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Top tags: The Plant Cell  plant research  Plant Summit  National Academy of Sciences  Plant Physiology  AAAS  Budget  Congress  education  Funding  President Obama  The Arabidopsis Book 

Press Releases

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Monday, March 31, 2014
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ASPB Comments on President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Tuesday, March 04, 2014
  

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2014


CONTACT: Tyrone C. Spady, PhD, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs

 tspady@aspb.org, (301) 296-0934 (office)

 

ASPB Comments on President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget

ROCKVILLE, MD — President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget continues his support of basic research and demonstrates his commitment to the U.S. innovation enterprise. The president’s budget proposes funding increases for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and National Institutes of Health.

“We appreciate the sustained investments in basic research that are proposed by President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal,” said ASPB President Alan M. Jones, PhD. “These investments,” Jones continued, “are a good starting point for the congressional consideration of FY 2015 funding levels.” However, the societal needs and scientific opportunities with regard to the provision of food, fuel, fiber, and new pharmaceuticals demand even stronger support if the nation is to maximize its research and development potential. As described in the recent report Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025,” to improve the sustainability of agriculture and the bioeconomy, within the context of global climate change, increasingly limited natural resources, and population growth, five interwoven aims need to be prioritized by federal policymakers:

1)    increasing the ability to predict plant traits from plant genomes in diverse
       environments;

2)    enhancing the capacity to assemble plant traits in different ways to solve problems;

3)    discovering, cataloging , and utilizing plant derived chemicals;

4)    enhancing the ability to find answers in torrents of data; and

5)    reimagining the training of plant science doctoral students.

“Lawmakers need to understand the urgency of these issues,” said Jones. “To this end, the ASPB Science Policy Committee will convene in Washington, D.C. at the end of the month to deliver this message to Capitol Hill. Through the committee’s work and in conjunction with a suite of other advocacy activities, ASPB will work tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard.”

 

# # #

 

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of almost 5000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.


Tags:  Budget  Funding  President Obama 

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Sabeeha Merchant Named New Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 19, 2014


CONTACT: Tyrone C. Spady, PhD, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs

tspady@aspb.org , (301) 296-0934 (office)


Sabeeha Merchant Named New Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell

ROCKVILLE, MD — The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is honored to announce that Sabeeha Merchant, PhD, has been named the next editor-in-chief of The Plant Cell. Her five-year term will begin January 1, 2015.

"ASPB is very fortunate to have Sabeeha Merchant as the editor-in-chief of The Plant Cell,” remarked ASPB president Alan Jones. "She is one of plant biology’s brightest minds, and I am confident that her impressive experience as an editor and her outstanding leadership and vision will ensure continued success and take the journal to new heights in the publishing arena.”

Merchant is a distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). She earned her BS and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and, afterwards, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University.

Merchant is internationally renowned for developing the concepts of metal sparing and recycling in biology through her analysis of nutritional copper and iron signaling in Chlamydomonas, a tiny but complex green alga. Working with more than 100 scientists worldwide, she was the lead author of a "dictionary” of its approximately 15,000 genes, published in the journal Science October 12, 2007.

Mechanisms that apply to algae also apply to many other forms of life and other kinds of cells, including those of plants and mammals. "We study algae to understand basic mechanisms of how all cells work,” Merchant said. "It's easier to conduct research with a microorganism.”

Merchant’s many honors include a Searle Scholars Award, a National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal of the NAS, and the Kettering Award from the ASPB.

Published monthly by ASPB, The Plant Cell is the highest-ranking primary research journal in plant biology. The Plant Cellpublishes novel research in plant biology, especially in the areas of cellular biology, molecular biology, genetics, development, and evolution. The primary criteria for publication are that the article providesnew insight that is of broad interestto plant biologists, not only to specialists, and that the presentation of results is appropriate for a wide audience of plant biologists.


# # #

 

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of almost 5000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

Tags:  The Plant Cell 

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ASPB Co-hosts Briefing on Decadal Vision for Plant Science

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Monday, December 02, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 04, 2014


ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 2, 2013


CONTACT: Tyrone C. Spady, PhD, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs

 tspady@aspb.org, (301) 296-0934 (office)


ASPB Co-hosts Briefing on Decadal Vision for Plant Science

 

ROCKVILLE, MD — With the support of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Plant Biologists; the Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies; the American Chemical Society; and the National Plant Science Council will co-host a briefing on the report Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025 on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. in the AAAS auditorium at 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005.

In the face of burgeoning global population growth and climate change, monumental advances in plant science research and technological innovation will be required to address the increasingly pressing demands on limited resources. The Decadal Vision is a community-driven report that articulates a path toward those monumental advances. The report describes a ten-year research agenda for plant science and its impacts on food, fuel, feed, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and American competitiveness.

The briefing will be moderated by Sally MacKenzie, PhD, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and speakers will include:

·         David Stern, PhD - President, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

·         Pat Schnable, PhD - Professor, Iowa State University

·         Toni Kutchan, PhD - Vice President for Research, Donald Danforth Plant Science
  Center

The briefing is intended for members of the scientific advocacy community, federal agency staff, congressional staff, and the press; however, the event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, contact Alison Thompson at Alison@lewis-burke.com.

# # #

 

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

Tags:  plant research  Plant Summit 

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ASPB Co-hosts Congressional Briefing on Decadal Vision for Plant Science

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 01, 2013

 

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2013

CONTACT: Tyrone C. Spady, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs

tspady@aspb.org , (301) 296-0934 (office)

 

ASPB Co-hosts Congressional Briefing on Decadal Vision for Plant Science

ROCKVILLE, MD — With the support of the Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-8), the American Society of Plant Biologists; the Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies; and the National Plant Science Council will co-host a congressional briefing on the report Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science : A Vision for 2015-2025 on Thursday, October 10th, 2013, at noon in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

In the face of burgeoning global population growth and climate change, monumental advances in plant science research and technological innovation will be required to address the increasingly pressing demands on limited resources. The Decadal Vision is a community-driven report that articulates a path toward those monumental advances. The report describes a ten-year research agenda for plant science and its impacts on food, fuel, feed, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and American competitiveness.

The briefing will be moderated by Sally MacKenzie, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and speakers will include:

· David Stern, Ph.D. - President, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

· Jeff Dangl, Ph.D. - Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

· Jim Carrington, Ph.D. - President, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

· John Ryals, Ph.D. - President and CEO, Metabolon Inc.

The briefing is intended for Members of the U.S. Congress, congressional staff, and the press; however, the event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, contact Alison Thompson at Alison@lewis-burke.com.

# # #

The report is available online via www.plantsummit.wordpress.com.

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

 

 

Tags:  Congress  plant research  Plant Summit 

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ASPB Endorses Decadal Vision for Plant Science Research

Posted By Tyrone Spady, Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 4, 2013

  CONTACT: Tyrone C. Spady, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs

tspady@aspb.org , (301) 296-0914 (office)

ASPB Endorses Decadal Vision for Plant Science Research

ROCKVILLE, MD — The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is very pleased to formally endorse the exciting and compelling consensus vision that is laid out in the recently published report1 Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025, as well as the goals and recommendations that the report articulates.

The overarching objective set out in the decadal vision report is to markedly increase our ability to understand, predict, and alter how plants grow in constantly changing environments. These game-changing advances in plant science research are required to address the increasingly pressing challenge of meeting the demands for adequate food, feed, shelter, energy, and good health in the face of a burgeoning human population and climate change.

More specifically, the five major goals of the decadal vision are to: (1) increase the ability to predict plant traits from plant genomes in diverse environments; (2) assemble plant traits in different ways to solve problems; (3) discover, catalog, and utilize plant-derived chemicals; (4) enhance the ability to find answers in a torrent of data; and (5) create novel approaches toward training future generations of plant scientists.

The decadal vision report is the culmination of two broad and inclusive plant science research summits that were convened by ASPB and supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

ASPB certainly intends to use the decadal vision to inform and guide its legislative affairs and advocacy efforts; however, achieving the goals of the decadal vision will require cooperation among many stakeholders. ASPB therefore also welcomes the formation of an inclusive National Plant Science Council that will serve as a forum for updating, communicating, and monitoring the impact of the decadal vision on an ongoing basis.

1 The report is available online via www.plantsummit.wordpress.com

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/ . Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB .

