‘Omics Era’ highlighted at Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium Feb. 22

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Ammani Kyanam, ammani_tamu_13@tamu.edu or pbsymposium@gmail.com

COLLEGE STATION – The next generation of research leaders and their fields of study will be on display Feb. 22 at the fourth annual Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium, conducted by Texas A&M University graduate students.

The one-day research conference is for students, faculty and private industry researchers studying plant breeding, genetics and related sciences.

The free event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bethancourt Ballroom, Memorial Student Center, 275 Joe Routt Blvd., College Station.

To register, go to http://plantbreedingsymposium.com/. The event will be live-streamed via web conferencing, but registration is required for webinar access and a link will be sent to registered attendees.

The theme this year is “Omics Era: A New Page in Plant Breeding.”

“Plant breeding has become a data-driven field,” said Ammani Kyanam, doctoral student and organizing committee chair.

“The increase in large-scale data collection in traditional fields such as genetics has evolved thanks to the emergence of computational and high-throughput methods. Genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, ionomics and phenomics, known collectively as ‘-omics,’ are tools being applied by plant breeders to improve crop varieties.”

Keynote speakers and their topics include:

– Dr. Aaron Lorenz, University of Minnesota assistant professor in agronomy and plant genetics – Exploring genomic prediction for crop improvement: Broadening the reach of evaluation.

– Dr. Duke Pauli, University of Arizona assistant professor in plant genetics – Phenomics: Illuminating the Genetic Basis of Cotton Resiliency.

– Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran, Washington State University assistant professor in biological systems engineering – Sensors for phenomics: Role of automated image processing and machine learning in high-throughput sensing.

– Dr. Keerti Rathore, Texas A&M professor in plant physiology – From Conception to(wards) Deregulation of Ultra-low Gossypol Cottonseed – A 21-year-long Odyssey.

– Dr. John Van Hemert, DuPont Pioneer discovery research and development – From Satellites to Sequencing: How Omics Fits Into the New Industrial Digital Agriculture.

The symposium will also host the fourth annual Student Research Competition to include oral and poster presentations.

“After the symposium, all attendees are invited to Café Eccell in Bryan for an evening reception,” said Steve Anderson, a doctoral student and organizing committee vice-chair. “It will be a casual atmosphere to network with the speakers and other symposium attendees. The winners of the student research competition will also be presented with their awards at this time.”

Kyanam said the event has several goals, the most important of which is educating current and future plant breeders in the most cutting-edge technologies. It is a platform for networking and to promote local research by providing opportunities to share findings.

She also said as a student-run event, it is designed to enhance leadership and organizations skills of the future plant breeders.

The organization team of Texas A&M graduate and master’s students studying plant breeding or a related science includes Kyanam, Steve Anderson, Lorin Harvey, DrutDaman Bhangu, Nolan Bentley, Yu-Ya Liang, Anil Adhikari, Nathalia Penna Cruzato and Blake Young.

The Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and is a part of the DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia Series, which connects similar events at universities around the world.

It is also supported by contributions from the Texas Peanut Producers Board; Texas A&M University Corpus Christi College of Science and Engineering; and several academic departments at Texas A&M, including soil and crop sciences, horticulture, plant pathology and microbiology, biological and agricultural engineering, molecular and environmental plant sciences and biology, and the Genetics Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

For more information about the symposium, contact the graduate student organizing committee via email at pbsymposium@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page at Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium.

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