September 2014

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

June 2014

The sad news this month is that Grubb Lab inaugural member Mark has left us, and the country, to go and cure diseases in California. He’ll be sorely missed, but his leaving party was great fun and we’ll make sure we all stay in touch – not least because we’ve got some exciting papers to write!

Better news is that Elisa has officially started her Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship. We also found out she was awarded a highly competitive Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship too, but she had to decline that one because unfortunately they don’t let you hold two of these things at once… We made a start to her international networking by visiting the Lledo Lab in Paris in February to chat all things olfactory bulb, and came away with some great ideas for experiments. Talking of which, both Annisa and Elisa have been pushing the boat out collecting the final (hopefully!) data for our first olfactory bulb paper, so it’s been productive recently!

In the meantime, Adna’s been battling valiantly with live AIS imaging, and has continued her jet-setting lifestyle, presenting a poster at the Brain Conference on Controlling Neurons, Circuits and Behaviour in Copenhagen in April, and winning a place on the hugely prestigious Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School.

And finally, Matt’s become a dad! Still struggling with extreme sleep deprivation and a world that’s suddenly been turned on its head, but absolutely loving it.

January 2014


Matt in the Dead Sea

Long time no news, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy…

Mark’s now a doctor (insert applause here), having successfully defended his thesis just before Christmas.  He also managed to present his latest project at SfN in San Diego in November, and to find himself an exciting new post-doc position in the Mucke Lab at the Gladstone in San Francisco.  But we’re not letting him leave just yet – he’s in the middle of a mini post-doc here that’ll hopefully polish off a story that we’ll look to publish as soon as we can.

In fact, Grubb Lab alumni have a pretty good track record at finding themselves positions once they’ve left us.  As well as Mark’s new post-doc job, Shivali – our MSc project student from the summer – has now started a PhD in Nottingham, while Tom W, who did a series of different projects with us a few years ago, has got himself on the highly competitive MD-PhD programme at UCL.  We’re also waiting for news from Rob, another undergraduate project student from a couple of years ago, who’s currently in the process of applying for PhDs and may even end up back in this department.

Since the summer we’ve had to say goodbye to Dutch Dennis, who got us up to scratch with our image analysis and who broke all records for Holland Masters grades (apparently).  We’ve been trying to get him back for a PhD but he’s stubbornly staying in Amsterdam for the moment.  And we had another highly successful MRes project student from the 4-year Centre PhD course – Sam learnt how to patch cultured dentate granule cells and got himself and us some publishable data within 3 months, but he’s now off sampling what the rest of our department has to offer.

The good news is that we have a new permanent member of the lab!  Elisa Galliano has just joined us as a post-doc, having got her hard-won PhD from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam under the supervision of Chris de Zeeuw.  We seemed to spend most of 2013 begging for money to bring Elisa over, but after applying for 7 different funding schemes she managed to go and get herself the very best one possible: a Sir Henry Wellcome Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust!  Elisa will now be based here at King’s for the next 4 years, but will also be jet-setting to Paris, Harvard and (ahem) Oxford to do some really exciting experiments with her international band of superstar collaborators.  She’s certainly been busy so far, getting acquainted with the beauty of the olfactory bulb and putting together our new baby: the lab’s new slice patch rig.

In the meantime, Adna successfully upgraded to full PhD student status, went off to Crete for an ISN workshop where she learnt a great deal about German gardening, and presented a poster at the Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the Hodgkin-Huxley Nobel Prize.  Annisa’s been working hard on a project that should see the light of day very soon now, as well as being responsible for the grand new-look website, and Matt went off to a great little interactive Axons in the Desert meeting in Israel and managed to fit in a hugely enjoyable visit to the Mizrahi lab in Jerusalem at the same time.

Last but by no means least, the Grubb Lab officially rocked the MRC Centre Christmas Party this year, teaching everyone a thing or two about fashion, style, moves and scrimping by making a physical and metaphorical visit to the Thrift Shop.

Happy New Year from all of us, and here’s to a great 2014!


February 2013

Apologies for the long time since the previous post, but we have been busy!  The best and most important development since then is news of our first laboratory publication: Mark’s first author paper on calcineurin signalling and AIS plasticity features no less than six current and past Grubb Lab members, and is currently in press at the Journal of Neuroscience.  Congratulations everyone!

We also just found out that the lab was successful in bidding for a Research Grant from the Royal Society.  This will add UV-based calcium imaging to the already impressive array of things our confocal can do for us, so we’re itching to start playing with the new equipment as soon as possible.

Not too much travelling at the moment while we gear up for bigger things in 2013, but we had a very local zebrafish imaging meeting in December where Adna got to present her initial data, and Matt went to two different Wellcome fundee meetings in the space of two weeks recently where it was great to interact with scientists across all sorts of biological disciplines.

Personnel-wise, we have a new MRes roton Tom Ryan in the lab, who’s getting involved with olfactory bulb development and plasticity in vivo and producing some lovely 3D cell images.

Away from the bench, we had a Watkinswine-fuelled celebratory dinner to mark our 36-month anniversary as a lab (why not?), a Spiced-up Christmas party season, and we even scored free tickets to go and look down on the department from the top of the Shard!

June 2011

First, an apology.  Having moaned about the lack of interest in the SET for Britain event in March, Matt now has to eat his words.  Our workplace MP Simon Hughes, a rather busy man, found time this month to have a chat with Matt at the House of Commons about our work, the MRC Centre, and student fees, and has provisionally arranged a lab visit in August!  Great to know someone’s listening.

Earlier this month the Wellcome Trust, who fund our research but also put a lot of money into public science communication, invited Matt and a group of other scientists to take part in DocFest, a documentary film festival/conference up in Sheffield.  A really different and fascinating couple of days – not only some great films, but also an opportunity to interact with filmmakers and commissioners about how to tell factual stories well, and how to fund your project.  Matt now has a new-found respect for anyone brave/mad enough to launch an independent documentary film-making career!

And finally, not content with getting a first in his finals, Tom rounded off an excellent week by securing funding from Dravet Syndrome UK for a two-month summer studentship.  Now he just needs to learn how to patch…