Annual symposium emphasizes diversity of plant genomics

The Translational Plant Sciences Symposium is held annually to provide students and faculty the opportunity to share current research with their colleagues via graduate student oral competitions and poster receptions. Leading researchers and scholars are invited to present seminars throughout this day-long event.

alonso-an-andersonInvited guest speakers at the 2017 TPS Minisymposium were (L-R) Dr. Jose Alonso, Dr. Yong-qiang An, and Dr. Ryan Anderson. Credit: Cris Thompson

This year’s event was held at the Inn at Virginia Tech on March 17, 2017. The 2017 theme focused on plant genomics and featured three presenters representing the diverse areas of this field of research. First was Dr. Jose Alonso, who’s presentation was titled “Translational regulation of plant hormone response.” Professor in North Carolina State University’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Dr. Alonso’s research focuses on hormone signal integration.

Dr. Yong-qiang An was the day’s second presenter speaking on “Functional genomics of soybean seeds and genetic diversity for soybean genetic improvement. Dr. An is a plant genetics researcher with the ARS/USDA and is based at the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Closing out the day’s guest speakers was Translational Plant Sciences alum Dr. Ryan Anderson (2011). Dr. Anderson’s presentation was titled “A single domain “sensor” reveals expanded functional diversity in the plant immune system.” Earning his doctoral degree under Dr. John McDowell in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Dr. Anderson is currently a postdoctoral research associate in University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Biology Department, Dr. Anderson’s primary research interest is in the plant immune receptor, RPM1 and the molecular events that transpire pre- and post- RPM1 activation.

Winners at the day’s graduate student poster competitions were Andrew Muchlinski and Shelton Boyd. Oral presentation winner was Hailey Larose. Muchlinski is a chemical ecology doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences, advised by Dr. Dorothea Tholl. Boyd and Larose are both students in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science. Boyd is a Master’s student advised by Dr. Guillaume Pilot. Larose, is a parasitic plants doctoral candidate and advised by Dr. James Westwood.

winners-20172017 competition winners Hailey Larose, Andrew Muchlinski, and Shelton Boyd. Credit: Kristen Clermont

This year’s event was organized by bioinformatics and genomics assistant professor Song Li (Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences).