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“Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology” now out in Annual Reviews

Everything you ever wanted to know about our current understanding of cytoplasmic organization by phase separation, from the physics behind it to the consequences for disease, in one comprehensive review:

Hyman AA, Weber CA, Jülicher F. Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2014 Oct 11;30:39-58.

Congratulations to Tony, Frank Jülicher, and Christoph Weber (a postdoc in Frank’s lab)!

Impact of water in a water-surface

Image credit: Marlon Felippe, Wikimedia Commons

Listen to Tony’s radio interview about Christmas traditions

Tony was interviewed by the radio program MDR Figaro about his Christmas traditions and memories. Listen to the full story here! (In German)

The Hyman lab gets glamorous for the MPI Christmas Party

Last Friday, Dec 12 was the annual MPI-CBG Christmas party, and this year the theme was “CBG: Chic, Beautiful, Glamorous.” The dress code was black tie, and it was great to see so many people decked out in their finest, including Tony in his tux! The theme was rounded out with swing dancing lessons, a casino, and the 1st annual Dresden Dog Race, featuring 7 pet dogs of MPI Directors/employees hilariously chasing a stuffed bunny. The whole party was fabulously organized by Reni Schimmel and our own Christina Kuss, and many members of the Hyman lab were on the planning committee, so you can see them in the photos below running various parts of the casino.

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Jeff Woodruff speaking today at ASCB


Are you at the annual ASCB meeting in Philadelphia right now? If so, don’t miss tonight’s talk by Hyman lab postdoc Jeff Woodruff. He will be speaking at 6:05pm in Minisymposium 16: Microtubule Assemblies and their Functions, giving a talk entitled, “Regulated assembly of a supramolecular centrosome scaffold in vitro.” You’ll also find our postdoc Louise Jawerth at the meeting, so make sure to seek her out to discuss biophysics and phase separation.


Christmas Market season is here!

There is no denying the magic of the Dresden Christmas Markets, and the season is finally upon us. The Hyman lab took it’s annual outing on Tuesday, Dec 2 and visited one of our favorites, the Neumarkt Christmas market, for some Feuerzangenbowle, Handbrot, and fun. Happy Adventszeit (Advent/Christmas Season) everyone!

Bea, Astrid, Andrés, Olli, and Avinash at the Christmas market

Bea, Astrid, Andrés, Olli, and Avinash at the Christmas market

New publication stitches together EM slices into detailed mitotic spindle

Figure 1Congratulations to our former guest scientist Johanna Höög, members of the MPI-CBG’s stellar Electron Microscopy Facility, and other colleagues for their publication “Automated Stitching of Microtubule Centerlines across Serial Electron Tomograms.” This paper introduces a computational method which addresses the complex task of digitally aligning many serial electron tomography slices to create a complete, 3D image of spindles. Read the complete paper online!



Weber B, Tranfield EM, Höög JL, Baum D, Antony C, Hyman AA, Verbavatz J, Prohaska S. (2014) Automated Stitching of Microtubule Centerlines across Serial Electron Tomograms. PLoS ONE 9(12): e113222.

Congratulations to new dad, Alex Bird

NilsThe Hyman lab sends its warm and happy congratulations to our former postdoc Alex Bird (now a Group Leader at the MPI for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund) on the arrival of his son, Nils. Alex and Kat welcomed Nils into the world on November 18th. We wish the new little family all the best!

Grad students build a microscope from scratch

Hyman lab graduate student Beatriz Gomes built a microscope from scratch last week! On November 20, as part of the PhD Student Practical Course, a small group of predocs built a SPIM microscope (for Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy) in the lab of Jan Huisken. The students were supervised by Jahr Wiebke, a PhD student in the Huisken lab. Check out their handiwork in the photos below!

Bea Gomes, Sara Ciucci, Elisa Rieckhoff, and Jahr Wiebke

Bea Gomes, Sara Ciucci, Elisa Rieckhoff, and Jahr Wiebke


Tony elected to Academia Europaea, The Academy of Europe

Tony Hyman has been nominated and elected to Academia Europaea, The Academy of Europe. The Academy consists of ~3000 leading European experts in science, technology, humanities, social sciences, economics, and law. Invitations to join the Academy “are made only after peer group nomination, scrutiny and confirmation as to the scholarship and eminence of the individual in their chosen field. Election is confirmed by the Council of the Academia.” Read more about the Mission of Academia Europaea here.

Congratulations, Tony!

Farewell and congratulations to Martin Dreßler on his new job in industry!

Dr. Martin Dreßler

Martin wearing the graduation cap made for him by the lab and holding a “centrosome.”

We’re sad to say that it’s Martin’s last day! Congratulations to Dr. Dreßler as he starts his new job next week at Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG in Ravensburg, Germany. Martin will be joining their Regulatory Compliance team.

Martin completed his PhD in the Hyman lab and defended his dissertation, “Dynamics of pericentriolar material during the first cell division in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos,” in March of this year.

We’ll miss you, Martin! Best of luck on this new adventure.


More photos added from trip to Lisbon for #EMBOCentrosome

Here’s Oliver Wueseke, Julia Mahamid, Tony Hyman, Jeff Woodruff, Beatriz Ferreira Gomes, and Ben Engel in Lisbon for the EMBO Conference on Centrosomes. You can now see additional photos on our lab fun page!

