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iPlant Kickoff Conference at CSHL begins tackling plant biology's grand challenges
Date:4/4/2008

e plants affect every aspect of our lives. Everythings connected, he explains. As our climate and environment change we need to have a deep understanding of the biology of plants from the molecular to the ecosystem level in order to understand and mitigate the problems that will arise to adapt as best we can and to focus our efforts on saving the organisms and ecosystems that are most important to save.

"Biology has become an information science," says Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researcher Lincoln Stein, Ph.D., a co-principal investigator on the project. "However, many in the plant research community lack the computational skills and tools [needed] to take full advantage of the wealth of information that is out there. The iPlant cyberinfrastructure seeks to level the playing field by making sophisticated databases, modeling tools and visualization systems available to everyone."

The conference will be webcast live to allow researchers to participate actively in the conference from anywhere in the country or the world. Up to three simultaneous live feeds are anticipated to be webcast from the Laboratory, with moderators on hand to field questions and discussion from remote attendees.

The conference will also address iPlant's commitment to reaching out to K-12, undergraduate and graduate students at a session on training the next generation of scientists in computational thinking. Ultimately, students, teachers and the public will all have access to iPlants resources and data, as well as to educational tools designed to help them understand that data and develop inquiry-based learning modules. iPlant offers an unprecedented opportunity to involve teachers and students in leading-edge biology, explains iPlant investigator Vicki Chandler, Ph.D., director of the University of Arizonas BIO5 Institute.

With plant genome sequences freely available online, this is the first time in the history of biology that students can potentially
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Contact: Jim Bono
bono@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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