Major Symposia

Saturday, June 24, 2017 | 1:00PM – 3:30PM

Symposium I: Away from the Brink – Towards the Sustainable Use of N and P in Agriculture
Organizer: Michael Udvardi

Michael Udvardi

The Green Revolution of 20th century agriculture was fueled, in part, by massive use of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)-fertilizers, a practice that many believe is unsustainable.  Over 100 million tonnes of industrial N-fertilizer are used in agriculture each year and approximately half of this is lost to the surrounding environment, polluting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the atmosphere, and undermining human health.  Phosphorus fertilizers are mined from just a few high-quality natural sources globally and there are uncertainties about the long-term availability of readily-accessible P for fertilizer use.

A different kind of crisis exists for the resource-poor farmers of the world who have limited access to fertilizers and who, consequently, suffer from harvests that are a small fraction of yield potential.

More efficient use of existing soil N and P, and of added N- and P-fertilizers is essential for a “Greener Revolution” in agriculture that will increase plant productivity without undermining the natural systems that support agriculture.  This symposium will present a range of potential solutions to the pressing problems associated with N- and P-use in agriculture, including near- and long-term plant biology research and development.

MJ Order Time Name Talk Title
MJ 1-0 1:00PM – 1:05PM Major Symposium I Overview
MJ 1-1 1:05PM – 1:30PM Phil Robertson, Michigan State University Nitrogen in Agriculture- Prospects for Balancing the Costs of an Essential Resource
MJ 1-2 1:30PM – 2:00PM Helen Jarvie, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology The Pivotal Role of Phosphorus in a Resilient Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus
Break 2:00PM – 2:30PM Coffee Break
MJ 1-3 2:30PM – 3:00PM Jonathan Lynch, Penn State University Roots of the Second Green Revolution
MJ 1-4 3:00PM – 3:30PM John Peters, Montana State University Innovative Solutions for Increasing the Impact of Biological Nitrogen Fixation on Crop Plants

Sunday, June 25, 2017 | 8:30AM – 11:00AM

Symposium II: Evolution of Cellular Development
Organizer: Liam Dolan

Liam Dolan

Complex plant bodies comprising tissues derived from meristems evolved around the time plants colonized the terrestrial environment approximately 500 million years ago. This symposium will present recent breakthroughs in understanding the regulatory programs that direct cell differentiation and their epigenetic regulation during the development of land plant bodies. Comparative developmental genetics demonstrates how some of these programs have contributed to the development of multicellular haploid and diploid stages of the life cycles during the course of land plant evolution.

MJ Order Time Name Talk Title
MJ 2-0 8:30AM – 8:35AM Major Symposium II Overview
MJ 2-1 8:35AM – 9:00AM John Bowman, Monash University Evolution in Land Plant Life Cycles
MJ 2-2 9:00AM – 9:30AM Keiko Sugimoto, RIKEN Epigenetic Control of Plant Cell Reprogramming
Break 9:30AM – 10:00AM Coffee Break
MJ 2-3 10:00AM – 10:30AM Keiko Torii, University of Washington Giving Voice: Stomatal Development in Time and Space
MJ 2-4 10:30AM -11:00AM Liam Dolan, University of Oxford Development and Evolution of the Plant Soil Interface

Monday, June 26, 2017 8:30AM – 11:00AM

Symposium III: The Chemical Dictionary of Plants: Origin and Translation
Organizers: Natalia Dudareva and Eran Pichersky

Natalia Dudareva

Eran Pichersky

Plants have exploited the language of small chemicals for interacting with their environment more extensively than any other types of living organisms. Volatile and non-volatile chemical constituents released from plants are essential for plant-microbe, plant-animal, and plant-plant communications and beneficial interactions. In addition, plants make a multitude of structurally diverse compounds capable of poisoning, intoxicating or otherwise deterring insect and animal pests as well as microorganisms. Speakers in this symposium will describe research aimed at understanding the diversity of plants’ chemical vocabulary and its effects on plant fitness. They will also outline biotechnological applications for enhancing crop productivity and defense as well as improving flavor and aroma.

