Update from the chair, April 17, 2014
Our 1st International Workshop on Engineered Crops is 10 days away and I wanted to provide you with a few highlights:
- The agenda is now complete.
- As of this morning, we have 78 registered participants, including 42 plant scientists, 25 engineers, and 7 biologists.
- Thanks to NSF, we still have a few travel awards available for faculty and students. Please encourage your colleagues and students to register and attend.
- Two senior representatives will come from NSF, one from the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems and one from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.
- An improv group will perform on Monday’s banquet; get ready for some audience participation.
- A student poster session, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, is being organized by Baskar Ganapathysubramanian, with cash prizes.
We look forward to a fruitful meeting and can’t wait to welcome you in Des Moines on April 28.
With kind regards,
Chair, 1st international workshop on engineered plants
Welcome and invitation from the chairs, March 15, 2014
Breeding crops with enhanced yields and sustainability is critical to ensure food security in this 21st century. While genomic selection is now widely used in crop improvement, the success of the plant breeding is still primarily based on a “black box” approach. In fact, the ability to manipulate the genome is better developed today than our understanding of the ensemble of plant traits (i.e., the plant phenome).
The international workshop on engineered crops seeks to address this shortcoming by bringing together the best international experts in engineering and plant sciences, thanks mainly to the support of the NSF EPSCoR program. In general, members of these two communities are not aware of the methods, knowledge, and needs of each other. Plant scientists have identified important and complex physiological mechanisms, and have the tools to manipulate the genome. Engineers, with their knowledge of transport phenomena, measurement techniques, and their ability to model complex systems, can measure and simulate the underlying structural and physiological properties of crops.
Hence, our hypothesis is that bringing together engineers and plant scientists will provide the framework for creation of a new discipline of “plant engineers”, and generate ideas to drastically improve breeding approaches. To achieve these goals, the workshop will focus on: 1) Genotype and environmental interactions and stresses; 2) Plant physiology and flow and nutrient transport; 3) Numerical modeling and optimization; 4) Phenomics and Imaging; and 5) Education and training needs.
The workshop will bring together experts from various disciplines to identify critical challenges, advancements, and new directions in engineered crops. The workshop format involves plenary lectures, panel sessions, and a poster session. The poster session is open for all. The two-day workshop will identify key research, education, and design needs: these will be expressed in a roadmap for industry, government, and academic leaders. By bringing together diverse communities, it is our hope that this workshop will spark new collaborations and new approaches.
Daniel Attinger, Matthew Gilbert & Ted Heindel
Organizers of the International Workshop on Engineered Crops