Tags:  plant research  Plant Summit 

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ASPB Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, May 07, 2013

 

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2013

CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Associate Director of Public Affairs

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

ASPB Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Plant biologists join select group of top scientists

ROCKVILLE, MD — Several distinguished plant scientists – most of them members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) – have been elected as members or foreign associates of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Five plant scientists were elected to this year’s (NAS) class:

New members

  • Ian BaldwinDirector, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
  • Xuemei Chen Professor, University of California, Riverside; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator
  • Xing-Wang DengDaniel C. Eaton Chair of Plant Biology, Yale University
  • Jorge Dubcovsky Professor, University of California, Davis; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator

Foreign Associates

  • Graham FarquharDistinguished Professor, Research School of Biology, Australian National University

These plant biologists are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates just elected. There are now 2,179 active NAS members and 437 foreign associates.

# # #

The National Academy of Sciences is a private honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific research. Established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln, the academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government through its operating arm, the National Research Council, administered with its sister organizations, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Additional information about the academy and its members is available at http://www.nasonline.org/.

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

 

Link to PDF of press release here: ASPB Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Tags:  National Academy of Sciences 

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ASPB Names 2013 Award Recipients

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Friday, April 12, 2013


April 12, 2013

Contact: Kathy Munkvold

kmunkvold@aspb.org


 

ASPB Names 2013 Awards Recipients

Honors to be presented at Plant Biology 2013 in Providence

ROCKVILLE, MD -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2013 awards, honoring excellence in research, education, outreach, and service.

Adolph E. Gude, Jr. Award

Natasha Raikhel, University of California, Riverside

The 2013 Adolph E. Gude, Jr. Award, is given every three years in recognition of outstanding service to the science of plant biology. Raikhel has made significant contributions through her research into protein trafficking and service to the discipline, most notably as editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology and in establishing the visionary Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB) at UC Riverside.

 

Charles Reid Barnes Life Membership Award

Robert Turgeon, Cornell University

Established in 1925, the Charles Reid Barnes Life Membership Award is ASPB’s oldest award, honoring lifelong service in plant biology. Turgeon is recognized for his meritorious work in plant biology, including outstanding contributions to the understanding of phloem transport.

 

Stephen Hales Prize

Brian A. Larkins, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Established in 1927, the Stephen Hales Prize is among the Society’s oldest and most prestigious awards; it honors exceptional research accomplishments and service to ASPB. Larkins is recognized for his early pioneering work that brought molecular biology to plant studies and the many outstanding examples of his leadership in promoting plant sciences. The recipient of the Hales Prize delivers a lecture at ASPB’s annual meeting the following year.

 

Charles Albert Shull Award

Harvey Millar, University of Western Australia, Perth

Created in 1971, the Charles Albert Shull Award recognizes young researchers for outstanding contributions to plant biology in mid-career. Millar is recognized for his impressive body of research on plant mitochondria and bioinformatics that has provided important new insights into plant mitochondrial composition and function.The recipient of the Shull Award delivers a lecture at ASPB’s annual meeting the following year.

 

Excellence in Education Award

Erin Dolan, University of Georgia, Athens

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes outstanding, teaching, mentoring, and educational outreach in plant biology.Dolan is recognized for her development of innovative teaching methods; extensive record of mentoring; leadership as both former chair of the ASPB Education Committee and member of the Education Foundation Board; and widespread, influential outreach efforts.She has also published numerous science education research articles and is currently editor-in-chief of CBE Life Sciences Education.

 

Early Career Award

Michael Gore, Cornell University

The Early Career Award was instituted in 2005 to honor outstanding research by scientists at the beginning of their career. Gore is recognized for his extraordinary contributions to the development and application of large-scale genomic tools for crop improvement through quantitative genetics, including the first haploytype map (HapMap) and genome-wide association resources for maize.

 

Eric E. Conn Young Investigator Award

Daisuke Urano, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

The Eric E. Conn Young Investigator Award honors early career plant scientists for outstanding research anddemonstrated excellence in outreach, public service, mentoring, or teaching. Urano is recognized for his research accomplishments toward understanding the regulation of G protein activation in plants, his significant contributions to a number of ASPB activities, and excellence in mentoring students and postdoctoral researchers.

 

Martin Gibbs Medal

Jen Sheen, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

The Gibbs Medal is presented biennially to an individual who has pioneered advances that have served to establish new directions of investigation in the plant sciences. Sheen is recognized for her seminal and innovative contributions to the understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying the plant signal transduction cascades that mediate nutrient, hormone, and environmental stress responses and pathogen defenses in plants. As the recipient of the 2013 Gibbs Medal, Sheen will convene the Martin Gibbs Medal Symposium at the 2014 ASPB annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.

 

ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award

Robert Ziegler, International Rice Research Institute

The ASPB Public Affairs Committee awards theASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award annually to recognize individuals who have advanced the mission of ASPB and its members through significant contributions to plant science and public policy leadership. Zeigler is recognized for an outstanding commitment throughout his career to improving agriculture in the developing world for the benefit of the resource poor. He will speak as part of the awards symposium at Plant Biology 2013 in Providence, Rhode Island, this July.

 

ASPB–Pioneer Hi-Bred Graduate Student Fellowship

Rachel Egger, Stanford University

The ASPB–Pioneer Hi-Bred Graduate Student Fellowship is made possible by the generosity of Pioneer Hi-Bred International and recognizes and encourages innovative graduate research in areas of plant biology that relate to important commodity crops. Egger is a PhD student studying maize anther development in Virginia Walbot’s laboratory. Her dissertation research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that regulate asymmetric cell division, a critical event in anther patterning and pollen formation.

 

Fellow of ASPB Award

Ray Chollet, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

John Cushman, University of Nevada, Reno

John Harada, University of California, Davis

Jeffrey Harper, University of Nevada, Reno

Sally Mackenzie, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Susan Wessler, University of California, Riverside

Established in 2007, the Fellow of ASPB Award is granted in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service. This prestigious honor may be granted to no more than 0.2% of the current membership each year.


Corresponding Membership Award

Luis Herrera-Estrella, CINVESTAV (Mexico)

Susanne von Caemmerer, Australian National University (Canberra)

Youngsook Lee , POSTECH (South Korea)

First given in 1932, the Corresponding Membership Award honors up to three distinguished plant biologists residing outside the United States with life membership in ASPB. Herrera-Estrella, von Caemmerer, and Lee have been nominated for the Corresponding Membership Award. Corresponding members are elected by the ASPB membership, so these nominees’ names have been placed on the 2013 Election Ballot.

The 2013 ASPB awards will be formally presented during the opening session of Plant Biology 2013, ASPB’s annual meeting, which will be held July 20–24 in Providence, Rhode Island.

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4,500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and around the world, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

 

PDF of Press Release

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The American Society of Plant Biologists Joins with the National Park Foundation to Support the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Monday, April 01, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013

EMBARGO DATE: April 1, 2013
Media Contacts:

Alanna Sobel, 202-684-6479, asobel@nationalparks.org

Kathy Munkvold, 301-251-0560, kmunkvold@aspb.org

 
The American Society of Plant Biologists Joins with the National Park Foundation to Support the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) returns today to the South Lawn of the White House to offer science activities for kids as part of the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll. ASPB is providing an in-kind donation of expertise and materials in order to showcase several hands-on plant explorations in its ‘Growing Strong with Plants’ booth. Plant science educators and researchers are set to chat with visitors about seed care, plant growth, and nutrients that plants provide. After digging in to plant science, kids can take home a copy of My Life As A Plant, a coloring and activity book published by ASPB.

Washington, D.C. (April 1, 2013) – The American Society of Plant Biologists announces that it will contribute to the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, to help support the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll.

The 2013 Easter Egg Roll, which takes place today on the South Lawn of the White House, is focused on promoting health and wellness with the theme, "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” The event will feature live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. The activities will encourage children to lead healthy, active lives in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. In addition, official White House Easter Eggs, sold by NPF, are available at easter.nationalparks.org.

ASPB is devoted to the advancement of plant science worldwide. Its 4,500 members conduct scientific research as well as participate in formal and informal education to enhance and disseminate plant biology research. To this end, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals, The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology, as well as the innovative online products Teaching Tools in Plant Biology and The Arabidopsis Book. ASPB also strives to cultivate awareness of the importance of plant science research for scientific discovery, human health, and the economy, including impacts on food, feed, fuel and pharmaceuticals. Please visit http://www.aspb.org or follow on Twitter @ASPB.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places. www.nationalparks.org.

