Former lab manager Katia Troha presents seminar on her PhD research

Today we had the honor of a visit from former lab manager Katia Troha, who delivered an outstanding seminar on her PhD Thesis work in the Buchon and Lazzaro Labs at Cornell University. Katia was in the Vance Lab from 2008-2012. Her claim to fame in the Vance Lab was running the ENU mutagenesis project that identified the STING-deficient goldenticket mouse, now in use in laboratories around the world. Katia was also the first to propose that STING might be a direct receptor for cyclic-dinucleotides (an idea foolishly dismissed by her PI at the time). During her PhD, Katia has uncovered a very interesting role for the CrebA transcription factor in mediating tolerance to infection. We can’t wait to see who will win the sweepstakes to have Katia join their lab as a postdoctoral fellow!

Katia Troha presents seminar at UC Berkeley

Kickball playoffs: Summer 2018

July 6, 2018 — Kick-in-a-box, a rag-tag group (comprised of Vance and Barton Lab members, other immunologists past and present, and other hangers-on) fought a tense semi-final kickball battle against The Unicorns before eventually succumbing 3-2 in extra innings.  Especially notable was the two RKIs (runs kicked-in) by Daisy Ji, as well as the large number of international free-agents on the team, who demonstrated their mastery of the finer points of force plays, base-running, and kicking the ball on the ground. Congrats to all! What a relief to be able to enjoy a beer in the stands and watch the Finals (eventually won in impressive fashion by Stray Kats)

Kick-in-a-box after the semi-final

Back row (from L to R): Russell, Benjamin, Daisy, Klemens, Bella, Moritz and Kathleen

Front row (from L to R): Andrew, Lívia, Lieselotte, Natalie, Patrick, Molly and Gustavo

Moritz Gaidt joins the lab as a new postdoctoral fellow

Moritz Gaidt

We are excited to have a new postdoctoral fellow join the lab this week. Moritz Gaidt completed his PhD training in Germany in the lab of Veit Hornung, where he did some very beautiful work on inflammasomes and the STING pathway in human cells. One of his papers from his graduate work showed that human monocytes activate an ‘alternative’ NLRP3 inflammasome pathway that depends  on TLR4-TRIF-RIPK1 (instead of the canonical pathway that depends on K+ efflux). More recently, Moritz reported that in human myeloid cells, cytosolic DNA activates an inflammasome response that depends on the cGAS–STING signaling pathway instead of the AIM2 pathway. We are excited to have Moritz in the lab to get us thinking more about human inflammasome pathways — and hopefully Moritz will be able to learn a few things about mouse genetics and in vivo analyses from us as well. With Moritz from Germany, and the recent arrival of a Brazilian, the Vance Lab is becoming ever more international. There will undoubtedly be lots of opportunities for trash talking in the upcoming World Cup.

A new visitor from Brazil

Gustavo Quirino

The Vance Lab is thrilled to welcome Gustavo Quirino, a visiting graduate student from Brazil (where he works in the laboratory of Dario Zamboni). Gustavo will be in the lab for six months (until November) and will be working on a variety of Legionella-related projects. We are also hoping that his Brazilian-inborn abilities on the soccer field will translate to the kickball field. Welcome to Berkeley Gustavo!

Annual Barton-Vance Picnic and Bocce Tourney Ends with Sugar Daddies Victory

The 11th annual joint Barton Lab-Vance Lab picnic and bocce tournament was held at Lake Temescal today in winter-like conditions. The weather proved no impediment to the eventual tourney victors, The Sugar Daddies (Greg and Russell), who emerged victorious despite some especially valiant competition from Team Enthusiasm (Kathleen and Beth) in the finals. (Updated 6-13-18 to reflect engravement of championship plaque, see photo below).

Greg outlines the tournament rules (“If you throw a ball in the stream, you must retrieve it, and a penalty will be assessed”)
Peter and Katie negotiate vegetable-meat territorial rights on the grill
Andrew (of Team Formerly Known as Misery Bay) aims for the pellino
Sugar Daddies on the road to victory
Sugar Daddies (center) after their victory over Team Enthusiasm
Final Tournament Bracket
Championship Plaque

Justin Roncaioli passes his qualifying exam

Justin — fondly referred to as JR or “Junior” in the lab — passed his qualifying exam this week. The lab celebrated by cutting his hair. Regrettably, photos of the intermediate mullet stage were not available at press time. In honor of Justin’s passing resemblance to a certain boy who lived, the qual party adopted a Harry Potter theme, complete with a brilliant and completely re-imagined lab logo (below). We are all looking forward to next year’s celebration, when the newest graduate student in the lab, Kristen “Hermione” Witt, passes her qual and celebrates by transfiguring lab manager Peter “Ron Weasley” Dietzen into a small furry rodent.

Isabella Rauch to start faculty position at Oregon Health Sciences University

Isabella Rauch

Everyone in the Vance Lab is thrilled that our very own Austrian, Isabella Rauch, will soon be starting her own independent lab in the MMI Department at OHSU. Her lab will open its doors in January 2019 and will be focused on understanding innate immunity at epithelial surfaces. Bella has done some very cool science during her stay in the Vance Lab, characterizing novel functions for inflammasomes in intestinal epithelial cells (check out her JEM paper and her Immunity paper). Perhaps even more importantly, she has been a great mentor and intellectual leader in the lab, helping guide numerous students in their projects. We are therefore sure the Rauch Lab will be a great place to do science — keep posted for great things to come!