The 2011 Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) Conference will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, June 4 - 8, 2011. The conference will provide a venue for presenting the science, novel technologies and advances of in vitro biology for both plants and animals. As such, the meeting provides an outstanding opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to meet and interact with scientists in the field, to discuss their research ideas, and to begin to establish the scientific networks that will prove invaluable throughout their careers. Funding provided by NSF will broaden participation by defraying the costs of participation for students and postdoctoral associates with specific emphasis on women and those from underrepresented groups.

Project Report

The Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) held its annual meeting in Raleigh, NC, June 4-8, 2011. There were approximately 350 total attendees, ~300 of which were from the U.S. and ~50 from 25 other countries including developing countries (e.g. India, China and Turkey). The representation from academic/government institutions and industry was about 50% each. The program included the Opening Ceremony presentation by the former Under Secretary of Agriculture (2006-2008) under the Bush Administration, and past President of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), Dr. Gale A. Buchanan. Each day of the conference from June 5 to 8 included a plenary session, joint symposia and plant symposia with a mix of speakers from academia and industry. Examples of the topics included RNAi in biotechnology, Plant transformation technologies, Genetic engineering of perennial crops, Plant made pharmaceuticals/vaccines, Systems biology, and Micropropagation. A number of student events were organized in this conference that included an evening workshop "Writing and submitting a scientific paper", a student networking luncheon, and oral presentation competitions for postdocs and students. Funds supported registration fees and one-year society membership for 61 students from US academic institutions, and 4 from developing countries (China and India). Partial travel awards were given to 9 students belonging to US institutions or developing countries. The selection process for student awardees emphasized student presentation opportunities and diversity, in terms of gender, institutional affiliation, and geography. Abstracts of oral and poster presentations are published in In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Animal vol. 47, the standard publication for the SIVB conference abstracts. Plenary Sessions and Symposia covered the following topics: RNAi in plant biotechnology Physiological disorders in tissue culture Single molecule sequencing technology Scientific and regulatory issues of biotechnology Herbal medicines Transformation technologies (3 sessions) Micropropagation Bioinformatic/Statistics tools in biological research Crop biotechnology Bioenergy feedstocks Systems biology Crop biofortification Emerging tree biotechnologies Plant metabolic pathways and engineering Cotton biotechnology Examples of US and foreign speakers and topics included: Lila Vodkin, University of Illinois, Endogenous small RNAs that downregulate pathways in soybean and transgenic RNAi approaches Todd P. Michael, Monsanto Co, Exploring the Arabidopsis genome with long single molecule PacBio Reads Kent Chapman, University of North Texas, Cotton transgenics derived from embryogenic cell lines. Ilya Raskin, Rutgers Univ, Science based botanicals with clinical and nutritional applications. Henry Daniell, University of Central Florida, Chloroplast vector systems for biotechnology applications Alexander Vainstein, Hebrew Univ., Non-transgenic approaches for genome modifications Joe Petolino, Dow AgroSciences, Targeted gene deletion Kevin Folta, University of Florida, Strawberry transformation as a means to accelerate functional and translational studies in the Rosaseae Francois Torney, Biogemma, France, Wheat genetic engineering: from the gene to the field. James Register, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, High throughput transformation and transgenic analysis for maize. Mei Guo, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Utilizing bioinformatics in identification and functional analysis of cell number regulator genes in diverse plant species Alan Raybould, Syngenta, Environmental risks and opportunities of transgenic plants. Richard Nelson, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Setaria: Its potential as a model for C4 grass species Hugh Mason, Arizona State University, Geminiviral vectors for vaccine expression in plants. Andy Pereira, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Systems level analysis of drought stress response Barry Goldman, Monsanto Co., Predicting biological information from genome sequence analysis. As can be seen from the examples, there were a number of speakers from both academia and industry, a hallmark of SIVB meetings. The conference schedule involved several breaks, and reception events that served as the networking platform. Specific student events were organized by SIVB. An evening workshop convened a panel on "Writing and Submitting a Scientific Paper". The panel consisted of 11 members representing published students, post-docs, professors and scientists from industry. Advice was given about the proper way to document research, editing, and submission. Approximately 40 people were in attendance and the workshop lasted about 2 ½ hours. In another student event, 42 people attended the roundtable discussion over lunch. Roundtable leaders led an informal discussion with the first thirty minutes devoted to a get-to-know you session and lunch, and the second thirty minutes for topics such as career choices, working in industry, quality control, and students choice. Roundtable leaders were Bill Smith (USA MRICD), John Harbell (Mary Kay Inc.), Pam Weathers (Worchester Polytechnic Institute), Thomas Flynn (US FDA), Yinghui Dan (IALR/ Virginia Tech), Guy Smagghe (Ghent University), and Valerie Pence (Cincinnati Zoo). The Plant Biotechnology Section of SIVB conducted separate oral presentation competitions for postdocs and students. Presenters were pre-selected by a committee based on abstract submissions.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
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Diane Jofuku Okamuro
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University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
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