Join us – This is Your Land. www.nationalparks.org
FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark
TWITTER http://twitter.com/goparks

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American Society of Plant Biologists adopts Utopia Documents, software designed by scientists for scientists, to enrich PDF versions of articles in its journals

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Tuesday, January 08, 2013


ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 8, 2013


 

CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Associate Director of Public Affairs

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

 

Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell are the first plant science journals to apply this novel technology to improve scholarship

As part of its efforts to make articles published in its journals ever more useful to researchers, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will, from January 8, 2013, enrich Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell articles with Utopia Documents. All PDF versions of new articles published from the start of 2013 along with many more published over the preceding years will incorporate the advanced features that are accessible to the user via the free Utopia Documents PDF viewer.

ROCKVILLE, MD, USA, and MANCHESTER, UK, January 8, 2013 – Imagine how useful a PDF would be in which it is possible to link in-text references directly to the articles referenced, to export tables into a spreadsheet, and to highlight a term and get a wealth of related links. Imagine how much such a document would improve research and scholarship. Reflecting ASPB’s commitment to experimentation and innovation in research communication, this possibility is now a reality for ASPB’s journals, Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell.

ASPB aims for its journals not only to be avenues for the exchange and communication of knowledge, but, wherever possible, to also be catalysts for innovation. In that light, the Society will enhance and enrich the PDF versions of articles in its journals with the state-of-the-art techniques used by Utopia Document’s PDF viewer to bring features to those PDFs that before now could be realized only in web versions of the article. The technology behind the Utopia Documents tool allows users to view interactive and extractable tables that can be rendered as graphs; active links to citations in the paper; and link-outs, directly from the PDF, to numerous relevant information resources without the need to retype or even copy and paste any keywords or phrases. The result is that the PDFs are as interactive as the HTML versions of the articles, if not more so.

As Steve Pettifer, originator of Utopia Documents, puts it, "Navigating the scientific literature can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Utopia Documents was conceived to help researchers and students cope more readily with the scientific literature. It is a software tool designed by scientists for scientists, frankly, to make life easier. Scientists are always short of time, and to be able to discover—and get to —needed information faster and more conveniently is a major advantage.”

Mike Blatt, incoming Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology, agrees. "As a former Editor of the Biochemical Journal, I took part in the launch of Utopia and have seen it grow over the past four years. I am convinced that Utopia will prove immensely attractive both for authors and readers of Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell.

ASPB was founded in 1924 to promote the growth and development of plant biology, to encourage and publish research in plant biology, and to promote the interests and growth of plant scientists in general.

For more information about the Society, visit http://aspb.org.

For more information about Utopia Documents, visit http://utopiadocs.com.

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

Tags:  Plant Physiology  The Plant Cell 

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Discovery May Pave Way to Genetically Enhanced Biofuel Crops

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Thursday, December 20, 2012

Given that fermenting bacteria readily convert six-carbon sugars into the biofuel ethanol, it would be advantageous to generate biofuel crops with increased levels of these sugars. A study published in The Plant Cell identifies a family of enzymes responsible for the production of β-1,4-galactan, a polymer of six-carbon sugars, in the model plant Arabidopsis. Increasing the activity of one of these enzymes dramatically enhances the production of β-1,4-galactan without damaging the plant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact:

Kathy Munkvold, Ph.D.

Public Affairs Manager

kmunkvold@aspb.org

301-251-0560 ext. 121

Contact:

Henrik V. Scheller

hscheller@lbl.gov

Joint BioEnergy Institute, Feedstocks Division

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Author:

Kathleen L. Farquharson

kfarquharson@aspb.org

American Society of Plant Biologists

Tel: 206-324-2126

Discovery May Pave Way to Genetically Enhanced Biofuel Crops

Plants engineered to have increased levels of β-1,4-galactan may enhance biofuel production

Best known for its ability to transform simmering pots of sugared fruit into marmalades and jams, pectin is a major constituent of plant cell walls and the middle lamella, the sticky layer that glues neighboring plant cells together. Pectin imparts strength and elasticity to the plant and forms a protective barrier against the environment. Several different kinds of pectic compounds combine to form pectin. The relative proportion of each of these depends on the plant species, location within the plant, and environment. Pectic compounds decorated with β-1,4-galactan (a chain of six-carbon sugars) are of considerable interest to the biofuels industry, because six-carbon sugars are readily converted into ethanol (biofuel) by fermenting microorganisms. A new study published in The Plant Cell reveals a novel enzyme involved in the production of β-1,4-galactans. This enzyme may be used to engineer plants with more desirable attributes for conversion to biofuel.

The major enzymes that catalyze pectin production are hard to pin down. Close to 70 enzymes are predicted to underlie pectin synthesis in plants; only about three of these have been identified definitively. Knowledge of these enzymes could be used to boost the production of pectins with desirable characteristics.

A team of researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, University of California, Berkeley, and Technical University of Denmark set out to identify the enzymes that catalyze the production of β-1,4-galactan. They screened a database of enzymes for galactosyltransferases, the enzymes that link six-carbon galactose sugars into a chain. They found a family of proteins, named GT92, that are present in some animals and all plants sequenced to date. The authors found that mutations in each of the three genes encoding the GT92 proteins in the model plant Arabidopsis led to a reduction in β-1,4-galactan, whereas producing more of one of these proteins led to a 50% increase in β-1,4-galactan levels. In many cases, modifying the composition of plant cell wall components leads to alterations in growth or stature. Strikingly, all of the plant lines overproducing this important six-carbon sugar appeared to be healthy. Biochemical tests of the enzymatic properties of purified Arabidopsis GT92 protein supported the hypothesis that GT92 proteins are important enzymes for β-1,4-galactan synthesis in plants. This means that crops engineered to produce increased levels of GT92 proteins might contain more easily fermentable sugars, thereby potentially boosting the efficiency of biofuel production.

According to lead scientist Henrik Scheller, "Bioenergy crops with high β-1,4-galactan content would have significant advantages for the biofuels industry and we now have the knowledge to specifically increase β-1,4-galactan content in the biomass of cell walls. This breakthrough was made possible by a collaboration involving members of the Feedstocks Division at JBEI and our collaborators in Denmark. We are very excited about this result and look forward to testing it in a bioenergy crop such as switchgrass or poplar trees”.

Kathleen L. Farquharson, Ph.D.

Science Editor

###

This research was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the U. S. Department of Energy, and the Danish Strategic Research Council.

###

The research paper cited in this report is available at the following link:

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2012/12/14/tpc.112.106625.abstract

###

Liwanag, A.J.M., Ebert, B., Verhertbruggen, Y., Rennie, E.A., Rautengarten, C., Oikawa, A., Andersen, M.C.F., Clausen, M.H., and Scheller, H.V. (2012). Pectin Biosynthesis: GALS1 in Arabidopsis thaliana is a b-1,4-Gala­ctan b-1,4-galactosyltransferase. Plant Cell10.1105/tpc.112.106625.

The Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/) is published by the American Society of Plant Biologists. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/.

Figure credit: Henrik Scheller

Restrictions: Use for noncommercial, educational purposes is granted without written permission. Please include a citation and acknowledge ASPB as copyright holder. For all other uses, contact diane@aspb.org.

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Thirty-Four ASPB Members Elected to 2012 Class of AAAS Fellows

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Monday, December 03, 2012

 


ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 3, 2012


CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Associate Director of Public Affairs

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

Thirty-Four ASPB Members Elected to 2012 Class of AAAS Fellows

Plant Biologists Honored for Advancing Science

ROCKVILLE, MD — Thirty-four members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) were elected to the 2012 class of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows. This year’s class includes ASPB members from academic, independent, and government research institutions in the United States and abroad. Each year the AAAS Council elects fellows based on their contributions to science and technology in the areas of research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. Fellows are defined as AAAS members "whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

New Fellows will be honored with a certificate and a blue and gold rosette to symbolize their distinguished achievements at the AAAS Annual Meeting, Fellows Forum on February 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The following ASPB members have been named AAAS Fellows:

Section on Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources:

  • Richard M. Bostock – University of California, Davis
  • Edward S. Buckler – Cornell University; USDA-ARS
  • John James Finer – The Ohio State University
  • Avtar Krishan Handa – Purdue University
  • Maria J. Harrison – Cornell University; Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
  • Karen E. Koch – University of Florida
  • Cathie Martin – John Innes Centre
  • Melvin J. Oliver – USDA-ARS; University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Michael Karl Udvardi – Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
  • Jonathan D. Walton – Michigan State University

Section on Biological Sciences:

