GARNet Workshop on ‘Advances in Plant Imaging’

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Published on: October 8, 2019

By Geraint Parry

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            Over 60 delegates travelled to the University of Warwick for the GARNet workshop on ‘Advances in Plant Imaging’, which received kind support from the Society of Experimantal Biology. This meeting was led by Professor Murray Grant, who is currently a member of the GARNet Advisory Committee.

            The primary aim of this workshop was to introduce early career researchers to the techniques used by researchers who are at the cutting edge of different imaging systems. Throughout the workshop we aimed to engender an atmosphere of discussion and collaboration so to that end we included an early session of short talks so delegates could introduce their work prior to discussions over dinner and drinks. The official Poster session was scheduled after all of the talks had concluded so as to give all the speakers the opportunity to later discuss their work. This timing also allowed attendees to visit posters without the authors in attendance so that they could formulate their own questions to be asked later! Finally we encouraged attendees to use ‘post-its’ to note the techniques and/or initiatives that they would find most useful to aid their future research. These replies were collated and considered at a final wrap-up discussion session.

            These responses could be separated into two main categories; 1, Software and 2, Community; highlighting the need for training in new imaging and imaging analysis techniques and the integration of plant scientists with different communities, such as hardware developers or the experts in computer vision. This feedback was shared with the UKRI-BBSRC representative who attended the meeting and was incorporated into a recent GARNet grant proposal.

            The workshop began with a session on ‘High Resolution Microscopy for Plant Cell Biologythat included talks from Joe McKenna and Martin Goldberg from Oxford Brookes and Durham respectively. They talked about the opportunities available through use of Super Resolution Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy. There was some excitment in the room as Martin supplied ‘old-style’ 3D glasses to view some of his excellent images of the nuclear envelope.

3D images from Martin Golderg, please put on your glasses!

            The bulk of the second day of the workshop was split into two sessions titled Imaging across scales and Imaging with Novel Genetically encoded Reporters. The eight speakers in these sessions had an even gender split and featured two PhD students, two postdocs and four PIs. In particular the PhD students, Anis Meschichi and Emily Morris gave fantastic talks that included some great images. Anis talked about the work from Stefanie Rosa’s lab on single molecule RNA FISH whilst Emily presented amazing whole-root images taken at the Hounsfield microCT facility at the University of Nottingham. Each speaker in these sessions should be credited for excellently presenting their own research as well as providing insights into the opportunities that exist to use different tools and technologies, such as live imaging with light sheet microscopy (Giovanni Sena) or use of novel calcium (Myriam Charpentier) or redox (Phil Mullineaux) responsive reporters.

Emily Morris presenting her research

            A post-workshop survey confirmed that attendees very much enjoyed the talks and the opportunities provided for discussion….. although the catering and arrangements at Warwick weren’t universally enjoyed! Something to learn for next time!

            Throughout the meeting GARNet got the clear message that there is a community-need for a workshop on general Image Analysis and we will look at organising something in this area early in 2020. Watch this space!

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October 2019

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