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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

Goodbye and good luck to Yusuke!

We said goodbye to beloved Hyman lab postdoc Yusuke Toyoda last week, as he left Dresden to return to his new job as a Research Associate at the Institute of Life Science at Kurume University in Japan. During his time in the lab, Yusuke was an author on a dozen publications, including key work on transgeneomics, the MitoCheck consortium, cell rounding, and last year’s highly publicized paper on DJ1 and Parkinson’s disease.

Yusuke requested German food for his goodbye dinner, so we went to Augustiner at the Frauenkirche. View more photos of the goodbye party on our lab fun page. We’ll miss you, Yusuke, and we hope you come back to visit again soon!

Tony & Yusuke

4 more days to see Lens on Life in London!

Two lab members got a chance to check out the Lens on Life exhibit in London this weekend, the artistic output of the MitoSys consortium. If you’re there, don’t miss your opportunity to go see it this week, because it ends on Feb 27! (photos below by Lisa Dennison)

IMG_7811s IMG_7813s IMG_7816s IMG_7817s

So much cake! Publication and birthday celebrations.

It was a happy day in the Hyman lab! Yesterday we ate our weight in cake to celebrate the publication of Maria and Mark’s paper, and to celebrate Jeff’s birthday. Maria baked 3 cakes, Olli baked one — and all 4 were delicious.

Mark, Maria, Jeff, and 4 cakes

Mark, Maria, Jeff, and 4 cakes

Congratulations to Simone Reber on her Inaugural Symposium at IRI Life Sciences

We’re so proud of Hyman Lab alumnus Simone Reber, who gave a fantastic lecture yesterday at her Inaugural Symposium as a new group leader at the Integrative Research Institute (IRI) for the Life Sciences in Berlin. Another great treat of the symposium was a guest lecture by Nobel laureate Tim Hunt.

Way to go, Simone! We’re looking forward to seeing the great things that come out of the new Reber lab.

Tim Hunt (front) answers questions following his lecture. Simone Reber and Andreas Herrmann stand behind him.

Tim Hunt (front) answers questions following his lecture. Simone Reber and Andreas Herrmann stand behind him.

Simone begins her Inaugural lecture

Simone begins her Inaugural lecture

New Two Minute Talk! Mark explains the effect of temperature on nematodes

Describe your project in 2 minutes or less! In the latest addition to our “Two Minute Talk” series, postdoc Mark Leaver explains how he studies the adaptation of nematodes to habitats of different temperatures.

Written and narrated by Mark Leaver. Edited and produced by Lisa Dennison.

Congratulations to Maria on her paper, which illuminates how the temperature tolerance of cell division allows organisms to adapt to be viable at a higher temperature range

Congratulations to Hyman lab members Maria Begasse and Mark Leaver on their publication in Cell Reports, which is open access and available now online! Click here for the full text.

Begasse M, Leaver M, Vazquez F, Grill SW, Hyman AA. Temperature dependence of cell division timing accounts for a shift in the thermal limits of C. elegans and C. briggsae. (2015). Cell Reports 10, 1-7.

Graphical Abstract, Cell Reports

Graphical Abstract, Cell Reports

In Brief: With climate change, it is important to understand how temperature affects the fitness of cold-blooded organisms. Begasse et al. show that the temperature dependence of cell division differs in two closely related nematodes. This shift in the temperature response has corresponding effects on development and reproductive output.

Stay tuned for a podcast and video abstract about the paper, coming soon!

Two new publications: cell rounding and cell surface proteomes

Two new publications came out last month as a result of collaborations between Hyman lab members and other labs. Congratulations to everyone involved!

  • Quantitative comparison of a human cancer cell surface proteome between interphase and mitosis. Özlü N, Qureshi MH, Toyoda Y, Renard BY, Mollaoglu G, Özkan NE, Bulbul S, Poser I, Timm W, Hyman AA, Mitchison TJ, Steen JA. EMBO J. 2015 Jan 14;34(2):251-65. doi: 10.15252/embj.201385162. [PubMed]
  • Cdk1-dependent mitotic enrichment of cortical myosin II promotes cell rounding against confinement. Ramanathan SP, Helenius J, Stewart MP, Cattin CJ, Hyman AA, Muller DJ. Nat Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;17(2):148-59. doi: 10.1038/ncb3098. Epub 2015 Jan 26. [PubMed]

Science in Dresden is international and colorful

photo by L.Dennison


Last night there was a huge event in the Dresden city center, “Open-minded and colorful — Dresden for all.” Over 22,000 people attended this concert and rally to show their support for tolerance, empathy, and open-mindedness in our city. MPI-CBG director Kai Simons gave a great speech, and our Media Department put together a fantastic video featuring scientists of the CRTD. Check out the video here, and to get a feeling for the massive size of the crowd, see a 360-degree panoramic photo of the event here!  For more on the event, please visit the website of Dresden – Place to Be!

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.