  • Paul G. Ahlquist – University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Gynheung An – Kyung Hee University, South Korea
  • Susan H. Brawley – University of Maine
  • Thomas P. Brutnell – Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Nicholas C. Carpita – Purdue University
  • Luca Comai – University of California, Davis
  • Xing Wang Deng – Yale University
  • Joseph R. Ecker – Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Jonathan Gershenzon – Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany
  • Beverley R. Green – University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Georg Jander – Cornell University; Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
  • Alan M. Jones – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Daniel F. Klessig, Cornell University; Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
  • Elena M. Kramer – Harvard University
  • Sheng Luan – University of California, Berkeley
  • Blake C. Meyers – University of Delaware
  • Joseph P. Noel – Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Eran Pichersky – University of Michigan
  • Danny J. Schnell – University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jane Silverthorne – National Science Foundation
  • Keiko U. Torii – University of Washington
  • Geoffrey O. Wasteneys – University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Ruth Welti – Kansas State University
  • Shuqun Zhang – University of Missouri-Columbia

The entire list of 2012 AAAS fellows can be found on the AAAS website: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/1130fellows_2012.shtml

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

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New! Core Concepts and Learning Objectives in Plant Biology for Undergraduates

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Thursday, November 08, 2012

ASPB News

For Immediate Release

November 8, 2012

CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Associate Director of Public Affairs

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

 

New! Core Concepts and Learning Objectives in Plant Biology for Undergraduates

A Flexible Guide for Learning How Plants Contribute to a Sustainable, Healthy, and Economically Viable Future

 

ROCKVILLE, MD — Plants are everywhere! It’s almost impossible to get through a minute without using food, fuels, or fibers (paper, cotton, wood) made from plants. And plant biologists optimize these plant-derived resources for a sustainable, healthy and economically viable future. Experts from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and Botanical Society of America (BSA), dedicated to improving science education, have created a set of core concepts and learning objectives to help undergraduate and college-bound students learn, apply and expand the body of plant biology knowledge. In alignment with new national reforms in science and transformative measures for undergraduate biology education, ASPB and BSA developed this educational resource and urge all who teach undergraduate biology students to use this document as a guide for curricular design and instruction.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Science Foundation (NSF), and other stakeholders recently published a call to transform undergraduate biology education, titled Vision and Change. Major themes of Vision and Change include teaching core concepts and competencies, focusing on student-centered learning, promoting campus-wide commitments to change, and engaging the biology community in implementation of change. ASPB, one of the first societies involved in this effort, received an NSF award to host a workshop in 2011 to determine how to implement the Vision and Change recommendations in the field of plant biology. Based on the output of this workshop, an ASPB-BSA working group was assembled to generate a set of plant biology core concepts.

ASPB and BSA member comments have been integrated into the current version of the core concepts posted on the ASPB website. The concepts are organized into the four life science domains of the new framework for K-12 science education developed by the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education: (1) From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes, (2) Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics, (3) Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits, and (4) Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity. Each set of concepts begins with a description of the foundational knowledge in the domain, and individual concepts are followed by sample learning objectives, detailing how students can demonstrate their understanding of the concept.

Input from the wider community about these concepts and learning objectives is welcome. Please share your feedback with ASPB Education Committee member, Erin Dolan (eldolan@uga.edu). Also, please consider sharing how you utilize the concepts and objectives in your teaching with members of the Higher Education Interest Group on the ASPB site.

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.


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Is your leaf left-handed?

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Friday, June 22, 2012

Previously overlooked asymmetry in Arabidopsis and tomato leaves

Research published in The Plant Cell shows that the spiral pattern of leaf formation from the point of growth affects the developing leaf’s exposure to the plant hormone auxin; this exposure leads to measureable left-right asymmetry in leaf development, in species previously assumed to have symmetric leaves.


Contact:

Kathy Munkvold, Ph.D.

kmunkvold@aspb.org

301-251-0560 ext. 121

Associate Director of Public Affairs

Author:

Jennifer Mach, Ph.D.

jmach@aspb.org

Science Editor, The Plant Cell

American Society of Plant Biologists

 

Is your leaf left-handed?

Previously overlooked asymmetry in Arabidopsis and tomato leaves.

Model of Developing LeavesThe front of a leaf is different from the back of a leaf and the tip is different from the base. However, a leaf from a tomato or an Arabidopsis plant superficially appears to be bilaterally symmetrical, or the same on the left and right sides. Don’t let its appearance fool you; there is an underlying asymmetry between the left and right sides of such leaves—it just took a while for scientists to discover it. The story begins with the mechanism by which leaves form along a stem. In broad-leafed plants, dicots, leaves form from the meristem, an actively dividing tissue at the top of the plant, so that as you look down the stem, the oldest leaves are at the bottom. Leaves don’t just become arranged by random chance either—phyllotaxis, the arrangement of leaves or flowers along a stem, affects key plant characteristics, such as how much light can filter through to lower leaves. Leaves can form opposite each other, or in alternation, or in whorls; often leaves form in spirals where the next leaf is offset by roughly 137 degrees, known as the "golden angle”, which is related to the Fibonacci sequence.

Recent research has shown that leaf initiation in the meristem is specified by locally high concentrations of the plant hormone auxin. In a study published in The Plant Cell, an international group coordinated by Neelima R. Sinha, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis, examined how the pattern of auxin concentrations might affect the symmetry of the leaf. She explains, "As leaves are initiated within a spiral context, we might expect that they would be asymmetric and exhibit the same handedness of the spiral, like propeller blades. Yet, superficially many leaves appear symmetrical.” To examine whether the spiral pattern of leaves affected symmetry, her team first modeled the anatomy of the forming leaves and the location of the highest concentrations of auxin, finding that the two were not perfectly aligned. Following up, they found that this difference caused asymmetry at both the molecular level, altering gene expression, and the anatomical level, altering leaf shape, in tomato and Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. Indeed, the authors found measurable anatomical differences between the left and right sides of both young and mature leaves, identifying a previously overlooked axis of asymmetry.

Dr. Sinha summarizes: "Our results show that asymmetry is indeed very much present in the leaves around us and that the spiral, within which they are initiated, influences their development from the earliest stages. Quite literally, the handedness of the spiral in plants transmits its asymmetry to leaves. By studying these asymmetries, we can begin to understand the mechanisms by which plants produce such a staggering array of leaf shapes in such regular arrangements.”

This work was funded through a National Science Foundation grant (IOS-0820854) andSystemsX.chPlantGrowthRTD.

###

The research paper cited in this report is available at the following link:

[http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2012/06/21/tpc.112.098798.full.pdf+html]

###

The Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/) is published by the American Society of Plant Biologists. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/.

Figure credit: Richard Smith

Figure caption: Model of developing leaves

Restrictions: Use for noncommercial, educational purposes is granted without written permission. Please include a citation and acknowledge ASPB as copyright holder. For all other uses, contact diane@aspb.org.

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ASPB Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Thursday, May 10, 2012

ASPB NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 10, 2012

CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Associate Director of Public Affairs

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

 

ASPB Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Plant biologists join select group of top scientists

ROCKVILLE, MD — Several members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) have been elected as members or foreign associates of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Six current ASPB members were elected to this year’s class:

New members

  • Xinnian DongProfessor of Biology, Duke University; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator
  • Harry KleeProfessor of Horticultural Sciences; University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Sabeeha MerchantProfessor of Biochemistry; University of California, Los Angeles
  • Natasha RaikhelDistinguished Professor of Plant Biology; University of California, Riverside

Foreign Associates

  • George CouplandDirector, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
  • Ottoline LeyserAssociate Director; The Sainsbury Laboratory University of Cambridge

One additional plant biologist, unaffiliated with the society, was also selected as a new member:

  • Pedro SanchezDirector, Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment; The Earth Institute, Columbia University

These plant biologists are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates just elected. There are now 2,152 active NAS members and 430 foreign associates.

# # #

The National Academy of Sciences is a private honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific research. Established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln, the academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government through its operating arm, the National Research Council, administered with its sister organizations, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Additional information about the academy and its members is available at http://www.nasonline.org/.

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

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ASPB Names 2012 Award Recipients

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NEWS FROM ASPB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2012

CONTACT: Kathy Munkvold, Public Affairs Manager

kmunkvold@aspb.org, (301) 296-0914 (office)

 

ASPB Names 2012 Award Recipients

 Honors to be presented at Plant Biology 2012 in Austin

 

ROCKVILLE, MD. -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2012 awards, honoring excellence in research, education, outreach, and service.

