July 2016

Adna FENS poster 2

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.

Elisa FENS poster

…and Elisa too!

MG FENS Ethics IMG-20160705-WA0005

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.

GrubbLab_WeAreInternationalNotice 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.

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

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!

November 2011



The main event this month was the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in Washington DC.  Matt co-chaired a minisymposium on ‘Short- and long-term plasticity at the axon initial segment’ which brought together six young(ish!) researchers to present their recent AIS work, and which was a huge amount of fun – lots of fresh data, some great talks, some lively questions, and a brilliant opportunity to spend some time talking science with others in the field.  Thanks to everyone who contributed and to everyone who came along, especially those who spared the time to chat to us afterwards.  The minisymposium also spawned a little cross-continental state-of-the-art review in the Journal of Neuroscience, which you should be able to read here.

Not forgetting the rest of the lab, Annisa and Mark were in DC, too.  When we weren’t eating half-smokes or getting shot at, we were busy presenting two well-received posters which you can see here (Annisa, Mark).  Thanks again to all those who took the time to come and talk about olfactory bulb and hippocampal AIS plasticity – we left the meeting with some extremely useful contacts and a lot of good feedback.

And while we’re in conference season, we just heard that Sabrina – our summer student from UC Irvine – presented her work at the ABRCMS meeting in St. Louis and came away with a poster prize.  Jolly well done Sabrina!

September 2011

The last couple of months have been a period of great collective achievement in the Grubb lab.  Here’s the summer student roll-call: Saj and Abdul both successfully polished off their MSc projects, and both managed to get Merits overall, which we’re dead proud of.  Sabrina sadly had to return to life in sunny Southern California, taking with her a new-found love for booze, British comedy and golf ball rolling (don’t ask), but leaving behind new ways for us to label cell types in our hippocampal cultures.  Tom used his charity money very wisely, learning how to patch and getting some nice data on structural AIS plasticity.  He’s now busy becoming a real doctor, but is still popping in now and again as part of his ‘Student Selected Component’.

As for the permanent team members, Mark finally persuaded enough people to read his PhD Upgrade report so that he can transfer to full doctorate pursuit status, Annisa presented her data at a one-day Imperial College symposium on ‘How to Succeed in Science’ (think we all should’ve gone, really), and Matt managed to submit an MRC Research Grant that’ll hopefully expand us in all the right ways next year.  Fingers crossed!

April 2011

Plenty going on this month!  First, Matt was invited to talk at the 2nd annual Manchester Neuroscience Symposium, which was a great day full of wide-ranging high-quality neuroscience and a chance to meet some really interesting people.  Thanks again to the organising committee for the kind invitation.

Then it was the biennial British Neuroscience Association meeting in Harrogate.  Lots of good stuff, including some fantastic plenary speakers, some fascinating specialised symposia, and of course Mark’s poster!  He got plenty of interest and feedback, and you can take a look at it yourself here.  E-mail him if you’ve got any questions (and yes, we do know about the spelling mistake in the title…)

Tom finished up his undergraduate project with us this month, producing a polished thesis and a brief talk on how, unfortunately, we failed to find anything interesting about AIS synapses in dissociated hippocampal cultures.  Still, well worth knowing, and he’s not been too disheartened – Tom’ll be back in the summer to attack something completely different (and reinstate his Matlab obsession).

Finally, April saw the arrival of not one but two new MSc project students in the lab!  Adbul’s doing a joint project split between us and Martin Meyer’s group and will be looking to follow AISs in live zebrafish, while Saj is doing some fundamental AIS biology to see if we can really pin down the location of action potential initiation.  Great to have them both on board!

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…