Welcome to Phytogen for August 2021. Here is an article summarising many National Science Week events throughout August. Thank you all for your contributions and hard work.
National Science Week has officially wrapped up for 2021. This year, the theme for ASPS events was “Plant Science Safeguarding Our Future Food Security”. ASPS kicked off with a “Meet a Plant Scientist” video series, with ASPS members at diverse career stages and representing a wide array of fields of plant science submitting 30s videos introducing themselves and their research – you can still see them all here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCjVjret6uSjalUbDCO8a8jjuJesKZ8y3.
Dr. Frances Sussmilch UTAS, Prof. Uli Mathesius ANU, and Sabrina Davies UWA, among many in the “Meet a Plant Scientist” video series.
In South Australia, Dr Megan Shelden, Dr Beth Loveys and Dr Georgia Koerber organised a very successful face-to-face event on 22nd August at the Waite Campus, University of Adelaide, with a series of engaging talks and tours explaining the pivotal role plant scientists and agriculturalists play in feeding and clothing us all. This included talks by Megan, Prof. Martin Cole, Prof. Rachel Burton, and PhD candidate Ali Gill, with Sciren running sessions for people to extract DNA from strawberries and make terrariums, and tours of the Waite Arboretum, Plant Accelerator, and TERN Plant and Soil Library.
Prof. Martin Cole talking about Food Security and Dr. Megan Shelden explaining why cereal crops are important.
Prof. Rachel Burton and Dr. Beth Loveys showing people in Adelaide how long their digestive systems are and Ali Gill explaining why hemp is special.
Stalls for University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and TERN, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, University of Adelaide’s Postgraduates Association at the Waite, the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility and the STEM academy.
In Victoria, Dr. Kim Johnson and Dr. Janet Wheeler shifted events online. They ran an interactive session called “Project Feed 10 billion” with 80 Virtual Schools Victoria, year 8-9 students and 10 teachers on 19th August. The session covered the challenges of feeding the future population with sustainable nutritious foods. Kim and Janet also ran a demonstration to 45 students and 5 teachers from Reservoir Views Primary School where they showed a healthy and less healthy meal going through the digestive system.
Dr. Kim Johnson with “Project Feed 10 billion” from La Trobe University and survey results from interactive session with 80 Virtual Schools Victoria, year 8-9 students.
In Sydney, Dr. Claudia Keitel, in collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Plant Science and Agriculture academics, staff from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture (SIA) and the University’s Outreach Team, organised a series of talks and interactive activities online on the 20th August, with around 200 participants from 22 schools joining on the day. Talks from Prof. Brent Kaiser, Prof. Daniel Tan, Assoc. Prof. Brian Jones, Prof. Robert Park and Dr. Floris van Ogtrop focused on topics such as future opportunities for products and businesses based on plant protein, the future of cotton production, CRISPR as a 21st century breeding tool, genetic approaches to control plant diseases, and urban agriculture. The activities gave attendees the opportunity to learn how plants grow to produce vegetables we eat, how genetics and environmental conditions influence plant traits, how to fingerprint wheat chromosomes and identify chromosomal fragments introduced from wild relatives with Assoc. Prof. Mary Byrne, Assoc. Prof. Marcus Heisler, Dr. Claudia Keitel, Assoc. Prof. Rosanne Quinnell and Dr. Peng Zhang. You can find more information about this event here: https://www.sydney.edu.au/science/news-and-events/events/future-plants-for-food-security.html.
Dr. Claudia Keitel, addressing 206 participants from 22 schools, in Sydney and Prof. Daniel Tan giving a talk about the future of cotton production.
Prof. Brent Kaiser talking about the power of plant protein.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) offered a virtual tour of the biology labs – you can check them out here: https://cdn.qut.edu.au/media/qut-science-experience-anz/ and https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=cEBNvWzjjw7.
Researchers from other universities and states recorded videos of talks and lab tours for our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4-hDpe7OR3kwpMxy4ES6ng). The ACT was represented with fantastic talks from CSIRO and ANU researchers including our President Dr. Peter Ryan, Jess Hyles, Dr. TJ Higgins AO, Dr. Di He, Prof. Uli Mathesius and Dr. Ricky Milne, and Ryan Ruddick from Geoscience Australia (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCjVjret6uSh67u7d2U2B1mGRFARal9mt).
The Byrt Lab at ANU walked us through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation using the floral dip method (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj0iM3zi6_E&list=PLCjVjret6uSg1pLNehyuIm01NTuIQH7PM). Early career researchers at Southern Cross University, including Dr. Jay Anderson, Master of Science candidate Janelle Schafer, and Dr Priyakshee Borpatra Gohain, each gave great talks about their research (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCjVjret6uSjLV-oQh-iMEwaixzbn1zLm).
Prof. Ros Gleadow from Monash University talked about her research on how plants including sorghum and cassava make cyanide (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6egOt1qNo58&list=PLCjVjret6uSgZYVZ_DhQ8KZq8Vh5NIC9e).
Prof. Tim Brodribb from University of Tasmania showed us why leaves die during drought stress with a video depicting what happens during this process (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M-sZETVoQ8&list=PLCjVjret6uShxXJbRyx1HIJZbEtyS8tK-).
ASPS President Dr. Peter Ryan in the introduction for the ASPS Science Week 2021 YouTube channel.
Dr. Priyakshee Borpatra Gohain’s talk, within a series from ECRs at Southern Cross University and Prof. Tim Brodribb from UTAS explaining why leaves die during drought.
Members of the Byrt Lab at ANU demonstrating floral dipping for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.
We will keep the ASPS Science Week 2021 YouTube channel up, so you still have the opportunity to check out any videos you missed.
Registration is now open for our 2021 ASPS hybrid conference on the 25th of November.