 

Charles Reid Barnes Life Membership Award

Andrew Hanson, University of Florida, Gainesville

Established in 1925, the Charles Reid Barnes Life Membership Awards is ASPB’s oldest award, honoring lifelong service in plant biology. Hanson, this year’s honoree, is recognized for his unique and multifaceted contributions to plant biology, his exemplary use of comparative genomics approaches to deepen our understanding of plant metabolic pathways, and his research in the areas of folate biosynthesis and biofortification.

 

Stephen Hales Prize

Ian Sussex, Yale University

Established in 1927, the Stephen Hales Prize is among the Society’s oldest and most prestigious awards; it honors exceptional research accomplishments and service to ASPB. Sussex is recognized for over 60 years of outstanding seminal contributions to diverse areas of plant development research. He is particularly esteemed for his work on embryo lethal mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana, work that helped convince plant researchers that Arabidopsis is a potent model organism. The recipient of the Hales Prize delivers a lecture at the following year’s ASPB annual meeting, so Sussex will speak at Plant Biology 2013 in Providence, RI.

 

Charles F. Kettering Award

Stephen Long, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Established in 1962 by an endowment from the Kettering Foundation, the Charles F. Kettering Award recognizes excellence in the field of photosynthesis. Long has earned this year’s award for his many seminal discoveries of the responses of photosynthesis to changes in the physical environment as well as the role of photosynthesis in mitigating climate change. Most recently, he and collaborators are developing plants as renewable sources of liquid fuel and addressing the social, economic, and ethical dimensions of allocating part of the food-producing landscape to the production of fuel.

 

Charles Albert Shull Award

Elizabeth Ainsworth, USDA/ARS; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Created in 1971, the Charles Albert Shull Award recognizes young researchers for outstanding contributions to plant biology in mid-career. Ainsworth is recognized for her impressive scholarship, which she also incorporates into her teaching and service. Her pioneering research on current and potential impacts of global and environmental change on both natural and managed plant ecosystems is widely appreciated. The recipient of the Shull Award delivers a lecture at the following year’s ASPB annual meeting, so Ainsworth will speak at Plant Biology 2013 in Providence, RI.

 

Dennis R. Hoagland Award

Mary Lou Guerinot, Dartmouth College

The Dennis R. Hoagland Award honors Hoagland’s contributions and leadership in plant mineral nutrition. Guerinot received this year’s award for her seminal contributions to the field of iron nutrition, work that has revolutionized our understanding of the uptake, long-distance transport, and distribution of iron to subcellular compartments, as well as iron deficiency signaling pathways in plants.

 

Excellence in Education Award

Peggy G. Lemaux, University of California, Berkeley

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes outstanding, teaching, mentoring, and educational outreach in plant biology. Lemaux is recognized for her outstanding contributions as a plant biology educator and educational leader and for her internationally known outreach program to promote a better public understanding of the benefits and risks of agricultural biotechnology. Lemaux’s ongoing activities allow consumers, farmers, public opinion leaders, and government officials to make informed decisions about biotechnology issues.

 

Early Career Award

Michael Nodine, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The Early Career Award was instituted in 2005 to recognize outstanding research by scientists at the beginning of their career. Nodine is recognized for his exceptional contributions and creativity in plant embryogenesis and seed biology research, particularly with respect to the function of micro RNAs and the timing of the maternal-zygotic transition in plants.

 

Lawrence Bogorad Award

Wolf Frommer, Carnegie Institution of Washington

The Lawrence Bogorad Award is made biennially to a plant scientist whose work both illuminates the present and suggests paths to enlighten the future. Frommer is recognized for his major contributions in the development of fundamental tools and technologies essential for breakthrough discoveries that advance our understanding of glucose, sucrose, ammonium, amino acid, and nucleotide transport in plants.

 

Robert Rabson Award

Yuki Tobimatsu, University of Wisconsin–Madison

This award, made for the first time this year, recognizes Bob Rabson’s steadfast advocacy for plant biology through the creation of funding programs in the Department of Energy for research in basic energy sciences. Tobimatsu is recognized for his exceptional work, thoughtful independent analysis, and effective collaborations in the areas of lignin biosynthesis and cell wall biochemistry.

 

ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award

Peter Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden (President Emeritus)

The ASPB Public Affairs Committee awards theASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award annually to recognize individuals who have advanced the mission of ASPB and its members through significant contributions to plant science and public policy leadership. Raven is known world-wide for his work as a conservationist and botanist. Although now retired, he served as the president of the Missouri Botanical Garden for four decades. Raven has been recognized for his achievements though numerous awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and served on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He will speak as part of the awards symposium at Plant Biology 2012 in Austin this July.

 

ASPB–Pioneer Hi-Bred Graduate Student Fellowship

Jessica Rutkoski, Cornell University

The ASPB–Pioneer Hi-Bred Graduate Student Fellowship is made possible by the generosity of Pioneer Hi-Bred International and recognizes and encourages innovative graduate research in areas of plant biology that relate to important commodity crops. Rutkoski is a Ph.D. student in Mark Sorrells’ laboratory in the Plant Breeding graduate program at Cornell University. Her dissertation research focuses on stem rust in wheat, a devastating disease caused by the pathogen Puccinia graminis. Jessica’s goal is to develop wheat varieties that have quantitative resistance to stem rust, which has the potential to be much more durable than single-gene resistance.

 

Fellow of ASPB Award

Judy Callis, University of California, Davis

Karen Koch, University of Florida

Danny Schnell, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Elizabeth Vierling, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Eleanore Wurtzel, Lehman College, The City University of New York

Established in 2007, the Fellow of ASPB Award is granted in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service. This prestigious honor may be granted to no more than 0.2% of the current membership each year.

 

Corresponding Membership Award Nominees

Frank Gubler, CSIRO Plant Industry Canberra (Australia)

Agepati Srinivasa Raghavendra, University of Hyderabad (India)

First given in 1932, the Corresponding Membership Award honors up to three distinguished plant biologists residing outside the United States with life membership in ASPB. Gubler and Raghavendra have been nominated for the Corresponding Membership Award. Corresponding Members are elected by the ASPB membership, so these nominees’ names have been placed on the 2012 Election Ballot.

The 2012 ASPB awards will be formally presented during the opening session of Plant Biology 2012, ASPB’s annual meeting, which will be held July 20–24 in Austin, Texas.

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4,500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

/resource/group/6d461cb9-5b79-4571-a164-924fa40395a5/pressreleases/120424_aspb_awards_final.pdf

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ASPB Names Keiko Torii as Next Editor of The Arabidopsis Book

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TAB provides free access peer-reviewed articles on key plant model organism

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) has appointed Keiko Torii as the next editor in chief of The Arabidopsis Book (TAB). Torii becomes editor on April 1.

TAB is a free access peer-reviewed serial publication that was launched by ASPB in 2002 under the direction of plant biologists Chris Somerville and Elliot Meyerowitz as a new model for communicating up-to-date and comprehensive information about a broad range of topics in research on Arabidopsis thaliana and related species. New articles are published as fields evolve, and older content is substantively revised on an ongoing basis. There are currently nearly 100 TAB chapters freely available at http://bit.ly/TheArabidopsisBook.

Torii is distinguished professor of biology at the University of Washington and was recently selected as an HHMI-GBMF Investigator by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She is currently a member of the editorial board for TAB, a monitoring editor for Plant Physiology, and a mentor for ASPB’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.

Torii studies how plant cells interact to establish functional patterns during development. She was among the first to discover a role for receptor kinases in plant growth and development. Through the analysis of ERECTA-family receptor kinase mutants, Torii further revealed that this family of receptor kinases regulates patterning and differentiation of stomata, small pores on the plant surface for efficient gas exchange. She played a key role in further identification of peptide signaling ligands and 'master regulatory' transcription factors specifying stomatal development. She is now working across disciplines to understand the regulatory dynamics and signaling pathways that create stomatal patterns. Greater understanding of this process can help predict how plants will cope with changing climates, including droughts and other environmental challenges.

Each TAB article provides a scholarly and authoritative overview of the state of knowledge about the topic being covered, generally including hyperlinks to long-lived web resources to facilitate reader access to information about genes, datasets, and other key references.

Torii follows current editor Rob Last of Michigan State University.

