Translational Plant Sciences Mini-symposium a success

The Translational Plant Sciences Mini-symposium was recently held on Feb. 13, 2015. There were more than 80 registered participants, and it was a great event!

Julien Besnard, graduate student in Sakiko Okumot’s lab in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science won the graduate student oral paper competition. The title of his presentation was “Is UMAMIT14 the first uni-directional amino acid exporter characterized in plants?”


Shelton Boyd, an undergraduate student researcher in Guillaume Pilot’s lab in Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science won the poster competition. The title of his poster was “Functional characterization of variants of the Arabidopsis amino acid transporter AAP1.”

Christopher Clarke, a postdoctoral researcher in Jim Westwood’s lab won the first Translational Plant Sciences Entrepreneurship challenge. The title of his winning entrepreneurship idea was “Engineering an endogenous plant detector of pathogen RNAs.”

Adriana Bernal, a molecular plant scientist and associate professor from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, gave the opening lecture with the title “Using genomic tools to manage Cassava bacterial blight.”

Eric Ward, CEO of AgBiome, Inc, Durham, North Carolina, gave the keynote lecture on “An integrated approach to discovering useful traits and biologicals.”

band performing at symposiumThe day ended with a banquet dinner accompanied by the local folk music band Cotton Hills. Overall, it was a great symposium! Support for the event was provided by Virginia Tech, Fralin Institute of Life Sciences, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology,and Weed Science, and Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs. 

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