Digital Dispatch, Day 3 #plantbio16

There’s a lot of Twitter activity at Plant Biology this year (#plantbio16), but that’s a good thing even if it interrupts Twitter:

Day 3 of Plant Biology started with the major symposia on insights from large scale biology.

Siobhan Brady started things off with a talk on transcriptional network’s role in plant metabolism. She went through 3 examples of metabolism, specialized and general showing different ways transcription factors regulate:

The session was rounded out with talks from Zoran Nikolski who spoke about insights from integrating various large datasets including transcriptomes, proteomes, and metabolomes.

Seung Yon Rhee focused on metabolic gene clusters in her talk, with metabolic genes tending to occur in conserved clusters in plants:

Blake Myers ended the session with his talk on large scale analyses of small RNAs in grasses.

There was a lot of activity at Plant Biology, including recording more How Plant Scientists Work videos and a Wikipedia edit-a-thon focused particularly on creating Wikipedia pages for the currently underrepresented female plant scientists on the site (true of female scientists generally as well).

Sally Rockey from the NIH talked about the current science funding environment.

One of the key takeaways from Plant Biology this year is just how much large scale data analyses are now standard tools in plant biology. As speaker Steven Grace put it:

There was also a discussion of many aspects of publication from preprint servers, to what model of peer review is best (blind, double blind, open), how people find papers now, and ethics of data handling. Publication is changing and as I chatted about the the Plant Cell Editors (@PlantEditors), paper discovery is hard and figuring out the “least publishable unit” is important. And of course, blogs like this as well as other science bloggers and writers and Twitter, can help get papers more widely shared.

There was a lot of science shared at the minisymposia and there’s not space for it all here, you can find the day’s tweets in the storify for day 3 here. Bethany Huot also storified the first few days of the conference here.

Bethany Huot is someone who really likes community and has been diligently working to build that here, talking with David Stern, the president of The Boyce Thompson Institute on graduate education reform (postdoc training too):

She also wrote more about the idea on the ASPB blog yesterday. It’s worth the read.

There was also an opportunity to sit down with Small World Labs, the company that provides the platform that drives, the new digital platform for plant scientists. There was a good discussion about new functionality plant scientists would like to see, including a great idea to be able to upload and annotate papers/manuscripts so a group can provide feedback in text, not just comment via discussion thread. Plantae also will continue to improve. They showed off a few new features including the new responsive platform (dynamic resizing) so Plantae will look appropriate on any device’s screen very soon.

On Day 3, it was clear to your correspondent that the plant science community is genuinely that. And one full of exciting ideas that will end up impacting the world.

Leave a Comment