November 2014

Our main news this month is that Annisa’s paper has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Neuroscience!  Entitled ‘A distinct sub-type of dopaminergic interneuron displays inverted structural plasticity at the axon initial segment’, it not only describes different, functionally distinct classes of dopaminergic cells in the olfactory bulb, but also characterises a novel form of plasticity in one of these classes.  It was a lot of work from Annisa and Elisa, as well as a significant contribution from our project student Rob Chesters, and they can be rightly proud of what they’ve produced.  The manuscript will be Open Access as soon as it’s out, and we’ll post the appropriate link here next time so you can read it for yourselves.

Adna and Matt thinking very hard about the AIS

Adna and Matt thinking very hard about the AIS

Elisa presenting her poster at SfN 2014

Elisa presenting her poster at SfN 2014

Annisa's AIS is this big

Annisa’s AIS is this big

Annisa found out about the paper when she was still in Washington DC, where the lab attended this year’s Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.  Adna, Annisa and Elisa all presented posters and all were very well received, despite us book-ending the meeting with Saturday and Wednesday afternoon timeslots (we’ll get luckier next time, because we’re overdue on that now…).

Overall the meeting was great, with a nice buzz around the meeting halls, some impressive plenaries, and a lot of really useful contacts made. Plus everyone apart from Matt made the most of being in the US afterwards: Elisa to go and visit her collaborators at Harvard, Adna to scope out potential post-docs in New York, and Annisa went to see the Space Shuttle Discovery.

While we were in DC our newest lab member Darren held the fort admirably, and even generated some quality data!  Darren’s on a joint PhD studentship between our department and the SGDP at the Institute of Psychiatry, and in his rotation with us has already demonstrated a knack for patching that means we hope we can persuade him to stick around…

Finally, we’re continuing to spread our influence as widely as possible.  Matt recently interviewed to become an inaugural member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence, and spent a fantastic day advising the Theatre-Rites production company on its plans for building a human brain to stick in a puppet. And Elisa was interviewed and accepted as a Brilliant Club mentor, which means she’ll be teaching neuroscience to widen access to university-level education for outstanding pupils from non-selective state schools.

Tired poster presenters in the Wednesday afternoon "graveyard slot"

Tired poster presenters in the Wednesday afternoon “graveyard slot”

This is Gao, new honorary member of the Grubb Lab.

This is Gao, new honorary member of the Grubb Lab.

Post-poster reward of chili cheese fries and half smokes at Ben's Chili Bowl

Post-poster reward of chili cheese fries and half smokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl

April 2013

Annisa, Adna and Mark at BNA 2013, Barbican, London.

Annisa, Adna and Mark at BNA 2013, Barbican, London.

Mark’s paper is now out in J Neurosci and thanks to Wellcome’s Open Access policy it’s available for all to read here and here – enjoy!

Braving the hottest, most cramped and most inaccessible poster board layout known to science, Adna, Annisa and Mark all presented at the recent BNA Festival of Neuroscience just up the road at the Barbican.  Some good feedback & discussion, and some interesting sessions at the conference too, so we’re hoping the BNA sticks to London in the future.

More team member changes, as usual – Tom finished his rotation project with us, and we now have an MSc student for the summer, Shivali Kohli, who’s looking at optogenetic activation of calcineurin-dependent transcription factors.  And we’re hoping that Elisa Galliano will join us for a post-doc soon.  Matt went over to her current lab in Rotterdam to give a talk in March, and to work on possible projects and funding for her to study olfactory bulb plasticity here.  The applications are underway, so fingers crossed!

Lastly, in non-science lab news, Matt got married on April 13th!  A fantastic day despite the British weather, and life as an honest man is agreeing with him very well so far.

March 2011

This month Matt went to the Houses of Parliament to take part in the annual SET for Britain event, designed to get researchers talking to MPs and policy makers about their science.  You can look at his poster here.  If you do, you’ll be showing more interest than UK politicians: not only was the Science Minister completely absent from the event, but neither Matt’s workplace nor home MP responded to their invitations, and the only MP who did stop by did so because she mistakenly believed he was a constituent (Nicola Blackwood, thank you anyway)!  A sharp lesson in how much our elected representatives really care about basic science, then, but a nice day out all the same…