Novel optical tool to visualize glycine signalling

Together with the lab of Colin Jackson at the Australian National University in Canberra, we have been able to design, characterize and use the novel optical glycine sensor GlyFS. The full paper can be found here. Using this sensor we could directly show that the levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter and NMDA receptor co-agonists glycine decrease with postnatal age, increase in response to plasticity-inducing neuronal stimuli and display gradients between synaptic and extrasynaptic locations in the hippocampus.

Welcome to the lab

This is welcome two new colleagues to the lab. Petr Unichenko is joining as a postdoctoral research fellow and Katharina Hill as a medical student.

Open position for a part-time student research assistant

We have an open position for a part-time student research assistant available (ideal for students already in Bonn and interested in neuroscience):

The research assistant would primarily assist with the breeding of transgenic animals. The ideal candidate will have a background in neuroscience and experience in working independently in a life science laboratory environment. Particularly experience with handling animals and/or a FELASA certificate would be an advantage but not mandatory. We offer the opportunity to extend the knowledge and hands-on experience in animal handling and breeding, including genotyping by PCR.

Working hours can be negotiated and handled with some degree of flexibility, but are aimed at up to 10h per week for a duration of 12 months. The position is available immediately.

Payment will be according to the University of Bonn tariff (WHF/WHK). Applicants of any career stage (below PhD) will be considered if sufficiently experienced. The written and spoken languages in the lab are German and/or English.

Please include in your application (pdf only): CV (one page), a brief description of your laboratory expertise and skills and for how long you have acquired them, how many hours per week and what time period you would be available for.

For informal inquiries and for application please contact:

Kirsten Bohmbach

Congratulations and bye-bye

Steffi's defenseCongratulations to Steffi for the glorious finish of her PhD thesis today. The final verdict after her defense, which for some reason included a short discussion of the sturgeon habenula, was a fully-deserved summa cum laude. Great!

Unfortunately for us, Steffi will also move on in a few days and leave the very cool ivory tower of science to work with Bayer.

Heparan sulfates and astrocytes

Just before the end 2016 we received the very welcome news that our study on the role of heparan sulfates got accepted for publication. Together with the lab of Alexander Dityatev we uncovered that heparan sulfates are required for the integrity of the axon initial segment of CA1 pyramidal cells. Their lack leads to reduced pyramidal cell excitability, reduced synaptic plasticity, altered theta oscillations in vivo and impaired context discrimination (link). The end of the year also saw the publication of a few other collaboration projects including the effect of dopamine on the Ca2+ signalling of hippocampal astrocytes (link) and the coupling properties of thalamic astrocytes (link) among others.

Please also see our selected Publications for more details.

New lab members and new lab picture

This is to welcome two new PhD students to the lab. Catia Domingos will be primarily working on molecular signals that acutely modify astrocyte morphology whereas Alberto Pauletti will look into the relationship between astrocyte morphology and astrocyte gap junction coupling.

And here is the group this autumn …

Claire is now Dr King

… and another welcome opportunity to celebrate. Claire passed the thesis oral examination yesterday. For the past years she has explored ‘The role of resting Ca2+ in astrocyte Ca2+ signalling’ and now she is Dr King. Well done and congratulations!