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

August 2012

Olympic fever is finally dying down in London and things are getting back to something resembling normality in the lab after a busy old summer.

Rosie finished off her MRes project with us and she’s gone on to a PhD in the Keck lab.  There she’ll continue her interest in all things plastic, and hopefully add some extra data to the interesting results she already produced with us.  And as part of the reciprocal GrubbLab-KeckLab exchange programme we’ve now got Adna back after her spiny summer sabattical.  She’s starting a PhD in collaboration with Martin Meyer’s lab, looking at AISs in zebrafish – a really exciting new direction for us.

We’ve also had two week-long work experience students learning about neuroscience in London; what’s more, both Eleanor and Grace managed to produce useful data in their short time here.  Not the most accurate reflection of normal scientific progress, but at least we haven’t put them off for good…

Finally, the traditional Grubb Lab summer party went non-traditionally barbeque-free – we ate loads of chilli and delicious guacamole on Matt’s temporary riverside balcony instead.  Oh, and believe it or not we’re still waiting on Mark’s sausages.

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!