Ride the SURF: Tips and advice on applying for the ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Insight from a 2015 SURF Fellow The ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a spectacular opportunity to embark on an independent project over the summer, earn money, present your research, and expand your resume. Applying to nationally competitive fellowships is a daunting task. Only 15 students are awarded the SURF (10 from doctoral granting … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, January 2016

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from December’s issue of The Plant Cell. Jeffrey P. Simpson, featured first author of A novel pathway for triacylglycerol biosynthesis is responsible for the accumulation of massive quantities of glycerolipids in the surface … Read more

Ring in the New Year with the GE Crops Study!

The Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects Committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will release its report in 2016! The committee held 18 information-gathering sessions on a variety of topics, including genetically engineered quality traits. Check out the brief presentation below to learn the basics of quality traits and … Read more

“Characterization of parasitic plant mutants”, accessible research for undergraduate readers

Learning to read a scientific paper is an important skill for undergraduate students to acquire, but selecting a suitable paper to read with undergraduates can be challenging (see this for example). The chosen research article should be accessible (meaning not too much specialized terminology or methodology), interesting, and meaningful. A new Plant Physiology paper by … Read more

Analysis of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates LLC December 17, 2015 This week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees concluded negotiations on an omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2029) to fund federal government agencies for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2016. The final bill provides significant increases to federal investments in research, education, and healthcare programs important to … Read more

Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Annual Meeting Summary

I am your ASPB representative on CAST.  CAST is the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and is a non-profit organization composed of scientific societies, many individuals, students, companies, nonprofits, and associate scientific and industry society members.  The primary work of CAST is to organize scientists to write papers on different important topics. CAST assembles, … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, December 2015

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from December’s issue of The Plant Cell. Hyo-Jun Lee, featured first author of Systemic Immunity Requires SnRK2.8-Mediated Nuclear Import of NPR1 in Arabidopsis Current Position: Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, … Read more

Name calling in science is serious sustainability stuff

Is a botanist by any other name more poised to save the world? The names of scientific disciplines aren’t your forebears’ academia, and those changes signal necessary shifts in how research is done. Recently, environmental scientist Malcolm McCallum publicly mused on an online ecology discussion site about academia’s shift from old-school names for fields of … Read more

Newest Teaching Tool: Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis

We’re delighted to announce that the latest Teaching Tool in Plant Biology article “Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis” is published. This article was written by me (Mary Williams), as well Ru Zhong (Carnegie Institute of Science) and Johnna Roose (Louisiana State University). Ru and Johnna are both educators and researchers who specialize in the study of … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, November 2015

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from November’s issue of The Plant Cell. Sascha Venturelli, featured co-first author of Plants Release Precursors of Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors to Suppress Growth of Competitors Current Position: Senior researcher at the Department of … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Usadel, Aharoni, Fukao, and Sumner

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Björn Usadel The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Björn Usadel studied biochemistry in Berlin and New York. He went on to pursue a PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and Potsdam University with Markus Pauly. Afterward he worked with Mark Stitt on … Read more

Dealing with arsenic – an investigation with undergraduates

Guest post from Sonja Dunbar, PhD student at the University of Cambridge Plants need nutrients and they have a lot of different ways to acquire them from the soil, as the 2nd year undergraduate students I teach at the University of Cambridge recently discovered in lectures. One thing our lecture courses try to emphasise at … Read more

The PRL’s Golden Anniversary: 50 Years of Plant Science Exploration and Discovery

The PRL’s Golden Anniversary: 50 Years of Plant Science Exploration and Discovery Imagine a Gordon Conference crossed with a family reunion and you will have a pretty good idea of what it was like at the recent 50th year anniversary celebration of the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Energy (DOE)-funded Plant Research Laboratory (PRL).  … Read more

Student Research: Fall 2015 Update

ASPB collaborates with www.PlantingScience.org, a learning community where scientists provide online mentoring to student teams in middle school through undergraduate settings so students can design and think through their own inquiry projects. Scroll to the end of this post for an impressive list of who is doing what. The fall 2015 online meeting space was … Read more

Plants in the News: Help us identify 2015’s Plant Science Highlights

Normally, our Friday posts highlight plants featured in the news over the past week, but this week we take a short break to make an appeal for your thoughts on the most notable and newsworthy plant-related events, resources, breakthroughs and headline makers of the past year. Here are the stories we featured last year as … Read more

Meet the litter trappers

Plants that do the unexpected or that don’t conform to stereotype command attention and serve as portals to the diversity of the plant kingdom. Litter-trapping plants have an unusual and interesting strategy for obtaining nutrients. Zona and Christenhusz (2015), writing in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, describe plants that have evolved specialized adaptations … Read more

Metabolism: The final frontier

Metabolism is a widely-used term. It is used colloquially, as in, “My metabolism slowed down once I hit 40,” a usage that considers metabolism as a black box and focuses on its energetic inputs and outputs. Or, there’s the single-reaction view of metabolism, as in, “He doesn’t metabolize alcohol very well.” This view underpins the … Read more

Petition: Scientists in Support of GMO Technology for Crop Improvement

Dear  Colleagues, As you know, there is substantial fear of GMO technology both within commercial and public spheres. Recently, companies like Chipotle and initiatives such as the Non-GMO Project (representing over 4,500 non-GMO brands) have cited a petition of 300 scientists that claim there is no consensus regarding the scientific safety of GMOs. A group of scientists and myself have organized a petition … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Casal, Ori, Gruissem, and Bressan

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Jorge Casal The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Jorge Casal undertook his early studies at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), where he completed his MSc in 1987, before moving to the University of Leicester (UK) where he completed his PhD in 1989. He is now professor at UBA, … Read more

Industrial chemistry, prepare to be biohacked*

*Note that we use the term biohacking as it has been used since 1988 to refer to DIY biology (Strange, 1988). More recently biohacking has been used also to refer to strategies to enhance the human body through wearable technology and nutritional supplements. Imagine a typical industrial process – say the production of gasoline or … Read more