Ksenia is from Estonia, where she studied Gene Technology and got first hands-on research experience in the immunology lab of Dr Sirje Rüütel-Boudinot. With an early formed passion for developmental biology, she moved to France for an international Master’s at Université Pierre et Marie Curie. For her Master`s project, Ksenia studied the regulation of trophobast identity at the maternal-fetal interface in the group of Dr Céline Méhats. During a sunny semester in Portugal, she got introduced to the zebrafish model and gene editing tools in the lab of Dr Miguel Godinho-Ferreira. Before moving on to PhD, she worked in the lab of Dr Tambet Teesalu, where they use phage display screens to identify homing peptides. Eager to unravel the mysteries of early development, Ksenia started her PhD in the Vastenhouw group to understand the regulation of zygotic genome activation. When away from the bench, she enjoys exploring the surroundings, hiking and learning salsa.
Davide was born in Michigan and raised in South Carolina, USA. He did his undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. While there he started working in the lab of Dr. Bert Ely studying the evolutionary relationship between the bacterial genus Caulobacter and their bacteriophage. He’s also had the opportunity to work in the lab of Dr. Rekha Patel studying translational regulation in response to stress signals. Wanting to continue his studies and see more of the world, he moved to Dresden for his master’s studies. For his thesis, he has joined to Vastenhouw lab to study zygotic genome activation in Zebrafish. In his spare time he enjoys biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
Edlyn was born in Montréal, Canada. She grew up enjoying the Montréal winter and cheering on her favourite hockey team: the Montreal Canadiens. Edlyn majored in Biochemistry at McGill University. She was among the first students to join Dr. Thomas Duchaine’s lab, where she completed her MSc and PhD. Her focus was understanding the mechanism of microRNA-mediated gene silencing, using C. elegans as a model organism. With a passion for traveling, and a long standing interest in zebrafish and early developmental biology, she moved to Europe and joined the Vastenhouw group in January 2017. Edlyn is investigating the molecular events that regulate the timing of zygotic genome activation.
Nadine was born in Amsterdam and after a happy youth in one of the many Dutch polders, she returned to Amsterdam to do her Masters in Medical Biology. Here, her passion for biology and science communication was born. For her PhD, she joined the lab of Ronald Plasterk at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht and dissected the mysteries of transposon silencing and RNA interference in the roundworm C. elegans. After graduating in 2006, Nadine moved to Cambridge to join Alex Schier’s lab at Harvard University. Funded by EMBO and HFSP, she fell in love with the first few hours of zebrafish development and spent her time investigating the role of chromatin structure in the regulation of embryonic transcription. In 2012 she moved back to Europe to start her lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden thanks to generous funds by the Max Planck Society, The MPI-CBG and HFSP.
Carine was born in The Netherlands where she studied Biomedical Sciences in the beautiful city of Utrecht. After finding her passion for research during an internship on genome stability in the lab of Marcel Tijsterman, Carine decided that she wanted to see more of science/the world. This led to a summer internship at Sloan-Kettering in NYC where she worked on miRNAs in the lab of Jidong Liu. Not ready to leave the US, she went on to do her Master’s thesis research at Harvard University in the lab of Alex Schier. This is where she met Nadine. Fascinated by the question how transcription is activated during development, she decided to follow Nadine to Dresden. Here she is using single molecule RNA imaging to better understand zygotic genome activation.
Mate is from Budapest, Hungary where he also did his undergraduate training in Biology. He got a first taste for research while working in the Network Biology group at ELTE University; here he studied the role of endocytosis in regulating signaling pathways. For his Master’s project he switched fields and countries and went to the Max F. Perutz laboratories in Vienna to work on the cell biology of cilia using C. elegans as a model. Mate started his PhD in the Vastenhouw lab in September 2013 and is trying to unravel how transcription is repressed before zygotic genome activation in zebrafish. In his free time he loves doing outdoor sports including mountain biking, trail running and cross-country skiing.
Shai hails from Sydney Australia and has a pastime of trekking and climbing. Shai majored in physiology at the University of Sydney and found his passion for embryology during his honors year (2009) in the lab of Professor Chris O’Neill at the Kolling institute. Here he investigated the adverse effects of in vitro culture on the pluripotency of developing mouse embryos. In 2010 he became the research assistant of Dr Kirsty Walters at the ANZAC institute, whereby he examined the role of androgens during mouse ovarian follicle development. After taking half a year off to travel the world, Shai moved up north to Townsville (2012) and joined the veterinary school at James Cook University as a technician. Having decided to continue with his studies, Shai started his PhD in 2013 in the lab of Dr Nadine Vastenhouw at the MPI-CBG Dresden. Shai is investigating the role of chromatin in controlling the timing of zygotic genome activation in zebrafish.
While studying Physics in Bremen, Lennart focussed on dynamical systems when working with Peter Richter’s group (2005-2008). Biomathematics first interfered during visits to the Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics in Physiology and Medicine at McGill University and to the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University (2008 and 2009). Thus deflected into a Physiology Ph.D. in Montréal at McGill, Lennart investigated molecular mechanics of muscle myosin groups (2010-2014). He was supervised by Michael Mackey and Anne-Marie Lauzon and member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Systems Biology Graduate Program. Ultimately convinced that theory and experiment go together, he is now an ELBE Systems Biology PostDoc, in affiliation with Nadine Vastenhouw (MPI-CBG) and Vasily Zaburdaev (MPI-PKS). Progressing from groups of purified proteins to groups of living cells, he now investigates subnuclear gene localization in early zebrafish development. Lennart has also been artistically active for years, most recently employing math-bio-physical systems in live performances.