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 moreUsing Narrative for Outreach (Part 2/2)

Plants in the News, August 28 2015

Welcome to Episode 3 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 morePlants in the News, August 28 2015

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

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 moreEvolution and function of strigolactone / karrikin receptors

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 moreThe Question of Public Trust in Plant Science Outreach

Plants in the News, August 21 2015

Welcome to Episode 2 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 morePlants in the News, August 21 2015

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 moreRecognizing pathogens, and recognizing errors

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

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 moreNew feature, “Plants in the News”

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 moreIdentification of inositol pyrophosphates and their functions in plants

Conference Tweeting for Plant Scientists Part 1: Twitter basics

Twitter is quickly becoming the platform of choice for connections and communications at scientific conferences and beyond. The current culture of science, which values openness, accessibility and broad participation, is enhanced by the barrier-free Twitter environment; everyone has an equal right to participate in Twitter conversations. At several conferences this summer I’ve been asked for … Read moreConference Tweeting for Plant Scientists Part 1: Twitter basics

Conference Tweeting. Part 2: Getting the most out of conference tweeting

New to Twitter? Start with Part 1: Twitter Basics Why do people Tweet from talks and conferences? One of the main reasons is to broaden access to science beyond those able to attend a conference, benefitting the science, the speakers, and the off-site participants. Science is moving towards a more open, democratic culture, with Twitter … Read moreConference Tweeting. Part 2: Getting the most out of conference tweeting

Winning entries of the April 2015 “Teaching Tools Proposal” competition

Earlier this year we announced a competition for proposals for the “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” series of educational articles published by The Plant Cell. We had many excellent proposals submitted from which we selected three for further development. Sound intriguing? The competition has additional submission deadlines of August 31 and December 31 2015, and … Read moreWinning entries of the April 2015 “Teaching Tools Proposal” competition

Teaching Tools tackles Micronutrients and Metals

The latest Teaching Tool in Plant Biology explores the theme of “Micronutrients and Metals”. By definition, the micronutrients (Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Ni, B, Si and Cl) are essential for plant life, and most are also essential for human and other animal life. About a quarter of cellular proteins are metalloproteins that associate tightly … Read moreTeaching Tools tackles Micronutrients and Metals

Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS): Seven universities, one graduate school

By Hanna Rovenich and Setareh Mohammadin of the EPS PhD council. Benefits of a Netherlands-wide multi-university graduate school The interuniversity Graduate School ‘Experimental Plant Sciences‘ (EPS) trains over 300 PhD candidates at any given time across seven different universities including Wageningen University, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Free University of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Leiden … Read moreExperimental Plant Sciences (EPS): Seven universities, one graduate school

Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (F1000Research article)

We’ve now been publishing “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” for five years, and it’s clear that this feature of The Plant Cell is being used across the world; the articles are regularly accessed from sites in more than 100 countries (the figure shows 2014 country distribution). We recently ran a survey to find out how … Read moreDigital teaching tools and global learning communities (F1000Research article)

Share your enthusiasm! Teaching Tools submission competition

For years we’ve been asking people how they define a great teacher. One trait that repeatedly comes up is “enthusiasm.” Nobody enthuses about plants better than plant scientists, so we’re offering you a chance to “share your enthusiasm”. Have you got a passion for plant science? Do you have a favorite paper, experiment, topic, or … Read moreShare your enthusiasm! Teaching Tools submission competition

From chemistry to current events: The six macronutrients that make up a plant (N, P, K, Mg, S & Ca)

In the second of three Teaching Tools in Plant Biology spanning the topic of Plant Nutrition, we examine how macronutrients affect plant growth. Specifically, we look at (1) the availability of nutrients in the soil along with the effects of soil microbes and physical properties on their availability; (2) nutrient uptake from the external environment, … Read moreFrom chemistry to current events: The six macronutrients that make up a plant (N, P, K, Mg, S & Ca)

How UC postdocs benefit from building their own union! (Who’s next?)

By Benjamin Schwessinger with figures by Kelsey Wood (This is a guest blog post; the opinions do not necessarily represent those of ASPB.) It can be pretty scary starting your postdoc. Suddenly, you are not a student anymore. You are on your own. You need to figure it all by yourself. This is especially true … Read moreHow UC postdocs benefit from building their own union! (Who’s next?)