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ASPB engages Latin America colleagues at Annual Meeting in Merida, Mexico June 22-25

The Joint Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and the Sociedad Mexicana De Bioquimica Rama: Bioquimica y Biologia Molecular de Plantas will be held June 2225, 2008 in the Fiesta Americana Hotel in Merida, Mexico.

A major theme of this year's annual meeting is the biology and agriculture of plant species that originated in the America's. Presentations will also focus on the international collaborations to study and improve these crops for example, maize, tomato, potato, and tropical species. This year represents an effort on the part of ASPB to reach out and engage our Latin American members and colleagues, noted Dr. Danny Schnell, Professor and Head, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts. Schnell chairs the ASPB Program Committee that has collaborated with scientists in Mexico in planning this annual meeting.

Scientists will present their findings on leading research at six major symposia, many mini-symposia and several workshops. Following is information on the major symposia:

Symposium I: Opening Symposium - 2007 Charles Albert Shull Awardee: Samuel C. Zeeman, ETH Zurich, Switzerland What plants do in the dark: the conversion of transitory starch into sucrose in leaves. 2007 Stephen Hales Prize Winner: Sarah Hake, Plant Gene Expression Center A genetic approach to plant morphology.

Symposium II: Maize Biology Sponsored by Monsanto - Organizers: Sarah Hake and Jean Phillipe Vielle Calzada. John Jones The origins and early dispersal of Maize: The Palynological and Archaeological Evidence. Vicki Chandler Epigenetic Silencing Across Generations. Erik Vollbrecht The maize inflorescence: development, domestication and insights into grass evolution. Jean Phillipe Vielle Calzada The Codifying Genome of the Palomero Mexican landrace.

Symposium III: Biology of Tomato & Solanaceous Species - Organizers: Lukas Mueller and Lus (Stella) Barrero. Roland Schafleitner, CIP, Peru A genomics approach to identify drought resistance traits of potato. Fernando Carrari, Argentina or Magdalenda Rossi, Brasil LAT-SOL, Argentina Development of rapid strategies for testing of candidate Solanaceae QTLs . Luz Stella Barrero, Corpioca, Colombia Application of genomics tools - case study: tomato Solanaceae. Felipe Cruz, Mexico Synthesis and transfer to the stigmatic surface of NaStEP, a vacuolar Kunitz proteinase inhibitor homolog and its role in pollen rejection in Nicotiana. Esther Van Der Knaap, Ohio State University, USA - Underlying mechanisms of diversity in tomato fruit morphology.

Symposium IV: Martin Gibbs Medal Symposium - Organizer: Richard A. Jorgensen. Sue Rhee Discovering new enzymes by combining computational and metabolomic approaches in Arabidopsis and translating metabolic network knowledge from model to crop plants. Rodrigo Gutierrez VirtualPlant: A software platform to support Systems Biology research in the post-genomic era. Eric Kramer Models of auxin transport and action: from Arabidopsis to Populus. Richard A. Jorgensen The iPlant Collaborative: A Cyberinfrastructure-Centered Community for a New Plant Biology.

Symposium V: Tropical Agriculture - Organizer: Dr. Richard Sayre & Dr. Miguel A. Gomez-Lim. Dr. Richard Sayre Biofortification of cassava to alleviate malnutrition; the biocassava plus program. Dr. Miguel A. Gomez-Lim Genetic transformation of tropical plant species. Dr. Marcos Buckeridge A novel alpha-galactosidase from coffee is likely to control mannan fine structure in developing seeds.Justin Maresh Alkaloid biosynthesis in Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)

Symposium VI: President's Symposium - Organizer: C. Robertson McClung, Dartmouth College. C. Robertson McClung Timing is Everything. Edgar Spalding Seedling establishment seen through the eyes of a computer. Scott Poethig Turning over a new leaf: the regulation of vegetative phase change in Arabidopsis. Annie Schmitt Arabidopsis in the real world: flowering time pathways in natural environments across the species climatic range.

Perspectives of Science Leaders presenter will be Luis Herrera-Estrella, Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Department of Plant Genetic Engineering, Irapuato, Mexico. His talk will be on Transgenic plants in a center of plant diversity, friends or enemies? Dr. Estrella will receive the ASPB 2008 Leadership in Science Public Service Award during the program. The award recognizes his outstanding contributions to science and society.

A minisymposium on education outreach will be chaired by Jane Ellis. An education workshop on Evaluation, assessment and research in life science education: What, How and Why? will be coordinated by Erin Dolan.


Contact: Brian Hyps
American Society of Plant Biologists

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