How did it go? Super well!
How did it go? Super well!
Starting in 2017, our research on the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular coral-algal symbiosis will be supported by nearly 2.3 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) for the next five years. This award recognizes the potential of Aiptasia as a powerful model system and allows us to launch many new and exciting projects on two fundamental aspects of symbiosis establishment: symbiont acquisition and the metabolic dependance of the host. Can it get any better? I don’t think so.
This years COS-Party centered around Spartakus, a roman slave and gladiator (111-71 BC) who got famous for organizing a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
Thanks to a group of highly creative COS PhD students and Postdocs, this party turned out to become much more than an ordinary Toga party: the venue was transformed into an area with ancient pillars, archs and vormitorium. The orchestrated use of music (thanks to COS PI Alexis Maizel alias DJ Engrailed), beamer, lasers and fog machines recreated the feel of being a member of the lowest class of society in the midst of the harsh reality in the ancient Rome. The extraordinary costumes did the rest. As last year, the best costume award will most likely go again to the Lemke lab. I think ballot-rigging is the only way to stop them. Worth mentioning is also the costume of the Centanin lab who showed up as a Caesar Salad. However, even without being anywhere close to be best-in-show the Guse Lab members made a very strong appearance on the dance floor as the cutest mermaids ever seen as COS surrounding Neptune, their fearless leader. Pics are to come soon – just wait and see for yourself.
In a recent review article in Trends in Cell Biology, Bob Goldstein (UC Chapel Hill) and Nicole King (University of California Berkeley) propose that the ease with which state-of-the-art research tools these days can be applied to various emerging model organisms leads the way into the future of cell biology. The technical advances allowing genome sequencing, genome editing, transcriptomics and imaging to be applied to many non-traditional systems allows to study many novel questions at the molecular level. The given examples of emerging models include tardigrades (waterbears) to study survival of extremes, choanoflagellates to analyze animal origins as well as our favorite Aipasia as a model for coral symbiosis. To learn more check out the paper:
The podcast can be found here!
I am very happy to join the EMBO YIP program starting in 2017! 25 young group leaders within the life sciences were selected as new members of this Young Investigator network. The programme aims to support promising young group leaders in Europe while setting up their labs, focusing on networking. Please check out the official press release here and find out more about all new YIPs in the Winter 2016 issue of the magazine EMBO encounters.
We are happy to welcome Victor Jones as a new Postdoc to the lab. Victor finished his PhD at Oxford University working on the evolution of rooting cells in land plants using the emerging model plant, the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha.
Here comes our most recent publication with the title: “Aiptasia sp. larvae as a model to reveal mechanisms of symbiont selection in cnidarians” Well done, people!
Some bad scans of the nice Polaroids we took at the paper celebration party:
Today is World Oceans Day with the 2016 theme being “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. As part of a the effort by Nature Microbiology to highlight some recent research in marine science, we got the chance to participate with a Q & A section about Aiptasia. Check it out!
By Philipp & Diana
After a busy week taking care of all the Acropora larvae and finalizing our experiments, we went on a final night snorkel with amazing bioluminescence on Saturday. On Sunday, we had our last day at Sesoko which was filled with filtering larvae and packing all of our equipment. We stayed up late to pack the larvae we wanted to bring to Germany as late as possible and finally went to bed after cleaning the lab at 1.30 a.m. On Monday, we got up at 5.30 to get to the airport for our flight back. After a 20 h journey, we got back to the lab in Heidelberg where Liz and Annika waited for us.Together, we unpacked the larvae and put them into new containers and gave them fresh sea water. Most larvae survived and seem to like it in our lab.
Our two weeks in Okinawa went by way too fast. We really enjoyed the field work together with our Japanese collaborators. One highlight was the amazing coral reef by the Sesoko Marine Station and at the South tip of Sesoko. Hopefully, we can come back next year and see some awesome creatures like the octopi, sea snakes, puffer fish and stone fish and cornetfish again. ARIGATO GOZEIMAS.
By Philipp & Diana:
After waiting for spawning, Annika missed the spawning by two nights. On Thursday night, 2 sick colonies in the water tables spawned. The following day,we went to the East coast of Okinawa to find Mangroves and look for anemones. Unfortunately we did not spot any but we saw some mudhoppers and lots of crabs. That night, a few more colonies spawned and Masayuki and Reyna were able to also collect some larvae in the field.
Interestingly, the following day, all remaining colonies spawned giving us plenty of eggs. On the same day, spawning of A. tenuis and A. gemnifera occured in the field.
Of course that meant that we needed to spend considerable time taking care of all the larvae. Masayuki and his team showed us how to wash them and keep them happy and the following days were spent doing just that.
After a day full of sampling on Sunday, we took Liz to the airport on Monday morning and moved to the guest house at Sesoko. A day later, our Japanese collaborators left Sesoko, leaving just Diana and me to take care of all the larvae. We set up a bunch of infections and had our plate full just taking care of that.