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Towards understanding the quirks of human brain evolution

Posted by on June 28th, 2018

In early June, a group of 30 world-leading experts came together thanks to an invitation by the Company of Biologists to Wiston House (Sussex, UK) to discuss our current understanding about evolutionary and molecular mechanisms that contributed to developing the specific qualities of our human brains. Fortunately, the Company of Biologists offers fully funded participation[…]

Blastoid: the backstory of the formation of blastocyst-like structure solely from stem cells.

Posted by on June 27th, 2018

In our recently published paper1, we showed that mouse stem cells self-organize into blastocyst-like structures, that we termed blastoids. Because blastoids can be generated in large numbers, can be finely manipulated, and implant in utero, they are a powerful tool to investigate the principles of pre- and post-implantation development. Here is the backstory of our[…]

Visualizing data with R/ggplot2 – One more time

Posted by on June 26th, 2018

Experiments are rarely performed in isolation. Usually, several conditions are compared in parallel or sequential experiments. This experimental strategy also applies to time-dependent data, e.g. from timelapse imaging. So, naturally, after I published a ‘walk-through for plotting temporal data using R and ggplot2, I was immediately asked how to plot two (or more) sets of[…]

Unraveling tissue interactions coordinating neuromuscular morphogenesis: a journey through serendipity

Posted by on June 20th, 2018

An emerging trend in developmental biology focuses on the role of cell adhesion in modulating tissue morphogenesis. Spectacular advances have shed light on how modulation of adhesion between equivalent cells orchestrates the acquisition of forms. However, how interactions at complex interfaces between distinct neighboring cell types influence tissue growth remains to be elucidated. In a[…]

Lighting Up the Central Dogma in Development

Posted by on June 19th, 2018

We recently published a manuscript in Cell that describes a method to image transcription factor concentration dynamics in real time, in living embryos, using a nanobody-based protein tag that we call the “LlamaTag.” We were particularly excited about these investigations because this new technology overcomes a major technical obstacle to understanding how gene-expression dynamics are[…]

PhD in nerve/tumor interactions and nervous system development

Posted by on June 18th, 2018

Applications are invited from highly motivated individuals dedicated to peruse a PhD and who are interested in nerve/tumour interactions and nervous system development.    PROJECT DESCRIPTION During tumour progression nerves and tumours interact resulting in tumour cells using nerves as a metastatic route out of the organ, through a process called perineural invasion (PNI). While this[…]

Polarizing morphogenesis: epithelia dance the polonaise

Posted by on June 13th, 2018

The story behind our recent paper: Counter-rotational cell flows drive morphological and cell fate asymmetries in mammalian hair follicles. Maureen Cetera, Liliya Leybova, Bradley Joyce & Danelle Devenport, Nature Cell Biology.    Planar cell polarity (PCP) is a fascinating biological problem because it spans such vast biological scales, from nanometers to meters of spatial organization. When[…]

10 PhD Positions at the CRC 1348 “Dynamic Cellular Interfaces: Formation and Function”, Münster, Germany

Posted by on June 11th, 2018

            The Collaborative Research Centre 1348 “Dynamic Cellular Interfaces: Formation and Function” at the University of Münster, Germany, invites applications for   10 PhD Positions (salary level E13 TV-L, 65%) Projects are available from the earliest possible date for three years. Currently, the regular full employment time is 39 hours[…]

How to Grow a Network on the Go

Posted by on June 8th, 2018

Transportation networks play a central role in enabling efficient mass flow over extended domains, where diffusion alone would be too slow. Therefore, transportation networks often play a central role for an organism’s physiology and a high degree of energetic efficiency has been proposed as a guiding principle for the layouts of these networks. However, biological[…]

Rare Is Everywhere

Posted by on June 5th, 2018

The story behind FOXL1+ telocytes You can find our recently published Nature paper here   Our story began two decades ago when my mentor, Klaus H. Kaestner, identified and cloned the transcription factor FOXL1, as being expressed in the mesenchyme of the mouse fetal gut (Kaestner et al. 1997). The position of FOXL1+ mesenchymal cells[…]