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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

Tony gives talk at RIKEN in Japan


Today, Tony gave a lecture on “Liquid-like compartments in cells: Implications for polarity and disease” at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan (see poster below). This visit also gave him the chance to catch up with former Hyman lab postdoc Yusuke Toyoda! Yusuke is now a researcher at the Institute of Life Science at Kurume University in Japan. Here’s a photo of a very happy Yusuke, out to dinner with Tony in Kobe this evening.


tony at RIKEN

Happy New Year from the Hyman Lab!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2015. Enjoy this artwork created by lab member Oliver Wueseke, titled “Ying Yang Worms.”


Santa visits the lab

Avinash and Shamba are hard at work in the lab this Christmas break, so a secret Santa made them a special advent calendar to carry them through the Christmas and New Year’s. We’re curious to find out what those envelopes hold.IMG_3720

Wishing everyone happy holidays and a wonderful 2015, from all of us in the Hyman lab!

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)

Copyright Heike Schwarzer/MDR Figaro

Read the description in English (translated by Tony) and German below:
Anthony Hyman is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology in Dresden, has lived for 16 years Saxony, and left his native Britain 27 years ago. How do you experience Christmas if you were born in Israel, grew up in London, lived in the United States and are now at home in Dresden? Does Christmas happen as in your own childhood on December 25 ? Or rather like those of your neighbors in Dresden on the 24th? What do you sing, what do you eat? What Christmas rituals are important at all?  For Anthony Hyman, everything is written down in a prized book, with some Saxon additions.  With the help of this book, Heike Schwarzer discusses Christmas with Anthony Hyman.


Antony Hyman ist Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für Molekulare Zellbiologie in Dresden, seit 16 Jahren lebt er in Sachsen und vor 27 Jahren hat er sein Heimatland Großbritannien verlassen. Doch wie erlebt man Weihnachten, wenn man in Israel geboren wurde, in London aufgewachsen ist, lange in den Vereinigten Staaten lebte und nun in Dresden zu Hause ist? Passiert Weihnachten wie in der eigenen Kindheit am 25.Dezember? Oder so wie bei den Nachbarn in Dresden? Am 24ten?  Und überhaupt, was singt man, was isst man? Welche Weihnachtsrituale sind überhaupt wichtig? Bei Antony Hyman steht alles in einem besonderen Weihnachtsbuch und einiges kam in Dresden neu dazu. Heike Schwarzer hat mit Antony Hyman darin geblättert.

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 whole party was fabulously organized by Reni Schimmel and our own Christina Kuss.

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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