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The dorsal root of the matter: Using zebrafish to study the importance of movement on early brain growth

Posted by on May 8th, 2018

In our recent paper published in eLife, we found a novel form of movement-dependent neural feedback that drives early forebrain growth in zebrafish. In this article, I discuss the problems, solutions, and lucky breaks that led to our finding. I also end up giving the mighty zebrafish larvae the credit it so deserves.   A[…]

Medaka fish sheds light on the evolutionary origin of vertebrate pair appendages

Posted by on April 23rd, 2018

Link to the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0080-5   The evolutionary history of vertebrate appendages Have you ever wondered how our hands and feet evolved? This question, which commonly evokes fish crawling from sea to land, has long been a subject of interest, both for palaeontologists and developmental biologists. Appendages are an important part of the tool kit[…]

PhD position: Origin and Evolution of Synaptic Proteins at Sars Centre in Bergen, Norway

Posted by on April 10th, 2018

There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology (www.sars.no) in the research group headed by Dr. Pawel Burkhardt. The position is for a fixed-term period of 4 years and is subject to funding on the Sars Centre core budget. The Sars Centre belongs to the University of Bergen and is partner of[…]

Team work, good science

Posted by on March 8th, 2018

You can find our recently published eLife paper here.   At the Euro-Evo-Devo meeting in Lisbao I saw a talk by Sylvie Rétaux and became hooked by a blind and unpigmented cavefish: the evo-devo model Astyanax mexicanus. I then had the chance to join Sylvie’s group in Gif-sur-Yvette (France) in 2013, for a post-doc. Four[…]

A droso4school CPD event for teachers

Posted by on February 20th, 2018

The droso4schools initiative is an educational outreach programme run by the Manchester Fly Facility, which I had the opportunity to be actively involved in during a month-long placement (see my previous blog). The aim of this programme is to re-introduce the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster into school and college biology lessons. For this, the droso4schools[…]

How does it Work? My Experience with 3 Different Model Systems

Posted by on February 5th, 2018

For both young and established developmental biologists considering their next career move, choosing a model system with which to answer one’s research questions is a big decision. Of course, the most important thing to consider is whether or not a particular system is compatible with your research goals. But for a young scientist looking to[…]

CSHL Mouse Course: my perspective and why you should apply too

Posted by on February 2nd, 2018

The deadline to apply for the 2018 Mouse Development, Stem Cells & Cancer course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is March 15th. If you don’t know much about the course or are on the fence about applying, I want to give you some background about my experiences from 2017, in hopes that I can[…]

Why more is better in comparative developmental biology…

Posted by on January 26th, 2018

Our recent paper in “Nature” [1] deconstructs molecular arguments that have been used to homologize bilaterian nerve cords. Our work illustrates well the strength of the comparative approach and the broad sampling across the animal tree of life that we use in my research group at the Sars Centre for Marine Molecular Biology.   Evo-Devo[…]

The Tails of Fate

Posted by on January 18th, 2018

The epic journey of embryogenesis begins with a set of maternal instructions. These instructions are in the form of transcribed mRNA, some even translated into proteins and ready for action. However, many of the critical maternal mRNAs are inactive and must be delivered to the right cell and activated at the right time to encode[…]

The MBL Embryology Course: Questions and Answers

Posted by on January 17th, 2018

The Feburary 1st deadline to apply to the Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is quickly approaching. Maybe you’ve only just learned about the Embryology Course, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to apply to it for years but never pulled the trigger. Either way, I’m writing this blog post to (1) convince you[…]