ASPB President’s Update: Your Perspective Matters!

Dear ASPB members, My efforts in the past eight months have been focused on understanding the many people involved in carrying out the ASPB mission and looking for ways to build connections and remove barriers to inclusion. ASPB unites us as a community of people who support the growth and development of the field of … Read more

President’s Letter—The New Normal

The “New normal” was a term that arose during the 2007–2008 financial setbacks, and it has been used periodically since then. Again apropos, the term has emerged recently in the popular press. This new normal has its own vocabulary: social distancing, flattening the curve, N95 masks, Zoom and Zoombombing, and others. Many of you are … Read more

President’s Letter – The Transparency Project: Episode 2

Continuing our transparency project, in this President’s Letter I discuss a proposal for a new name and mission statement for one of our standing committees, the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC), and highlight the activities of another standing committee, the Women in Plant Biology (WIPB) Committee. Minority Affairs Committee Our standing committees work hard to identify … Read more

President’s Letter – The Transparency Project

The word transparent has multiple meanings. For us scientists, we might first think of a solution in a tube or vial being transparent, defined by Merriam-Webster as “having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly”. As in, did your chemical dissolve? But the transparency to which … Read more

President’s Letter – Be the Change

By Rob Last, Michigan State University, and Mary Williams, Features Editor, The Plant Cell “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Attributed to Margaret Mead (1901–1978), American cultural anthropologist Whether or not Dr. Mead actually uttered this quote, the words … Read more

President’s Letter – Big Challenges Require Broad Thinking

ASPB News • July/August 2019 • Volume 46, Number 4 This continues the experiment of publishing the President’s Letter as part of a collection of essays and other resources related to the topic ( Please also have a look at the previous collections on the future of not-for-profit science organizations (, member security (, and … Read more

ASPB President’s Letter Collections

This year, ASPB President Rob Last did an experiment aimed at increasing the value of the President’s Letters. Four of these letters were accompanied by essays from community members of all career stages. Two were co-authored. The idea was to explore the topics of President’s Letters more fully and include more voices. A general theme … Read more

President’s Letter—Securing the Future of Plant Biologists

January/February 2019 • Volume 46, Number 1 Note: To help increase the usefulness of the President’s Letter and expand participation in ASPB, a collection of resources from other community members that are relevant to this topic are available on the Plantae website. Links are provided to blogs written by members of our community and existing … Read more

President’s Letter: Your ASPB – The Things You Most Value

The results are in from our membership survey. First, I want to acknowledge the work of Shea Keene, a University of Florida graduate student, and her mentor Dr. Thomas Colquhoun, who collected and analyzed all of the data. I also sincerely thank those of you who participated and am taking this opportunity to explain the … Read more

President’s Letter: A Challenging Time to Assume the Presidency

It seems like only yesterday that the members of ASPB entrusted me with the presidency. My year as president-elect has flown by. When I was elected, I wondered, what exactly does a president-elect actually do, and is it necessary? A year later, I am pleased to say that the system devised by my predecessors is … Read more

President’s Letter: Where Do We Go from Here?

A research community thrives best when it acts with a consensus voice and agrees to commonly held priorities. An effort to achieve such consensus within the plant science community was first launched with the 2013 publication of the document Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015–2025 ( The Decadal Vision … Read more

President’s Letter: The Many Legacies of ASPB

At ASPB, so much has changed over the past few years. Our flagship journals are now online only and offer open access options; we welcome the initiation of our new journal, Plant Direct; and ASPB is set to better interconnect its members with the larger plant science community by way of the Plantae digital ecosystem. … Read more

President’s Letter: How Should We Speak Up?

Now that we have all had a chance to learn a bit more about the Trump administration and its positions on science, it is time to launch the inevitable conversation about how best to respond. The appointment of Robert F. Kennedy to lead a task force to evaluate the safety of vaccines (Phillip et al., … Read more

President’s Letter: Adjusting to an Uncertain Future

As we enter 2017, plant biologists face uncertainty with the arrival of President Trump. The new administration has provided few hints about a position on science, and what comments have been made appear worrisome. A Trump administration is not what most of us were expecting based on polling data and, in fact, was not what … Read more

President’s Letter: Roll Up Your Sleeves!

I consider it a tremendous privilege to serve you as president of ASPB this year. Because I have participated for the past several years as chair of the Publications Committee and member of the Science Policy and Executive Committees, I feel as though the start of this year provides an invaluable opportunity to take a … Read more

March/April President’s Letter: Your Society Needs Your Vote!

Because of publication deadlines, I started to write this newsletter the day before the Iowa caucuses. International members of the Society may be unfamiliar with the somewhat bizarre procedure whereby the people of the state of Iowa select their preferred choices for presidential nominee for both major parties, and I would bet that many in … Read more

President’s Letter: Service and Recognition in Our Society

On the front page of the November/December issue of the ASPB News, alongside my first President’s Letter, was an exhortation to “On your mark, get set…nominate!” ASPB currently has about 4,000 members and is hoping to greatly increase this number thorough its new Plantae portal. It is really important that members feel they are part … Read more

President’s Letter: A Lot to Think About

It’s amazing how quickly my year as president-elect of ASPB has passed, and I now find myself writing my first President’s Letter. I echo the words of my predecessor, Julian Schroeder, when I say that it is truly an honor to serve this important Society. It is also a somewhat daunting experience. Before becoming president-elect, … Read more