Monogram 2018 Report: Matthew Dale

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Published on: June 13, 2018

By Matthew Dale Rothamsted Research

The Monogram meeting is an annual conference where people from all parts of the UK cereal and grass community come together to share the latest advances discovered by academic researchers. The meeting attracts the interest of industrial scientists and plant breeders who are keen to learn about the latest exciting results that have been uncovered. As with every year the diverse program provides something of interest for everyone, having entire sessions dedicated to research themes, from genomic technological advances to grain development and crop end use. PhD students and post-docs, who did not give a presentation could present a poster during the poster sessions. This offered some amazing insights into the research which is being undertaken by young researchers in the UK.

This year the conference was held at the John Innes Centre, in Norwich Research Park. JIC is a fitting venue for this event, producing fantastic research for the plant science community, and contributing greatly to the presentations at Monogram.

The meeting started with the cereal bioinformatics session, during which we were updated on the advances to the various bioinformatic resources. This session highlighted the amazing advancements in the wheat genome annotation and gave a quick overview on the publicly available resources. The bioinformatics workshop was well structured and made the complexity of cereal genetics less daunting. The workshop discussed the advances in genome labelling and the transcriptome resources available, these are the key tools as a starting point for cereal molecular biologists and lay down the foundations for fascinating research to come. As this is a rapidly changing area, the session recognised this by featuring a number of presentations on new technologies and resources, such as KNetMiner, which will soon become available to us.


The conference flowed seamlessly thanks to the careful organisation of Scott Boden, Wendy Forsdick and Brande Wulff. Despite the formal nature of the presentations, interspersed with the science was an abundance of tea breaks and lunches, which allowed plenty of time for mingling with other people with common research interests. As is tradition, a large part of the socialising was done at the conference meal on the second night. The conference meal took place at the beautiful Assembly House in Norwich City Centre which was the perfect setting for yet more discussion over a delicious three course meal and drinks.

The conference was concluded with a more applied session focusing on technologies for crop improvement. This has been yet another successful Monogram and I am looking forward to seeing the advances of this ambitious cereal community in 2019.



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