 

Photo of Keiko Torii by Stephen Brashear/AP, © HHMI

 

CONTACT: Nancy Winchester, Director of Publications

nancyw@aspb.org, (301) 296-0904 (office)

 # # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

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American Society of Plant Biologists Honors Early Career Women Scientists with Travel Awards

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seven ASPB Women's Young Investigator Travel Award Winners Announced

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Each year the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) awards travel grants to early career women investigators through a competitive process to attend the Plant Biology Annual Meeting. The goal of the Women’s Young Investigator Travel Award (WYITA) program is to increase attendance of female investigators in their first five years as an independent scientist in academia, industry, or government at the annual meeting by providing travel funds. Selection is based first on the science and quality of the abstract submitted relative to the amount of time as a young investigator, second on a statement describing why travel should be supported, and third on financial need.

This year seven women were selected and each will receive a $1000 award to attend the Plant Biology Annual Meeting in Austin, TX. A list of recipients including their abstract titles follows.

 

Jane Geisler-Lee, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

"Phytotoxicity, Accumulation and Transport of Silver Nanoparticles by Arabidopsis thaliana

 

Susanne Hoffmann-Benning, Michigan State University

"New Aspects of Phloem-Mediated Long-Distance Lipid Signaling in Plants”

 

Yan Lu, Western Michigan University

”Novel Transcriptional Regulation of Biosynthesis of Aspartate-Derived Amino Acids”

 

Mautusi Mitra, University of West Georgia

"Employing Functional Genomics to Study the Regulation of Tetrapyrrole Metabolism in the Green Microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

 

Karolina Mukhtar, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Functions of Secretory Pathways and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Plant Immunity”

 

Allison Phillips, Wisconsin Lutheran College

"Analysis of stunter1, a Maize Mutant with Reduced Gametophyte Size and Maternal Effects on Seed Development”

 

Rebecca Silady, Southern Connecticut State University

"grv2, an Embryo Defective Mutant, Functions in the Late Endocytic Pathway”

 

Congratulations to each of the 2012 WYITA award winners.

# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

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Solved: The Mystery of the Blood Orange

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Friday, March 16, 2012

Solved: The Mystery of the Blood Orange

Cold induction of retroelement expression causes "blood” color

Blood oranges present both a culinary delicacy and a vexing agricultural and scientific mystery: strong "blood” color develops only if the plant is exposed to cold during fruit development or post-harvest. A study published in The Plant Cell solves this mystery, finding the locus responsible for color development and revealing its regulation.




Contacts:

Cathie Martin

cathie.martin@jic.ac.uk
John Innes Centre

Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK

Telephone: +44 1603 450275


Jennifer Mach

jmach@aspb.org

Science Editor, The Plant Cell

American Society of Plant Biologists

Telephone: 773-368-8021


Blood and blonde varieties of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis).The anthocyanin pigments that provide the "blood” color of blood oranges are not produced in significant amounts unless the fruit is exposed to cold conditions during its development or post-harvest. No cold exposure means poor anthocyanin production and the loss of the entire crop. This means that blood oranges can be grown in many areas of the world, but they are most likely to be exposed to the correct temperature conditions in only a few regions, including their major area of production in Sicily. Solving the mystery of why cold exposure causes anthocyanin production would benefit both agriculture and health; like many other anthocyanin-rich foods, blood oranges have notable human health benefits. Indeed, blood oranges have the healthful vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids of regular "blonde” oranges, with the added antioxidant punch provided by anthocyanins. However, unreliable production limits the availability and consumption of these delicacies.

Blood oranges arose as a mutation of sweet orange and were documented in Italy as early as the 1600s. In a study published in The Plant Cell, an international group coordinated by Cathie Martin of the John Innes Centre in the U.K. set out to determine why blood oranges develop anthocyanin pigments. This group found a transcriptional regulator gene, which they named Ruby; in blood oranges, Ruby increases the expression of anthocyanin-encoding genes. Indeed, when expressed in tobacco, Ruby produced red leaves by increasing anthocyanin. As one might expect, Ruby is expressed at high levels in blood oranges, and its expression correlates with the amount of anthocyanin present, with Ruby not expressed at all in blonde oranges.

Blood orange  Arancio di Malta Sanguigno by Francesco Cetti, 1818Examination of the sequence of Ruby in different varieties of Citrus, such as mandarins, pummelo, and sweet oranges, also allowed the scientific team to infer the lineage of different orange types and to determine the origin of the blood orange. All of the Citrus species examined contain homologs of Ruby (highly similar sequences), but some are non-functional sequences that can't be transcribed into proteins. For example, some types, such as mandarin, contain two non-functional variants of Ruby, indicating that they could not give rise to a "blood” variety. Differences in Ruby sequence between different varieties also provided lineage information that supported the long-standing idea that sweet orange arose as a hybrid between pummelo and mandarin. Blood oranges subsequently arose from an ancient sweet orange variety of Mediterranean origin, and there is evidence that one blood orange variety arose independently in China. The most interesting finding came from examination of the Ruby sequence in blood oranges, where a mobile genetic element called a retrotransposon was found to be inserted in the genome upstream of the Ruby protein coding sequences. This retrotransposon can be actively transcribed and, in blood oranges, its transcription induces Ruby gene expression. Because retrotransposons and other mobile genetic elements can wreak genomic havoc by inserting into essential genes, plants have evolved mechanisms to suppress mobile element transcription. However, this suppression can be released under stressful conditions, including cold. Thus the induction of retrotransposon transcription by cold in blood orange varieties also induces the expression of Ruby, which increases anthocyanin production and produces the blood color.

Finding the mechanism by which cold induces the deep color of blood oranges brings us closer to more reliable worldwide production of these healthful culinary delicacies. Indeed, the future holds many interesting possibilities for Citrus research, as Cathie Martin states: "Cold-independent blood oranges could be made by genetic engineering, which would allow blood orange production in the major growing areas of Florida and Brazil, to facilitate production of healthier orange juice.”

This research was supported by the EU FP6 FLORA project, the EU FP7 ATHENA collaborative project, the Biological and Biotechnological Science Research Council (UK), and the Agronanotech project, MIPAF.

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The research paper cited in this report is available at the following link:

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2012/03/14/tpc.111.095232.abstract

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Butelli, E., Licciardello, C., Zhang,Y., Liu, J., Mackay, S., Bailey, P., Reforgiato-Recupero, G., and Martin, C. (2012). Retrotransposons control fruit-specific, cold-dependent accumulation of anthocyanins in blood oranges. Plant Cell. 10.1105/tpc.111.095232.

The Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/) is published by the American Society of Plant Biologists. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/.

Figure credits: Zoe Dunford and Angie Walker (photograph of blood and blonde varieties), and Dr. Giuseppe Russo (photograph of Cetti drawing from Histoire Naturelle des Orangers, published in 1818 by P. A. Poiteau and J. A. Risso).

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Plant Physiology Names Michael Blatt as Next Editor

Posted By Kathy R. Munkvold, Thursday, January 05, 2012

University of Glasgow plant biologist will assume position in January 2013

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The American Society of Plant Biologists has appointed Michael R. Blatt, PhD, FRSE, as the next editor-in-chief of its primary research journal Plant Physiology.

Plant Physiology is a monthly, international, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the physiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, biophysics, and environmental biology of plants. It was founded in 1926 and has risen to become one of the world’s most prominent plant biology journals, with a five-year impact factor of 7.016. It is the most highly cited plant science journal, garnering nearly 56,000 citations in 2010.

Blatt is the Regius Professor of Botany and Head of Plant Sciences within the Institute of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology at the University of Glasgow. He is a Guggenheim fellow; a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy of sciences; and a fellow of the James Hutton Institute. He holds a dual BSc with honors in biochemistry and botany from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a PhD in biological sciences from Stanford University. He is currently a deputy chair of the editorial board of the Biochemical Journal, an editorial adviser for the Journal of Experimental Botany, and a member of the editorial panel for Frontiers in Plant Traffic and Transport.


Blatt is especially interested in continuing to develop the journal’s use of new technologies to ensure that it supports and embraces the way plant scientists work today. "I am convinced that Plant Physiology will strengthen its leading position in the field if it is able to take early advantage of the most far-reaching elements of online delivery,” he told the search committee in announcing his interest in the position.

"Mike brings energy and vision to the journal, and we are excited about the opportunities he brings to the journal for growth in new directions," says Sally Mackenzie, chair of the Editor Search Committee and the ASPB Publications Committee. ASPB President Steve Huber also expressed enthusiasm for Blatt’s selection, noting that "Mike brings strengths that will perpetuate Plant Physiology as a leading journal in the plant sciences in the years to come.”

