Optimizing Crops for Biocontrol of Pests and Disease

This week we feature an article published by Stenberg et al in Trends in Plant Science that describes the potential benefits of optimizing crops for biocontrol of pests. It is difficult to estimate the true costs of herbivore damage to crop plants, but it is clearly in the billions of dollars; much more when pesticide … Read more

Process Labeling of Food & Role of Scientific Engagement in Public Dialog on Food Science Seminar – Monday October 5th

ASPB is a co-sponsor of this seminar: Process food labeling, the role of social media in communicating about genetic engineering and implications for agricultural producers and consumers will be addressed at National C-FAR’s research seminar on Monday, October 5, offered at 10 a.m. in 328A Russell Senate Office Building and again at noon in 1300 … Read more

Plants in the News, 2 October: Cannabis, entry point to plant science or plant-that-must-not-be-named?

  This week, Nature published an excellent Outlook on cannabis science and policy. How do you feel about cannabis as a topic of discussion in the classroom? I’ve tended to shy away from it – in my experience the benefit of increased interest can be outweighed by the distraction of giggles and jokes. However, this … Read more

Recognizing our “first authors” September 2015

Recognizing our Authors is a regular blog series that profiles ASPB’s most highly cited authors. Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here we present the first-author profiles from September’s issue of The Plant Cell. Jonathan Flowers, featured author of Whole-Genome Resequencing Reveals Extensive Natural … Read more

When a Tree Falls in the Woods: The Gravitropic Response in Poplar

This week’s Research in Focus is reprinted from an In Brief published by Science Editor Nancy Hofmann in The Plant Cell, which summarizes an article newly published by Gerttula et al. This study examines the formation of tension wood, a specialized tissue that forms on the upper side of a fallen woody angiosperm stem that … Read more

Countdown to The Martian

I’m excited to see so many people writing about The Botanist .. er The Martian, including: Alun Salt in AoB Blog (Incidently, Alun wrote about the book back in 2014, inspring me and others to read it), Adam Rutherford in the Guardian, and Chris Martine in HuffPost (who, very coolly, just named a new species … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Hwang, Gilliham, Zanetti, and Leister

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Inhwan Hwang The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Inhwan Hwang received his BS and MS degrees from the Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, in 1977–1981 and 1981–1983, respectively, and his PhD degree (molecular biology, adviser: Chi-Bom Chae) from the Department of Biochemistry University of North … Read more

Plants in the News, Sept 25 2015: Wheat

In honor of the International Wheat Conference 2015 (#IWC2015), this week’s Plants in the News focuses on wheat. For an overview, one of the best sources of information about wheat science is Peter Shewry’s Darwin Review, simply titled “Wheat”; see also an excellent perspective in the Economist. Global wheat production Wheat provides 20% of global … Read more

President’s Letter: What’s Cooking

We plant biologists live in exciting times, in terms of both scientific advances and the relevance of our collective research. Your professional organization, ASPB, is working hard to ensure that we all can stay productive and effective in our endeavors. Having returned home from Plant Biology 2015 in Minneapolis, and as my year as president … Read more

“From atom to planet in 90 seconds”: my experience and tips from the ‘Discover Plant Science’ micro-film

Mary Williams spoke about the potential for plant science outreach films in a recent blog post. In this blog post, I’ll share my own experience in commissioning a 90-second film for www.intobiology.org.uk. “For biology, it has to be visual,” Katie said. A 17 year old who’d left behind her old friends to transfer to a … Read more

Everyone is Biased and Conflicted, Now What?

Critical discussion and debate is a powerful tool for honing scientific ideas and developing public policy.  Intellectual disagreements can be constructive even when people have starkly contrasting views.  However, too often in our internet and social media-fueled age, honest disagreements degrade into name calling, ad hominem attacks, threats and bullying.  When that happens, people are … Read more

“The Birth of a Black Rice Gene”: Empirical evidence for Emperor’s Rice

This week we feature an article that will be interesting to different people for different reasons. The main thrust is to uncover the genetic basis for the black rice trait, which the authors trace through an elegant and comprehensive analysis and by sidestepping a few red herrings. For those who are engaged by the broader … Read more

New ways of seeing: writing creatively about your research

By Dana D’Amico When I think about the purpose of science communication, I often think of outreach and education –persuading members of the community to take a particular stance on issues of public health, climate change, policy, etc. But there is also communication meant simply for thoughtful immersion, for making meaningful connections across planes of … Read more

Plants in the News, September 11 2015

This week’s episode has the theme of “Videos”. There are not enough good videos about plant science, but there’s a lot of talent out there, how about making an engaging video as your outreach project for the year? To get you started, here’s a video from the Eden Channel about how to make a great … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Van Aken, Foresi, Leon-Reyes, and Ljung

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Olivier Van Aken The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Olivier Van Aken obtained his PhD at Ghent University (Belgium) in the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB, Plant Systems Biology). He then moved to the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of … Read more

Plants in the News, September 4 2015

Welcome to Episode 4 of our weekly feature, Plants in the News. These stories are selected to provide educators with interesting and accessible news from the world of plant science. Although some of the stories we feature are based on articles with restricted access, we also provide links to news summaries that are available without … Read more

My introduction to Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) ~ thanks to Master Educator Program

Engaging through POGIL – I had the opportunity thanks to the ASPB Master Educator Program to attend my first POGIL workshop (https://pogil.org/) in June of this year, accompanied by three of my Alfred University Biology colleagues. Our curriculum is in the process of revision to meet Vision and Change and the ASPB Core Concepts in … Read more

CRISPR here, CRISPR there, CRISPR CRISPR everywhere

Scientists have long dreamed of the ability to make targeted genomic changes: precise and specific alterations in an organism’s DNA to affect its phenotype. Recently, this dream has become a reality through the discovery and engineering of nucleases that can be targeted to precise genomic locations. Double-strand breaks produced by targeted nucleases can induce mutations … Read more