Tony, arm wrestling champion

Tony has potential PhD students arm wrestle him for a spot in the lab! Or….at least he does in this clip from the video made by the DIPP PhD students for selection week. :)

Have a look by clicking on the photo below.

arm wresting

MaxSynBio kicks off today at the MPI-CBG

MaxSynBio, a multi-disciplinary research network of labs from nine different Max Planck Institutes, kicks off today with a 3-day meeting and workshop held at the MPI-CBG. This research consortium aims to approach the field of Synthetic Biology from a fundamental perspective of basic research, taking a bottom-up approach towards understanding biology. The Hyman Lab is looking forward to working together with the 9 other labs in the network on this project over the next 6 years.

This consortium is funded by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and BMBF.

See the “Meeting of the Minds” documentaries of the dialogues between scientists and artists for the MitoSys project

You can now view in its entirety the fantastic “Meeting of the Minds” documentary series, which premiered at the Lens on Life exhibit earlier this year. Find out why Tony took the documentary crew to Die Gläsernen Manufaktur last year, see Lucy throughout the process of creating the incredible handblown glass Cellswatch the dialogue develop between all of the artist/scientist pairs, and witness the final products of each collaboration. Each film was expertly directed and produced by filmmaker Natasha Serlin. The films were commissioned and conceptualized by Professor Marina Wallace. We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we have!

Ways of Growing: featuring Tony Hyman and Lucy & Jorge Orta

Ways of Being: featuring Jan-Michael Peters and Ackroyd & Harvey

Ways of Saying: featuring Kim Nasmyth and Shobana Jeyasingh

Ways of Seeing: featuring Melina Schuh and Rob Kesseler

Article by postdoc Avinash Patel – “Work and Play in Dresden”

Hyman lab postdoc Avinash Patel contributed an article about his experience at the MPI-CBG to a top daily magazine in India, India TodayYou can check out his article here: “Work and Play in Dresden” – well done, Avi!

See the stunning artwork that resulted from Tony’s MitoSys dialogue with Lucy + Jorge Orta

Cells Diptych by Lucy + Jorge Orta

Image from studio-orta.com

Last year, Tony was paired with artists Lucy + Jorge Orta for an ongoing dialogue about science, art, and cell division as part of the MitoSys Project. Dialogues between 4 pairs of artists and scientists led to works of art that were presented in the traveling Lens on Life exhibition. Now you can view photos of the beautiful artwork created by Lucy + Jorge Orta, Cells Diptych, a collection of watercolours and hand-blown glass cells. The cells are in various states of mitosis, meiosis, health, and disease. They are simply stunning.

You still have a chance to see the Lens on Life exhibition in person next year, too! The exhibition will be in Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London (January 27-February 27), and in the University Museum of Heidelberg University in Germany (March 16-April 28).

Goodbye and good luck to Simone, new Group Leader in Berlin!

It’s official: our beloved postdoc and frog-wrangler extraordinaire Simone Reber has left us for Berlin, and she’s taking the frogs with her! Simone is now a Group Leader at the new Integrative Research Institute (IRI) for the Life Sciences. This institute is a collaboration between the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Max-Delbrück-Center.

While Simone waits for her new lab to be built, you can find her at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, where she is currently a fellow.

Congratulations, Simone! We’ll miss you.

Simone and the Frog Oracles. Photo: Dirk Sukow

Simone and the Frog Oracles. Photo: Dirk Sukow

Hyman lab at the EMBO Centrosomes conference in Lisbon this week

Tony, Jeff, Oliver, and Beatriz are all on their way to the EMBO Centrosomes and Spindle Pole Bodies Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Jeff will be giving a talk and Olli & Tony will both be presenting posters.

Wednesday, October 1, 1:30pm poster session: Oliver Wueseke, “The C. elegans PCM components SPD-2 and SPD-5 are monomeric in the cytoplasm prior to incorporation into the PCM matrix” (poster # CB12)

Thursday, October 2, 1:30pm poster session: Tony Hyman, “Are centrosomes liquid drops?” (poster # CB11)

Friday, October 3, 9:00am: Jeff Woodruff, “In vitro reconstitution of C. elegans pericentriolar material”

See you in Lisbon!

Jeff, Bea, & Olli at the airport, ready to be in Portugal!

Jeff, Bea, & Olli at the airport this morning, ready to be in Portugal!

update: we're in Lisbon! Here's Bea ordering something delicious.

update: we’re in Lisbon! Here’s Bea ordering something delicious.

Welcome, new lab members: Amayra, Annett, Marcel, Richard, and Sonja!

Fall 2014 has brought an influx of smart and fun new people to the Hyman lab, and we’re excited to have all of them join us. Welcome:

• Annett Dümmler, Postdoc, taking over for Ina Poser as the head of our TransgeneOmics Team

• Amayra Hernandez Vega, Postdoc

• Marcel Kirchner, joint PhD student with Thomas Müller-Reichert at the Medical Theoretical Center (MTZ)

• Sonja Kroschwald, Postdoc (starting Oct 1)

• Richard Wheeler, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow

Tony speaks at Maria Leptin’s 60th birthday symposium in Cologne

Today, Tony is giving a talk at a symposium in Cologne in honor of Maria Leptin’s 60th birthday. Nobel prize winner Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is also a featured speaker. Happy birthday to Dr. Leptin, and to all the lucky attendees: enjoy!