Blatt will work closely with current chief editor Donald R. Ort, PhD, over the next year to ensure a smooth transition for the journal. Ort, who is plant physiologist and research leader with the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and Robert Emerson Professor in Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, has served as editor since 2005.

Additional information about Plant Physiology can be found at its website (www.plantphysiol.org), Facebook page (facebook.com/PlantPhysiology), and Twitter feed (twitter.com/PlantPhys).


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ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.

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Toward more cost-effective production of biofuels from plant lignocellulosic biomass

Posted By Adam Fagen, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE PLANT CELL
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLANT BIOLOGISTS

Contacts:


Toward more cost-effective production of biofuels from plant lignocellulosic biomass

Unraveling the mechanism of hemicellulose acetylation may lead to cheaper bioethanol 


In 1925, Henry Ford observed that fuel is present in all vegetative matter that can be fermented and predicted that Americans would some day grow their own fuel. Last year, global biofuel production reached 28 billion US gallons, and biofuel accounted for 2.7% of the world's transportation fuel. Bioethanol, a popular type of biofuel, is largely derived from sugary food crops such as corn and sugarcane. However, technologies are being developed to generate bioethanol from non-food sources, such as the lignocellulosics present in switchgrass and trees. The sugars locked in the polymers of cell walls, i.e., cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, can be extracted and fermented by yeast into bioethanol.

A major obstacle to this strategy is that most wall polysaccharides are O-acetylated (i.e., chemically bonded to acetate groups), and the acetate released from these molecules during processing inhibits the activity of the microbes that ferment sugars into alcohol. Based on techno-economical models, a 20% reduction in biomass acetylation is predicted to translate into a 10% reduction in bioethanol price. Thus, a major goal in the field of plant biofuel research is to diminish the O-acetate content in the cell walls of plants, possibly by blocking the enzymes that acetylate the cell wall polymers. However, little is known about the acetylation enzymes in plants.


Sascha Gille (left) and Markus Pauly (right), researchers at Berkeley’s Energy Bioscience Institute, are part of the team that identified a gene responsible for O-acetylation of a hemicellulose in Arabidopsis.
A team of researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California, Berkeley, set out to identify the enzymes that acetylate the polysaccharides that are present in lignocellulosic feedstocks. Their initial work focused on xyloglucan, a type of hemicellose that is abundant in plant cell walls. Using a mass spectrometric technique, the scientists isolated a mutant from amongst a mutagenized population of the model plant Arabidopsis (a member of the mustard and cabbage family) that exhibited a 20-45% reduction in xyloglucan O-acetylation. The researchers mapped the mutation to a physical location in the Arabidopsis genome, and named the gene locus ALTERED HEMICELLULOSE XYLOGLUCAN 4 (AXY4). Blocking the expression of AXY4 in Arabidopsis eliminates xyloglucan O-acetylation.

A natural variety of Arabidopsis growing in northern Scotland also has low levels of xyloglucan O-acetylation. Intriguingly, this variety was found to have a natural mutation in the same gene - AXY4. This finding demonstrates that lack of xyloglucan O-acetylation does not represent a selective disadvantage for the plant, and supports the feasibility of genetically blocking the expression of the protein that controls O-acetylation in plants destined for biofuel production.

"The identification of the first gene to encode a polysaccharide O-acetyltransferase opens the door for identifying similar genes in bioenergy crop feedstocks, such as miscanthus or other energy-grasses. These genes can be used as genetic markers to facilitate breeding programs that aim to generate biofuel feedstocks with reduced lignocellulosic acetate content," says Markus Pauly, a plant biologist at Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute.

This research was supported by the Energy Biosciences Institute and the Fred Dickinson endowment.

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The research paper cited in this report is available at the following link:



Citation:  Sascha Gille, Amancio de Souza, Guangyan Xiong, Monique Benz, Kun Cheng, Alex Schultink, Ida–Barbara Reca, and Markus Pauly.  2011.  O-Acetylation of Arabidopsis Hemicellulose Xyloglucan Requires AXY4 or AXY4L, Proteins with a TBL and DUF231 Domain.  The Plant Cell, November 2011, tpc.111.091728.


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The Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/) is published by the American Society of Plant Biologists. ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.


Figure credit: Markus Pauly

Restrictions: Use for noncommercial, educational purposes is granted without written permission. Please include a citation and acknowledge ASPB as copyright holder. For all other uses, contact diane@aspb.org.

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1,200 Speak Up for Federal Research Funding for Food and Agriculture

Posted By Adam Fagen, Tuesday, November 08, 2011

 

NEWS RELEASE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts

 


1,200 Speak Up for Federal Research Funding for Food and Agriculture


More than 1,200 individuals, companies, organizations, educational and research institutions, and other stakeholders have joined together to stress the vital importance of robust research funding for food and agriculture. This initiative represents one of the largest and most diverse efforts to speak up in support of science for food and agriculture.


The letter asks the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the "super committee”) to increase or at least maintain federal funding for research for food and agriculture as the committee develops overall budget proposals for the future. Recent studies have concluded that research funding for food and agriculture needs to be increased steadily and significantly if future challenges are to be met. For example, signatory Dana Peterson, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said that, "The super committee must maintain a long-term investment in the public agriculture research system if we are going to increase crop production to meet the demands of a growing, global population for nutritious food.”


The select committee is the bipartisan group charged with issuing a recommendation to Congress by the end of November 2011 to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.

 

The signatories come from all 50 states and represent many sectors—from small family farms to large multinational corporations, from individual academic departments to some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious educational institutions. Dr. Roger Beachy, former director of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, said that the extraordinarily broad range of interested parties emphasizes "the importance of U.S. agriculture remaining sustainable and internationally competitive into the future.”

 

The success of the agriculture and food industry plays a significant role in the overall health of the U.S. economy and has been one of the few bright spots in recent years. In 2010, U.S. farms and ranches spent $288 billion to produce goods valued at $369 billion; the value of U.S. food and agriculture exports is expected to be more than $140 billion in 2011, creating a record trade surplus of $42.5 billion for the sector. Furthermore, the jobs of 21 million Americans depend on the vitality of the U.S. agriculture and food sector.

 

Investments in publicly funded research are critical for maintaining a successful agriculture and food sector. For every $1 invested in publicly funded agricultural research, $20 in economic activity is generated. Although the private sector engages in its own research and development, it depends upon the results of foundational research provided by public support. According to signatory Michiel van Lookeran Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology, "Federally-funded research for food and agriculture has been a foundation on which technology innovators and growers in the U.S. have built the most competitive agricultural sector in the world. Syngenta invests about a $1 billion a year in R&D for agricultural innovation to help farmers improve productivity, and the sustainability of their business and the environment…. We translate the knowledge from public sector research in basic science and technology into new products and techniques for growers. Federal funding for this research is essential for U.S. competitiveness.”

 

As the letter concludes, "continued investment in science for food and agriculture is essential for maintaining the nation’s food, economic, and national security,” a statement that is endorsed by more than 1,200 individuals and organizations from across the United States.

 

The letter and list of signatories is available at <http://bit.ly/vOnFvh>.

 

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ASPB Supports Science Outreach by Grad Students and Postdocs

Posted By Adam Fagen, Friday, October 21, 2011

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News from ASPB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 21, 2011

CONTACT: Adam Fagen, Public Affairs Director

afagen@aspb.org, (301) 296-0898 (office)


ASPB Supports Science Outreach by Grad Students and Postdocs

12 plant scientists to join PlantingScience Master Plant Science Team


ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) has named 12 plant biology researchers as science education mentors for the PlantingScience Master Plant Science Team (MPST).

PlantingScience_logo.jpgPlantingScience is an educational and research resource that brings together middle and high school students, plant scientists, and teachers in a virtual learning environment. Students engage in hands-on plant investigations while working with peers at their schools and online with scientist mentors to build collaborations and enhance their understanding of plant science.

Members of the MPST are graduate students and postdoctoral researchers active in all areas of plant science research with an interest in participating in K–12 outreach. MPST mentors help middle and high school students and their classroom teachers to develop practical, insightful research skills while investigating the plant themes and teaching modules provided by the PlantingScience program.

More than 9,000 middle and high school students, 2,500 research teams, and teachers in 34 states have experienced the brand of scientific inquiry offered by PlantingScience. Unlike the repetitive lab exercises with predicted outcomes common in many classrooms and textbooks, PlantingScience offers the real world of ambiguity, messy data, and scientific creativity. In its first five years, the website welcomed 1.6 million visitors.

