After a few years break, finally it was again time for a lab outing. In the lovely setting of Berg en Dal, we enjoyed three days (April 19th-21st) of networking and conviviality.
“Mens sana, in corpore sano” they say, so we stretched both our muscles, with plenty of biking, jeu de boules, ping pong and football, and also our brains, with the Pub Quiz and Board Games nights.
Multicultural foods and drinks (Italian and Chinese dinners, Dutch lunch and snacks, Lithuanian schnaps,…) provided the right amount of energy.
But there no real fun without some sciency science. We discussed and practised together how to effectively pitch our research interests and ideas. To practise, we split into teams and tried to promote each our own superpowered microbe. (Apparently, cuteness is the best superpower, since the furry Buddy Yeast came out as the winner.)
And, dulcis in fundo, on the last afternoon we crossed the German border – and a sea of sheep – riding the fietstrein!
We combined our expertise in Gene expression regulation, Single-molecule RNA imaging, and Prokaryotic quantitative cell physiology to write a truly multidisciplinary review. It’s the product of a team effort by Alan Gerber (Amsterdam UMC), Sander van Otterdijk (Sysbio), Frank Bruggeman (Sysbio) and Evelina Tutucci (Sysbio).
We discussed state-of-the-art imaging approaches for the measurement and quantitative understanding of gene expression, starting from the early visualizations of single genes by electron microscopy to current fluorescence-based approaches in single cells, including live-cell RNA-imaging approaches to FISH-based spatial transcriptomics across model organisms. We also highlighted how these methods have shaped our understanding of the spatiotemporal coupling between transcription and translation in prokaryotes and the future challenges in the field.
We had a lot of fun preparing some nice figures too, which illustrate our growing interest in the spatial control of gene expression across kingdoms of life.