New ’email of the week’

20 06 2019

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From Michelle! Those zebrafish: they know what they like.

Welcome to Agustina!

20 06 2019

Dr Agustina Resasco is visiting the lab from Argentina for 10 weeks, to help us develop a judgment bias task for mice. It’s already wonderful having her here, and we’ve barely started work! Below, the current mouse team (from L to R her, Lindsey and Aileen) after a good experimental design session yesterday.

Planning expts with Agustina

Sectioning mouse brains

20 06 2019

Lindsey and Aileen are learning to slice mouse brains, but this time not directly mounting the sections on a slide, but floating them in wells in a cryoprotective liquid. This is what the petal-like wisps look like (here, organised topographically using various landmarks). Thanks to Aileen for the lovely photo!


Nice text to wake up to

20 06 2019

From Maria!


What we won’t be implanting into our mice

20 06 2019

Was excited to get a parcel from DSI last week: Sylvia had requested a sample of their smallest mouse-recommended transmitter capable of detecting EEGs (as we’re still interested in sleep, this time to test ideas about depression). And here is is.


It’s the size of the last joint of my little finger … and would be like implanting something the size of a banana into me. Elke and I recoiled at the same problem a few years ago, and it’s clearly still as bad now. So: so not happening.

Welcome and congrats to Sylvia!

19 06 2019

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Sylvia Lam is working as a USRA in our lab this summer, after being a really great work study student for us all last year.  And to welcome her, we have given her a very strange mix of tasks, from setting up the new mouse room, to finding equipment prices for me (including software so over-priced it made me laugh), and getting familiar with the infra-red camera so she can take images of tiny mouse vulvas (a possible non-invasive way to assess their stage of oestrous).

She’s also just had some terrific news: OVC said yes to her! So she’ll be joining them this Fall.



Brand new mice

19 06 2019

Our new baby mice arrived last week, preceded by a tonne of prep work (and strange dreams) from Lindsey, Aileen and new USRA Sylvia. 

Below, still in their travel boxes after a long journey from CRL in Carolina, you can see two exquisite DBAs (left) and a pile of nervous BALBs (right).


And the lucky 50% to be housed in our big enriched cages were trying out their exercise wheels almost straight away (below, a C57 tries out some of this strange new running).


The nicest place I’ve ever edited an AUP

19 06 2019


Obviously a normal person’s ideal is not to work at all on holiday, but hey, I’m an academic. And if you do have to edit an AUP, you might as well do it at the Little Plum Cafe in Naoshima, on a balmy warm evening after a lovely day, while drinking ginger-flavour beer. Yes there’s a parked van in this slightly distorted panorama (featuring Jonathan writing his journal), but it was so cutely tiny and cartoon-like it did not detract.

I can report, however, that the Nozumi shinkansen is the worst place to then try and submit an AUP from: you’d think a train that regular exceeds 200km/h would have decent internet, but apparently no! (And this was all important because our new mice were due to arrive soon after I got back…)

Email of the week

19 06 2019

From Carole, as we try to solve a mystery: how do all the various bits of my ancient, never really used 5CSRT apparatus fit together, and did it ever work? Apparently yes:

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Swiss women on strike

17 06 2019

Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 10.13.28 PMFriday saw a strike by Swiss women, who experience a big pay differential, in part because they do all the childcare (though pay differentials and glass ceilings are never just about that – they involves deep-seated biases about women’s abilities). In part (in turn), this because there is no paternity leave! Come on Swiss men, do you think these women are having children by parthenogenesis?!

Good coverage in the NYT here, and in The Guardian here. The picture shows Lausanne cathedral lit up in purple, the movement’s colour (I’m guessing a homage to the suffragettes).