Since becoming an official partner in the PlantingScience project in 2006, ASPB has supported more than 30 early career plant scientists as MPST mentors. In fact, the Society has recently expanded its support, enabling ASPB to support a larger number of MPST mentors.

Congratulations to these 2011–2012 MPST mentors:

  • Veria Alvarado, Assistant Research Scientist, Texas A&M University
  • Shajahan Anver, Graduate Student, University of California, Davis
  • Elena J. Batista, Graduate Student, Louisiana State University
  • Nathan Butler, Graduate Student, Iowa State University
  • Erica A. Fishel, Graduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Emily Merewitz, Graduate Student, Rutgers University
  • Mona Monfared, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Berkeley / USDA Plant Gene Expression Center
  • Christos Noutsos, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Shayani Pieris, New Mexico Consortium
  • Marites Sales, Program Associate, University of Arkansas
  • Scott Schaeffer, Graduate Student, Washington State University
  • Mon-Ray Shao, Graduate Student, Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

This past spring, the journal Science selected PlantingScience to receive a Science Prize for Online Resources in Education, also known as a SPORE Award. The program was also honored with a 2011 Power of A Silver Award from the American Society of Association Executives.

PlantingScience represents a collaboration of 14 scientific societies with an interest in plant science with additional educational, user, and industry partners. Support for PlantingScience has been provided to the Botanical Society of America by the National Science Foundation and the Monsanto Fund.

Additional information about PlantingScience is available at http://www.plantingscience.org/.

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ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.


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ASPB Welcomes New Leaders for 2011–2012

Posted By Adam Fagen, Thursday, October 06, 2011

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News from ASPB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 6, 2011

CONTACT: Adam Fagen, Public Affairs Director

afagen@aspb.org, (301) 296-0898 (office)


ASPB Welcomes New Leaders for 2011–2012

Steve Huber of ARS and Illinois to serve as ASPB President


ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The changing of the leaves is not the only change this fall. The beginning of October also marks the start of new leadership terms at the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB).

Huber,Steve.jpg

Steven C. Huber (pictured), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist and professor of plant biology and crop sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will serve as ASPB president for the next year. He succeeds Nicholas C. Carpita, professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University, who will remain a member of ASPB’s Executive Committee as the immediate past president.

Huber’s laboratory focuses on the role of protein phosphorylation in enzyme regulation. This modification of metabolic enzymes is important for essential plant processes such as the synthesis and utilization of the sugar sucrose, nitrate assimilation, and the regulation of soybean seed composition. One concentration within the lab is on a set of proteins known as 14-3-3 proteins, which regulate the function of other proteins by binding to certain phosphorylated amino acids. These 14-3-3 proteins may alter the stability, location, activity, or conformation of associated proteins and also play a role in transmitting signals in most eukaryotic organisms. Another focus of the lab is on the specificity of protein kinases, which are proteins responsible for adding phosphate groups to target proteins and are critical in the regulation of those proteins.

At the University of Illinois, Huber teaches plant physiology and metabolism as well as a graduate-level course on plant proteomics. He also serves as faculty adviser of a new professional science master’s program in plant biology that blends science and research with business skills and real-world experiences.

Joining Huber in the ASPB leadership are several new members of the Society’s governing Executive Committee:

  • President-elect Peggy Lemaux, cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley;
  • Secretary Julia Bailey-Serres, professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Science and the Center for Plant Cell Biology at the University of California, Riverside;
  • Elected member Richard Vierstra, Stanley J. Peloquin Professor of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison;
  • Membership Committee chair David P. Horvath, research plant physiologist with the USDA-ARS Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit at the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, North Dakota;
  • Southern Section representative Kent D. Chapman, professor of biochemistry and director of the Center for Plant Lipid Research at the University of North Texas; and
  • Midwestern Section representative Sarah Wyatt, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University.

A complete list of ASPB’s Executive Committee is attached.


# # #

ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.




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Executive Committee

2011–2012


Officers and Elected Members

  • Steven C. Huber (President), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Peggy Lemaux (President-Elect), University of California, Berkeley
  • Nicholas C. Carpita (Immediate Past President), Purdue University
  • Julia Bailey-Serres (Secretary), University of California, Riverside
  • Jonathan D. Monroe (Treasurer), James Madison University
  • Gloria Muday (Elected Member), Wake Forest University
  • Marguerite J. Varagona (Elected Member), Monsanto Company
  • Richard Vierstra (Elected Member), University of Wisconsin–Madison

Committee Chairs

  • Erin Dolan (Chair, Education Committee), University of Georgia
  • Mary Lou Guerinot (Chair, Board of Trustees), Dartmouth College
  • David P. Horvath (Chair, Membership Committee), USDA-ARS
  • Leon V. Kochian (Chair, International Committee), USDA-ARS and Cornell University
  • Marta Laskoski (Chair, Women in Plant Biology Committee), Oberlin College
  • Sally A. Mackenzie (Chair, Publications Committee), University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Richard T. Sayre (Chair, Public Affairs Committee), New Mexico Consortium at Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • MariaElena B. Zavala (Chair, Minority Affairs Committee), California State University, Northridge
Section Representatives

  • Kent D. Chapman (Southern Section Representative), University of North Texas
  • Estelle M. Hrabak (Northeastern Section Representative), University of New Hampshire
  • Zhongchi Liu (Mid-Atlantic Section Representative), University of Maryland, College Park
  • David C. Logan (Western Section Representative), University of Saskatchewan
  • Sarah Wyatt (Midwestern Section Representative), Ohio University

Staff

  • Crispin Taylor, Executive Director

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USDA makes $40 million award to ASPB member to develop biofuels from sustainable lumber stocks

Posted By Adam Fagen, Tuesday, October 04, 2011

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News from ASPB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 4, 2011

CONTACT: Adam Fagen, Public Affairs Director

afagen@aspb.org, (301) 296-0898 (office)


USDA makes $40 million award to ASPB member to
develop biofuels from sustainable lumber stocks

Washington State’s Norman Lewis leads Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance


Norman LewisROCKVILLE, Md. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made two $40 million consortia grants to Washington State institutions to use sustainable woody biomass in the Pacific Northwest to produce biofuels for aviation and other petrochemical uses. One award, led by American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) member Norman Lewis (pictured) and Michael Wolcott of Washington State University, will support the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA is a collaborative effort among university, government, and industry scientists to seek to produce domestic aviation fuel using wood that is either developed for this purpose, typically burned in forests after harvest, removed during thinning to improve forest health, or ends up in landfills as waste from building demolitions and other sources.

At a press event announcing the grants at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said "I’d bet my life” on the growth of a tree-based biofuels industry. "This is an opportunity to create thousands of new jobs and drive economic development in rural communities across America by building the framework for a competitively priced, American-made biofuels industry,” he said. "Public–private partnerships like these will drive our nation to develop a national biofuels economy that continues to help us grow and out-compete the rest of the world while moving our nation toward a clean energy economy.”

One aspect of the award in support of NARA that has particular relevance to plant biology is the alliance’s intention to utilize the most recent technologies and scientific approaches to help overcome long-standing issues in using woody biomass for biofuels production. NARA’s approach, in part, will use the most advanced genomic technologies, as well as phenomics, to identify the most promising sources of biofuels from tree lines that are currently available (e.g., Douglas fir, western hemlock, poplar, and red alder). The five-year award has four main deliverable components: feedstock development, sustainable feedstock production, logistics, and conversion and refining to reach these goals.

In addition, a significant effort will be made to learn how to break down lignin more effectively. As one of the major components of wood, lignin acts as glue that holds together the components of plant cell walls and provides wood with its strength. However, lignin is difficult to break down and reduces the bioavailability of other cell wall components, resulting in a technical barrier to the use of woody materials in biofuel production.

"We believe we can begin to resolve the issues that have prevented wood-based biofuels and other petrochemical substitutes from being economically viable with some new strategies and the diversity of skills represented on the NARA team,” said Lewis. "If we are successful, the potential to begin to replace the natural resources jobs lost in the region over the past several years is very high.”

A second $40 million grant will go to the University of Washington to focus on utilizing poplar trees as a source material for sustainable biofuel production, since the trees are fast growing and can be harvested within a few years.

Lewis is Regents Professor and director of Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry and a member of Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters. He currently serves on ASPB’s Public Affairs Committee and formerly was a monitoring editor for Plant Physiology.

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ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.


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