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

Using Narrative for Outreach (Part 2/2)

By Dana D’Amico In my last entry, I left off with discussion of the difficulties scientists face in establishing public trust, particularly when it comes to contentious issues like GM food safety. I suggested experimenting with methods of communication that emphasize common values and experiences alongside factual evidence. Today I’ll explore how the narrative, or … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Carrie, Tyerman, Welti, and Yamaji

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors Series. Chris Carrie The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Chris Carrie received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Australia in 2005. He then went on to obtain his PhD in 2011 working at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Biology located at the University … Read more

Creating a Pipeline for Food & Ag Careers Starts in Elementary School

Re-posted with permission from Robin Habeger’s blog A strong food and agricultural science education system is important for many reasons. The current release of the AGree paper titled Food and Agricultural Education in the United States highlights the need for parents, educators and policy makers to advocate for the inclusion of food and agricultural science … Read more

Lights, camera, action! Prepare for a botanist to take center stage!

“The Martian” opens October 2. Why should you care? Because it is one of the most-anticipated movies of the year and it features a botanist, played by Matt Damon, in the lead role. Here’s the trailer. Botanists have appeared in big films previously; Laura Dern’s character in Jurassic Park (1993) was a paleobotanist, which is … Read more

Evolution and function of strigolactone / karrikin receptors

Karrikins are small molecules found in smoke that promote seed germination and have been associated with the activation of seeds following fire (Nelson et al., 2012). Strigolactones are structurally similar small molecules that act as endogenous hormones and as secreted signals that promote the germination of parasitic plants and branching responses in mycrorrhizal fungi (Brewer … Read more

The Question of Public Trust in Plant Science Outreach

By Dana D’Amico Part 1/2 Last year, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), a non-profit working to facilitate public confidence in the US food system, conducted a consumer survey. The survey focused on a few key groups –mothers, foodies, and millennials –and aimed to examine ‘messenger trust’ related to issues like GM safety. Before any … Read more

Recognizing pathogens, and recognizing errors

This week’s Research in Focus article has two take-home messages. The first is about how an important plant pathogen is recognized by its host: specifically, the role of a newly-identified tyrosine-sulfated bacterial protein. The second is about the process of science and the foundation of trust on which it rests: specifically, how to proceed when … Read more

How to Be an Ally to Professional Communicators: Working with Journalists

By Dana D’Amico In my last post, I introduced a few ways that the plant science community might look to storytelling and literature for outreach. Here, I’ll present some practical tips for working with science writers, as corroborated by working journalists at the Plant Biology 2015 “Standing Up For Science” workshop in Minneapolis (and for … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Xing Wang Deng, Christine Beveridge, and Nicolas Taylor

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Xing Wang Deng The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Xing Wang Deng is a university endowed professor of plant biology at Peking University. He graduated from Peking University in 1985 with an MS degree and then from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 with a … Read more

Federal Programs to Support Early Career Faculty

In an increasingly competitive environment to earn federal grants, opportunities exist to help researchers at the beginning of their careers. The following report contains an overview of federal government funding opportunities and fellowship programs that provide support for early career researchers working at universities or other non-government institutions. Some programs provide support for early career … Read more

New feature, “Plants in the News”

We’re starting a new weekly feature, “Plants in the News”. This feature is inspired by the This Week in Chemistry series published by Compound Interest (Andy Brunning). The goal is to support teaching and outreach by highlighting a few current news stories that feature plants and plant science. If you have a timely suggestion for … Read more

Communicating Plant Biology

After four long days at a conference, all you want to do is board a flight home, crawl into bed, and try to forget how your boss saw you dancing at the open-bar party. But on July 30, 2015, a dedicated group of scientists and communicators rallied at the end of Plant Biology 2015 conference … Read more

ASPB’s Newest Education & Outreach Partner: the Wiki Education Foundation

  The debut of Wiki Edu’s new course design tools  at Plant Biology 2015.   Wiki Ed has been eager to show off the course design and monitoring tools that we launched last month. We had our first chance to do so in late July, when Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and I attended the American … Read more

Identification of inositol pyrophosphates and their functions in plants

Inositol phosphates are a family of small molecules in which one to eight phosphates are attached to an inositol ring. The number and positions of phosphates determine the molecules’ properties, which range from phosphate storage to vesicle trafficking, energy signaling and metabolism. Inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6, also known as phytate) has a phosphate group attached to … Read more