Adna drawing a crowd…
Recent months have seen Grubb lab representation all over the place. Matt and Elisa attended the annual FENS Kavli Scholars meeting at Chicheley Hall in April, where Elisa got to both present her latest stuff and come up with a bonkers grant proposal. At the recent FENS Forum in Copenhagen, Adna and Elisa were kept nice and busy at their excellent poster presentations. Matt chipped in too with a panel discussion on Open Science at the CHET committee ‘Code of Conduct and Ethics in Science’ event, as well as doing lots of FKNE-based business. Everyone got caught in the rain. And Matt just presented at the UKSN meeting in Cambridge, in an excellent olfactory neurophysiology session.
…and Elisa too!
Matt being Open
More FKNE-based interactions resulted in Matt co-authoring another Editorial article in EJN, this time on mobility for junior researchers – you can find that here. You can also read about our exciting new epigenetics project on the Leverhulme Trust site and on the Centre webpage.
We’ve started expanding the lab, welcoming Marcela Lipovsek to the team as a senior post-doc working on that same Leverhulme-funded collaborative neuro-epigenetics project. She’s ordered some new pipettes already, and clearly means business… We have more appointments to come – look out for a new post-doc position to be advertised very soon!
Existing lab members have been super busy. Special congratulations to Adna, who successfully passed her PhD viva exam, has had her thesis corrections approved, and is now Dr Dumitrescu! She’s also currently teaching on the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Course in Neuronal Cell Biology: Cytoskeleton and Trafficking in Bordeaux. Elisa has been bouncing between London & Boston, not only taking full part in the April FKNE meeting and presenting at FENS, but also securing a funded position on the prestigious Imaging Structure & Function in the Nervous System course at Cold Spring Harbor. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for her project, she’ll now be in Boston until Christmas. Both Chris and Darren presented well-received posters at the Guy’s Campus Postgraduate Research Symposium, and competed in the KCL heats of the Three-minute thesis competition, with Chris getting all the way to the local final! And Candida did exceptionally well in her BSc project – so well in fact that she’s currently working with us in a funded summer placement.
Notice all those foreign names in this and other News pieces? Needless to say the entire Grubb lab was devastated by the recent Brexit vote. Just in case we needed any further proof that leaving the EU will make it more difficult for us to do our jobs, here’s our contribution to the #WeAreInternational movement – note that Matt’s the only British person in the team, and now wishes he could be from somewhere else. We can’t say this any more strongly – we’re still keen to recruit the right people, wherever they’re from, and we’ll fight our hardest to make sure that doesn’t change.
The main news this month is the publication of our second paper from the lab: Annisa’s work on AIS plasticity in olfactory bulb dopaminergic neurons came out recently in The Journal of Neuroscience! It’s Open Access, so you can access the online version of the manuscript here or the PDF here. We’re really proud of this paper – it’s the culmination of a lot of effort to establish these cells as a model for different forms of activity-dependent plasticity, and it’s the first demonstration that the AIS can be plastic in inhibitory interneurons. In fact, we show that AIS plasticity in these cells goes in the opposite direction to the changes we and others have seen before in excitatory neurons. This may have some interesting and important implications for information processing in olfactory bulb circuits, which is exactly what we plan to investigate next…
More good news: Matt found out late last year that he was selected as an inaugural member of the FENS-Kavli European Network of Excellence! This is a new pan-European network of young neuroscientists with a really exciting remit – basically, we get to decide for ourselves how we can best promote and serve European neuroscience, plus we have some great opportunities for collaborations and interactions amongst ourselves. More details on all of that once we’ve made some policy decisions at our first meeting in April, but in the meantime you can read more about the Network and check out all the ‘Scholars’ here, and you can see the KCL version of the story here too.
We also have a couple of new Masters project students for the new term. Andrew’s made a cracking start to his MRes rotation by learning to patch hippocampal cells, and is now busily gathering data. And Marine joins us from the University of ENS in Lyon for an MSc project looking at experience-dependent plasticity in olfactory bulb dopaminergic cells in vivo.
Finally, we received the excellent news that our collaboration with the children’s theatre group Theatre-Rites was successful in obtaining a Small Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust! This means that we’ll be consulting further with the team as they continue their R&D sessions to develop a neuroscience-based performance called ‘Pinocchio – a Case Study’. If that’s anywhere near as enjoyable as the time we’ve already spent with them it’ll be an absolute blast!
It’s been a full-on, productive summer here. We’ve written and submitted not one, but two important papers from the lab! Annisa’s first-author story came back from The Journal of Neuroscience with promising reviews, so we’re revising that for re-submission very soon. Mark and Adna’s joint first-author story has just been submitted to Neuron, and we’re all keeping everything crossed for a similar reception there too… Add Matt’s Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship application to the mix and it’s been a big few months for GrubbLab writing!
Away from the word processor, Adna went to Transylvania and built a 2-photon microscope, then came back and has been going crazy for AIS live-imaging. Annisa presented her recent work at FENS in Milan, and has just disappeared to hunt for post-docs and quality beer in Berlin. And Elisa, as well as getting our slice rig up and functional, won herself an iPad for being an outstanding young behavioural neuroscientist, and got selected by King’s as a post-doc representative on a ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ workshop in the Queen’s backyard (Windsor).
We were all in one place long enough, though, to hold the annual charred food fest that is the (in)famous GrubbLab BBQ, and if you don’t believe us, here’s the evidence!
Annual Grubb Lab BBQ