Our stories
Learn more about what is happening in the worm~lab. Stories from different projects we run and our daily work in the lab.

DeRGA Pilot study
We are working to boost the German node of the Earth BioGenome Project, aiming to genome sequence all organisms living on earth. Together with Astrid Böhne in Bonn, and Ann-Marie Waldvogel here in Cologne, and their teams and collaborators, we are running pilot study sponsored by the West German Genome Center and also other sequencing centers in Germany. From the worm~lab Joseph and Nadège are involved in the pilot, doing DNA extractions in the lab, establishing protocols to sequence tiny little animals collected from the environment (most species out there cannot be cultured), and working on the genome assemblies in close collaboration with the species ambassadors.
«The baseline for what seems "normal" in lighting is the direction and character of natural and artificial sources and the context provided by other clues»
Steve Jobs
Apple CEO
Here is Joseph cutting open a frozen sea urchin to get tissue for DNA extraction.

March '22: we are going to the Atacama
In December 2022 Ann-Marie and I finally got the confirmation that we would join a local research cluster to work in the Atacama desert. Since then we have been in a frenzy to set up the grant, get our two excellent Lauras on the payroll as PhD students, and prepare the trip in March. Laptops had to he bought, flights and a car to be booked, vaccinations to be registered, a microscope to be bought (thanks to Serena Ding for suggesting one), and, and, and... . Now it is only 9 days before we leave and everybody is excitedly trying not to get Covid beforehand, and - in Laura Villegas case - to submit their MSc thesis.
In any case, we will make this trip fun and productive, despite everything.
Alex Holovachov
Nematode taxonomist
Here is Alex looking for worms, not in the Atacama, but this is how it is done.

Gene knockouts in non-model species.
We want to learn how genes act during the development of different species. There is a lot of knowledge about this in so-called model species, like the nematode C. elegans. But in almost all other species we currently lack the molecular tools to conduct such studies. Viktoria, a Phd student in the lab, has now established CRISRP-Cas based gene knockouts along with her MSc student Denise.
This is how we inject into a nematode of about 1 mm in length.
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