Best of Plants 2015: Headline makers

BREAKTHROUGHS AND EVENTS CRISPR Science magazine named CRISPR the 2015 breakthrough of the year. Although the application of CRISPR-mediated genome editing in plants dates back a few years, the rate of its use has been growing rapidly. Searching PubMed for CRISPR shows an exponential growth in citation numbers. There’s no doubt that this technology provides … Read more

Best of Plants 2015: Outreach and Communication

The Martian I don’t know if the book/film The Martian will have a lasting impact on plant science, but it certainly added some thrills to the plant scientists’ year. The story features a space-stranded botanist (although some argue he should have been described as a horticulturalist) who had to grow plants to feed himself until … 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

Plants in the news 18 December 2015: The Paris Climate Talks (COP21)

COP21 was the 21st session of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Its goal, which it achieved, was to get governments to agree to cut carbon emissions in order to limit global temperature rise. A resolution was passed, in which the 195 countries present agreed on the … 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

New in Plant Physiology: Ovary Abortion Under Drought Stress

This Research in Focus is written by science writer Peter Minorsky (ASPB and Mercy College) who writes the monthly On the Inside column for Plant Physiology. This summary describes a paper available online now for publication in the February 2016 issue. Grain abortion enables a few viable seeds to complete development under drought conditions, but … Read more

Recognizing Our Authors: Saito, AbuQamar, Ralph, and Zhong

This post is part of the Recognizing our Authors series. Kazuki Saito The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology Kazuki Saito is deputy director of the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, where he is also group director of the Metabolomics Research Group. He is also a professor in the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Chiba University. As … Read more

Undergraduate Science Writing Impact: Why & How with Wiki Edu

Early in 2015, ASPB established a partnership with Wiki Edu. This post features some simple, yet critical details for understanding and using Wiki Edu to help your students think and write more effectively about plant science. The insights shared here come from  Barbara Alonso (photo), Lab Manager for the Lemaux Lab at University of California-Berkeley. … 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

Chestnuts featured in #AdventBotany

Last year, Alastair Culham (@BotanyRNG) and Jonathan Mitchley (@Drmgoewild) from the University of Reading teamed up to create a series of blog posts called Advent Botany (advent is the season leading up to Christmas and is traditionally a period of waiting or counting days).  This year Advent Botany 2015 features guest contributions. Today’s post, written … Read more

ASPB Partner, Wiki Edu, offers new handbook for writing species articles

ASPB maintains an active partnership with Wiki Edu in order to expand the quality, depth and breadth or plant science information on Wikipedia. An equally critical goal is to mentor undergraduates to use real-life publication opportunities for their science writing skills. Here is another exciting tool for supporting these goals: The Wikipedia Year of Science … 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

Professional Development: Effective Teaching Strategies for College Biology

Are you a current or soon-to-be biology instructor seeking professional development to engage your students and increase their understanding and appreciation of the life sciences? Consider Effective Teaching Strategies for College Biology, a new online course for you to explore and practice effective teaching strategies for undergraduate biology that engage students and improve learning outcomes. … 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, 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