MJ Order Time Name Talk Title
MJ 3-0 8:30AM – 8:35AM Major Symposium III Overview
MJ 3-1 8:35AM – 9:00AM Harro Bouwmeester, University of Amsterdam Biosynthesis of Strigolactones and their Role in Plant-environment Interaction
MJ 3-2 9:00AM – 9:30AM Natalia Dudareva, Purdue University Chemical Factories of Plants: From Compound Formation to Their Function
Break 9:30AM – 10:00AM Coffee Break
MJ 3-3 10:00AM – 10:30AM

Elizabeth Sattely, Stanford University

Discovery and Engineering of Plant Chemistry
MJ 3-4 10:30AM -11:00AM

Kazuki Sato, Chiba University

Discovery of Novel Genes and Metabolites through Plant Genomics and Metabolomics – From Arabidopsis to Specialized Plants

Tuesday, June 27, 20178:30AM – 11:00AM

Symposium IV: Plants and Fungi: Friends or Foes
Organizer: Barbara Valent

Barbara Valent

Diverse fungi form intimate relationships with living plant cells. The result can be mutually beneficial associations or devastating crop diseases that threaten global food security. These associations share common factors, including specialized biotrophic hyphae and complex interfacial zones. Fungi deliver hundreds of effectors (generally small secreted proteins) around and into living plant cells to block plant defenses and to control plant metabolism and cellular processes.  Plants attempt to defend themselves using immune receptors that recognize fungal effectors. New detailed understanding of fungal-plant interactions points the way to achieving sustainable agriculture.

MJ Order Time Name Talk Title
MJ 4-0 8:30AM – 8:35AM Major Symposium IV Overview
MJ 4-1 8:35AM – 9:00AM

Barbara Valent, Kansas State University

How the Blast Fungus Hijacks Living Rice Cells
MJ 4-2 9:00AM – 9:30AM

Nicholas J. Talbot, University of Exeter

Forcible Entry: Investigating the Pressure-Dependent Infection Mechanism of the Rice Blast Fungus
Break 9:30AM – 10:00AM Coffee Break
MJ 4-3 10:00AM – 10:30AM

Peter Dodds, CSIRO

Harnessing Plant Immune Receptors for Protection of Wheat from Rust Diseases
MJ 4-4 10:30AM -11:00AM

Uta Paszkowski, University of Cambridge

Interorganismic Communication between Cereals and Beneficial Soil-Fungi


Wednesday, June 28, 20179:00AM – 11:30AM

Symposium V: Plant Scientist: Entrepreneur
Organizer: Sally Mackenzie

Sally Mackenzie

Times have changed, as have the career options open to plant scientists.  With the advent of social media, broadening of interdisciplinary research avenues, and changing landscape for science funding, the pace of scientific discovery with its potential to impact a wider segment of society has grown markedly.  These changes bring challenges, as we see in heightened public scrutiny of agricultural research accompanied by greater potential for misinformation.  At the same time, the scientific environment has never been more inviting to the entrepreneur.  Some of these new opportunities derive from greater access to investors and revenue options for commercialization, and some emerge from a more business and IP savvy environment within the academic community.   This symposium takes a look at this changing landscape and the how’s and why’s of scientific entrepreneurship at a time when national economic development is eager for new startups.

MJ Order Time Name Talk Title
MJ 5-0 9:00AM – 9:05AM Major Symposium V Overview
MJ 5-1 9:05AM – 9:30AM

Phil Benfey, Duke University

From Bench to Field: Lessons from the Ag Start-Up World
MJ 5-2 9:30AM – 10:00AM

Michael Sussman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

How To Be Curious And Succeed In Both Academia AND The Private Sector
Break 10:00AM – 10:30AM Coffee Break
MJ 5-3 10:30AM -11:00AM

Chris Somerville, Berkeley University

Translating Plant Biology in Large and Small Companies
MJ 5-4 11:00AM – 11:30AM

Su-May Yu, Academia Sinica

Rice Research: At a Crossroads for Knowledge, Technology and Sustainability