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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!

Hyman Lab retreat and vision

The entire Hyman Lab took a trip to the beautiful city of Meißen this week for our annual retreat. Tony shared his current and future vision for the lab with us, and we had a great afternoon exploring Meißen and biking along the Elbe River back to Dresden. We’re all excited for the year ahead, and already looking forward to next year’s retreat in Istanbul! You can find all of the photos from this year’s retreat on our Lab Fun page, under Lab Retreat 2014.

Avinash sees the light after Tony's vision talk

Avinash sees the light after Tony’s vision talk

Watch Tony’s talk: “What is a Discovery?”

Tony spoke as part of a summer seminar series hosted by MPI-CBG postdocs during which group leaders gave thoughtful and personal advice about how to start your own group. Tony focused on the main goal of starting your own group — to discover something important — and how to stay on track towards achieving that goal.

tony pyp

Team “Wormstorm” at the BiOlympics

The BiOlympics, a huge multi-institute event with over 160 participants, took place this past weekend, Sept 12-13. The Hyman Lab and the Grill Lab combined forces to create team “Wormstorm”!

We may not have taken home a medal, but we won all of our soccer, frisbee, table tennis, and kicker (aka foosball) games. And most importantly, we had a LOT of fun. Thanks to Mark for organizing the team!


Congratulations to Elisabeth on her paper about the biophysics of mitotic cell rounding

Hyman lab postdoc Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich –you may remember her Two Minute Talk on Cell Rounding! — has just published a paper on the work she discussed in her video. You can read the free full text of her paper, here. This paper is the result of a collaboration between the Hyman and Jülicher labs in Dresden and the Müller and Helenius labs at ETH-Zurich.

Fischer-Friedrich, E, Hyman AA, Jülicher F, Müller DJ, Heleniusa J. Quantification of surface tension and internal pressure generated by single mitotic cells. Sci Rep. 2014; 4: 6213. [Full Text]

Tony gives talk at VBC Seminar Series in Vienna

Today Tony gave a talk on “Liquid like compartments in cells: Implications for polarity and disease” at the VBC Seminar Series at the Vienna Biocenter.

Farewell to Ina & Mai

All of us here in the Hyman lab wish a warm farewell and the best of luck to two of our long time staff members, Ina Poser and Mai Thuong Pham, as they each move on to the next steps in their careers. Mai, one of our expert human cell line technicians, worked with us for over 3 years and will now be teaching in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Ina established and led our BAC Transgenomics group, directing the creation of thousands of transformed human and mouse cell lines. These lines have been used extensively in our lab and all over the world, leading to 43 publications for Ina during her 10 years here. We think that must set an MPI record! Ina will now be working in Regensburg, Germany.

Thank you for everything, Ina & Mai! We all miss you already.

Ina Poser

Ina Poser

Mai Thuong Pham

Mai Thuong Pham

Groundbreaking event for the Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD)

The Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD) is an interdisciplinary institute which was built on the joint research program between the MPI-CBG and the MPI-PKS. c53d19f707The mission of the Center is “to study integrated biological systems and processes using computational and theoretical approaches in close collaboration with experimentalists.” To achieve this mission, the CSBD needs a dedicated space! Construction of a new building to house the Center will begin this fall, and the official groundbreaking event took place last Thursday, August 28. CSBD Director Gene Myers was joined by Stanislaw Tillich, Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony, and Prof. Dr. Martin Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society, in breaking the ground for the new building, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. Click here to see the news piece that aired on the MDR TV station.

Congratulations to Oliver on his paper, which illuminates the state of PCM components in the cytoplasm

The pericentriolar material (PCM) is created through an extensively interacting network of proteins including SPD-5, SPD-2, and PLK-1. Previously, it was not known whether these proteins formed smaller complexes in the cytoplasm before entering the PCM, or if the interactions only occur as the proteins are incorporated into the PCM matrix. This work, led by graduate student Oliver Wueseke and just published in Molecular Biology of the Cell, shows that these PCM components interact only in the context of PCM assembly, and not in the cytoplasm.

