Congratulations 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.
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.
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 …
… 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!
It is time for a new round of congratulations.
The first two go to Eva and Björn who were MSc students in the lab for the past months working on astrocyte Ca2+ signaling and potassium clearance. ‘Were’ because their theses have been written, corrected and submitted and we are fairly certain we will have to address them by their appropriate title ‘Master’ soon.
The third goes to Michel. He successfully applied for a young investigator grant within the DFG SPP1757 on glial heterogeneity and now got some money for a student assistant for six months (research assistant job ad).
Well done everybody!
We finally managed to have our BBQ. A good opportunity to take a new group picture. From left to right Daniel, Christian, Anne, Michel, Kirsten, Steffi, Björn, Eva and Claire. A very casual picture. But still an improvement from last year’s “Orgelpfeifen”.
… to our collaborators here in Bonn in the lab of Christian Steinhäuser who uncovered a previously unknown contribution of astrocyte dysfunction to human epilepsy. Please see Publications for a link to the paper in Brain. And also congratulations to the lab of Colin Jackson at the ANU (Canberra, Australia) who successfully used ancestral protein reconstruction to design a novel optical arginine sensor. The paper is currently in press in Protein Science.