The fifth Gordon Research Conference on Plant Molecular Biology is entitled Dynamic Plant Systems, scheduled for June 10-15, 2018 in Holderness, NH. This meeting promotes the advancement of science by tackling an understudied dimension of plant systems - time. To survive, plants must adapt to an ever-changing environment in real-time, often maintaining those responses over a prolonged time, yet current studies typically capture only a snapshot of a response. This conference will highlight new methods and approaches to track and analyze dynamic plant responses in real time, at different time-scales and at different levels of inquiry. It brings together world experts in this emerging field, from a variety of disciplines that include cell biology, development, physiology, genomics, environmental biology and evolutionary biology, and puts them in a small setting with young scientists to nucleate a new subdiscipline of plant biology, Dynamic Plant Systems. Understanding these dynamics has practical implications for national health, prosperity and welfare, and talks will address how new approaches are able to capture real-time plant responses that have economic importance. One example is a system developed to allow real-time tracking of complex changes in root architecture, gene expression, and microbial associations that both model and crop plant species have to changes in their environment. Another example captures how the coordinate actions of light-signaling pathways and the circadian clock enhance plant performance in natural environments. The scientifically diverse slate of speakers is also diverse ethnically and with respect to gender, and the organizers will have an outreach consultant focusing on social media and underrepresented demographics to broaden participation in this exciting new area.
As dynamics affects all parts of plant biology, the meeting will keep a breadth across topics in plant biology, but with a unique focus on time across scales of inquiry. These span a keynote which presents advances in genomics, epigenomics and proteomics, coupled to novel modeling and statistical approaches, including time-based studies that beginning to reveal previously unknown gene-network interactions at a variety of levels that could not be identified using more conventional means. Other time- based studies will reveal new experimental methods to capture these cellular network connections in 3D at high resolution, as well as methods to analyze and visualize these cell-cell networks over time. In addition, presentations will introduce how light sheet microscopy has uncovered a time-based, clock-like process responsible for the positioning of lateral roots along the root primary axis. An important part of attracting scientists to a new field of study is supporting career development, and the meeting will include several activities including a Power Hour intended to support the professional growth of young scientists, especially women in our scientific communities and provide an open forum for discussion and mentoring. An associated Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) will take place over the course of two-days leading up to the start of the conference. The GRS is a unique forum for graduate students, post- docs to present and exchange new data and cutting-edge ideas. One discussion section will focus on the transition from graduate and post-doc studies to further careers in science, hosted by an early career Assistant Professor.
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