Wuekese O, Bunkenborg J, Hein MY, Zinke A, Viscardi V, Woodruff JB, Oegema K, Mann M, Andersen JS, Hyman AA. The C. elegans pericentriolar material components SPD-2 and SPD-5 are monomeric in the cytoplasm prior to incorporation into the PCM matrix. Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Aug 7. pii: mbc.E13-09-0514. [Epub ahead of print] [PubMed]

More press for the Parkinson’s paper

Our story on Parkinson’s and the glycolytic pathway has been picked up by several newspapers, radio and TV stations in Germany. It’s safe to say the word is out! See the stories by clicking on the links and images below.


Congratulations to Yusuke for his paper on Parkinson’s, mitochondrial potential, and the glycolytic pathway

The newest paper from our lab (a collaboration with the Kurzchalia group) is out this month in the open access journal Biology Open.

Toyoda Y, Erkut C, Pan-Montojo F, Boland S, Stewart MP, Müller DJ, Wurst W, Hyman AA, Kurzchalia T. Products of the Parkinson’s disease-related glyoxalase DJ-1, D-lactate and glycolate, support mitochondrial membrane potential and neuronal survivalBiol Open. 2014 Jul 25. pii: BIO20149399.

[MPI-CBG Press Release. Article in the Sächsische Zeitung newspaper.]

DJ-1 figThis work links the metabolic products of the glyoxalase DJ-1 with mitochondrial health during cellular stress. DJ-1 has previously been linked to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, which is associated with mitochondrial decline in dopaminergic neurons. In this paper, we show that the products of DJ-1 enhance the survival of cultured dopaminergic neurons, indicating that they are a potential therapeutic route for treatment or prevention of Parkinson’s disease.

New Two Minute Talk! Elisabeth explains mitotic cell rounding

In the latest addition to our “Two Minute Talk” series, postdoc Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich explains the biophysics of why and how cells become round during mitosis.
2mtWritten & narrated by Elisabeth; produced & directed by Lisa Dennison.

See a video of Tony at “2 im Boot”

Did you miss 2 im Boot? Now’s your chance to see what it was like! Check out this 4-minute video for a glimpse into the fun evening on a historic steamboat with Tony and Prof. Holger Brandes.


Spot Tony!

Spot 25-year-old Tony in this lineup of predoc photos from the LMB, discovered when he was there for the Alumni Symposium earlier this month! LMB

Lens on Life premiers in Rome

lens1Lens on Life, a traveling art exhibition inspired by cell division, premiered this month at the Federica Schiavo Gallery in Rome, Italy.  The exhibition is rooted in the MitoSys Project, an EU-funded research consortium composed of labs from eight different European countries, all dedicated to understanding mitosis from a systems biology perspective. Four scientists from the consortium, Tony Hyman, Kim Nasmyth, Jan-Michael Peters, and Melina Schuh, were paired with artists to have interactive dialogues and bring new perspectives to the subject of mitosis. The artists, Lucy & Jorge Orta, Shobana Jeyasingh, Ackroyd & Harvey, and Rob Kesseler, traveled to the scientists’ cities and laboratories, and also brought the scientists back to their own studios to foster open and creative conversations about science and artistic metaphors. Lens on Life features the four works of art that resulted from these meetings, as well as a documentary of the whole process, Meeting of the Minds

Lens on Life will be in Rome until August 28, 2014. Next year the exhibition will move to Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London (January 27-February 27), and finally to the University Museum of Heidelberg University in Germany (March 16-April 28).

Congratulations to Jeff & Oliver on their contribution to “The centrosome renaissance”

The centrosome renaissance,” a special theme issue of Philosophical Transactions B from the Royal Society, is available online as of today! This volume features 18 articles reflecting “direct and indirect input of some 50 leading scientists in the field” of centrosome biology. Jeff Woodruff, Oliver Wueseke, and Tony contributed a review on “Pericentriolar material structure and dynamics,” outlining the current state of PCM research and the outstanding questions in the field. PCM

New publication: “Centrosomes are autocatalytic droplets of pericentriolar material organized by centrioles”

A new paper from our lab and Frank Jülicher‘s lab is out in PNAS this month: “Centrosomes are autocatalytic droplets of pericentriolar material organized by centrioles.” This work proposes “a theoretical description of centrosomes as liquid droplets,” drawing on our knowledge of phase separation in the cytoplasm.

Congratulations to Avinash on his Humboldt Fellowship


Our postdoc Avinash Patel has just been awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his work on phase transitions of cellular processes. Way to go, Avinash!!