, this time was put to good use, allowing comprehensive introductions, sometimes reaching back decades to lead up to the most up-to-date questions.

Pavel visits the lab of Prof. Tatjana Sauka-Spengler in Oxford

In mid-March 2016, Pavel visited the lab of our collaborator Prof. Tatjana Sauka-Spengler in Oxford, UK. Tatjana’s lab established a genetically encoded system for biotinylation of specific targets in fish cells, allowing, among other applications, tissue-specific isolation of nuclei.

Supervised by a cheerfully enthusiastic PhD student Vanessa Chong, Pavel performed several rounds of nuclei isolation and is looking forward to introduce this method to Vastenhouw lab. 

Apart from having great time in Tatjana’s lab, Pavel also explored the charming campus of the Oxford University.

Thanks the entire Sauka-Spengler lab for a great time!

Setting up the experiment

Segmented Cells

FISHing fish, explained on thenode

Our recent publication is covered in a piece on FISHing fish. Check out the description and a bit of a behind-the-scenes insight into of the paper!

Link to post on thenode

Paper reference:

Stapel, L Carine; Lombardot, Benoit; Broaddus, Coleman; Kainmueller, Dagmar; Jug, Florian; Myers, Eugene W.; Vastenhouw, Nadine L.
Automated detection and quantification of single RNAs at cellular resolution in zebrafish embryos
Development, 143, no. 3, pp. 540-546, (2016)