Almost a thousand researchers attended this year’s international Conference on Arabidopsis research (ICAR) in South Korea. ICAR2016 was my first experience of a large plant science conference, although it wasn’t a completely foreign experience as I recognised a few faces from the 2015 UK PlantSci conference. I was among the hundreds of delegates presenting a poster, and I benefitted greatly from the talks and discussions I had in these sessions. ICAR2016 was a really good opportunity to see what kinds of research are being performed across the world and to discover many novel techniques and developments.
With the two concurrent sessions, almost all of the timeslots contained talks relating to my own interests or the wider interests of the Sorefan lab group. I learnt a lot during the conference, not only new details, but about the high standard of competition in global Arabidopsis research. I also came away with ideas, a potential collaboration and new motivation to get my research published.
Professor Jen Sheen opened the conference with her latest developments in understanding the sugar signalling function of HEXOKINASE1, the glucose receptor that was first identified and characterised by her lab. Amino acids essential for the sugar signalling function of HEXOKINASE1 but not its catalytic function have been identified and are being characterised. This talk was of particular interest to me because my research relates to sugar signalling, and Professor Jen Sheen is the leader of the field.
Stem cell development is another of my research areas so it was of interest that a surprising number of talks focussed on cambial development. Professor Hiroo Fukada talked about the role of short peptide ligands and their receptors that regulate xylem formation. Dr Ari Mähönen and Professor Ildoo Hwang talked about different aspects of WOX4 function in cambial development, Whilst Professor Hwang also discussed the role of auxin signalling in cambial development that is mediated through the activity of the BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE2-LIKE1 (BIL1) gene.
The meeting also included some excellent research that focussed on shoot apical meristem development. Professor Dave Jackson presented a novel CLAVATA-like peptide that increases floral meristem size and primordia row number in maize and how this peptide was likely linked to the domestication of maize. Professor Naoyuki Uchida presented the role of ERECTA family genes in repressing the cytokinin induction of stem cell maintenance, which is independent of CLV3 signalling.<img class=" wp-image-3862 alignright" src="http://blog.garnetcommunity cialis pharmacie andorre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venn_IMG_0246.jpg” alt=”Venn_IMG_0246″ width=”344″ height=”258″ srcset=”http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venn_IMG_0246.jpg 4032w, http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venn_IMG_0246-300×225.jpg 300w, http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venn_IMG_0246-1024×768.jpg 1024w, http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Venn_IMG_0246-900×675.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 344px) 100vw, 344px” />
However it wasn’t all science as the long days merged into evening sessions of networking at the local bar. This was situated beneath the intriguing K-pop museum where some very talented locals entertained us with karaoke and dancing!
I also used the opportunity to visit several labs in South Korea, including two at Postech in Pohang, and two at Seoul National University. This was a valuable insight into the research culture in South Korea, and an opportunity for further networking. I was really impressed by the scale of some of the research in South Korea as for example, one lab had cloned an entire gene family (of over 70 genes) for a protein-effector interaction screen. I was also able to establish a collaboration with researchers at Seoul National University, inspired by reading a poster from their lab at the conference. I am very grateful to my supervisor, Karim Sorefan and also to the Gatsby Foundation and GARNet for providing the travel grant that enabled me to attend ICAR2016.