SEB Brighton 2016 - Programme

Plant Sessions

The following Plant Biology session will take place at SEB Brighton 2016. Read more details on each session below.

From source to sink: Resource partitioning in plants


Miss Angela White (University of Sheffield, UK), Dr Colin Osborne (University of Sheffield, UK), Dr Jennifer Cunniff (CABI) and Prof Stephen Long (University of Illinois, USA)


Prof Andrew Millar (University of Edinburgh, UK), Dr Bertrand Muller (INRA Montpellier, France), Dr Hendrik Poorter (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany), Prof Christine Raines (University of Essex, UK), Prof Alison Smith (John Innes Centre, UK), Prof Uwe Sonnewald (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany), Dr Catherine Bellini (Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden) and Prof Xinguang Zhu (PICB Shanghai, China) 

Global food security is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Crop improvement consortia aim to increase yields by manipulating photosynthesis, the source of plant carbon. However, the extent to which greater carbon fixation will translate into improved yield depends crucially on the development of sinks which sequester that carbon and require other resources such as nitrogen. The capacity for carbon sequestration by the terrestrial biosphere is limited by analogous feedbacks. Our knowledge of sink development and source:sink interactions for carbon and nitrogen at plant and ecosystem scales has improved dramatically in the past decade. This session will unite biologists from across the plant sciences, to consider these issues and address the all-important question: how does resource partitioning within plants limit the productivity of crops and ecosystems?

This session will include four half-day sessions:

  • Source activity
  • Sink development 
  • Modelling, integration and cross talk
  • Allocation and translocation in different environments

Hormone receptors: Structures complexes and biosensors


Prof Richard Napier (University of Warwick, UK) & Dr Stefan Kepinski (University of Leeds, UK)


Dr Jan Hejátko (Masaryk University, Czech Republic); Dr Alexander Heyl (Adelphi University, USA); Dr Michael Hothorn (University of Geneva, Switzerland); Dr Alexander Jones (University of Cambridge, UK); Dr Peter McCourt (University of Toronto, Canada); Dr Erik Rikkerink (Plant & Food Research, New Zealand); Dr Kim Snowden (Plant & Food Research, New Zealand) & Dr Teva Vernoux (Laboratoire Reproduction et Développement des Plantes, France)

This session will be structure-led, examining how plant hormone receptors recognise their ligand(s), how selectivity is conferred and how information is converted from ligand binding into a signal activating specific responses. Several hormone receptors work as components of multi-protein complexes and some receptors have been engineered into biosensors. The session should appeal to everyone with interests between plant physiology and photonics.

Seed biology: From laboratory to field


Dr George Bassel (University of Birmingham, UK) & Dr Steven Penfield (John Innes Centre, UK)


Dr Leonie Bentsink, (Wageningen University, Netherlands); Dr Julia Buitink (INRA Angers, France); Dr Pilar Carbonero (CBDG Madrid, Spain); Prof Bill Finch-Savage (University of Warwick, UK); Dr Gwyneth Ingram (Laboratoire Reproduction et Développement des Plantes, France); Prof Claudia Köhler (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden); Dr Frank Lanfermeijer (Syngenta Seeds, Netherlands); Prof Gerhard Leubner (Royal Holloway University, UK) & Dr Luis Lopez-Molina (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Seeds are of central importance for plant reproduction and a thriving global industry in which Europe plays a leading role. Seeds exhibit some of the richest and wildest facets of plant physiology and extremes of plant behaviour, but also present a set of unique challenges to the experimental scientist. Advances in our understanding of communication between tissues during seed development and germination, coupled with the ability to reconstruct networks of genome activity in ever smaller samples and with greater resolution, are promising to transform the way we think about and conduct seed science. Parallel technological progress is also permitting high quality fundamental science to be undertaken not just in model species, but directly in crops.

This session aims to showcase the latest advances in seed science and discuss how this work is being exploited to generate advances for horticulture and agriculture. Spread over one and a half days, it will be a great opportunity for early career scientists to interact closely with leaders in pure and applied seed science, and sessions will mix presentations from invited speakers with talks selected from submitted abstracts. Participants presenting posters will also be given two minute slots to promote their posters on the first day, so that posters can become a focus for evening discussions.

The plant endoplasmic reticulum: A dynamic multitasking organelle


Prof Chris Hawes (Oxford Brookes University, UK), Dr Lorenzo Frigerio (University of Warwick, UK) & Prof Patrick Schäfer (University of Warwick, UK) 


Dr Mark Fricker (Oxford University, UK), Prof Barbara Halkier (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Dr Nozomu Koizumi (Osaka Prefecture University, Japan), Prof Birger Lindberg Møller (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Dr Patrick Moreaux (Universite Bordeaux Segalen, France), Dr Eija Jokitalo (University of Helsinki, Finland) & Prof Eva Stoeger (BOKU Vienna, Austria)  

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a multitasking and highly dynamic organelle with essential functions in cell signalling and biosynthetic processes. In addition to being the site of lipid and hormone biosynthesis the ER provides the biochemical environment for secretory protein production, folding and quality control. Hence, the plant ER is responsible for the production and storage of a great proportion of our edible proteins and lipids.

Our session on the plant ER will bring together researchers from multiple areas including plant biology, membrane biology, protein biochemistry, biophysics and microscopy. The two days will have 1.5 days dedicated to internationally renowned speakers, early career researchers and PhD students who will cover the key topic areas of: 
i) ER morphology and biogenesis
ii) ER metabolomics and lipidomics
iii) ER in stress signalling and development.

In addition we will offer 3 workshops on imaging and analysis of the ER covering: i) ER image analysis with commercial and publicly available software, ii) confocal ER structure analysis, and iii) lipid analysis. This SEB session is hence dedicated to multiple aspects of the structure and functions of the plant ER in a timely and comprehensive manner.

Making connections - plant vascular tissue development


Dr Peter Etchells (Durham University, UK) & Dr Simon Turner (University of Manchester, UK)


Dr Anthony Bishopp, (University of Nottingham, UK), Prof Siobhan Brady (University of California Davis, USA), Dr Ana Cano-Delgado (Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics, Spain), Prof Hiroo Fukuda (University of Tokyo, Japan), Dr Thomas Greb (University of Heidelberg, Germany), Prof Yrjö Helariutta (University of Cambridge, UK/University of Helsinki, Finland), Dr Laura Ragni (University of Tubingen, Germany) & Dr Rishi Bhalerao (Umeå Plant Science Center, Sweden)

High levels of organisation are apparent in the vascular tissue of higher plants, making it an excellent model for studying developmental biology. The vasculature contains conductive tissues, the xylem and phloem, which are characteristically separated by the cambium or procambium, the vascular meristems. Plant vascular tissue is initiated in the embryo in a set of highly ordered formative cell divisions, and in the root by specification of cell files present in the root apical meristem adjacent to the quiescent centre. In more mature tissues, including in the wood forming tissue of forest trees, and in the model plant Arabidopsis, vascular tissue is expanded by a series of highly oriented divisions that occur down the long axis of vascular initials in the cambium. 

Consequently, in recent years, the study of plant vascular tissue has addressed fundamental questions regarding the control of cell division, differentiation, tissue organisation, and environmental influences over these processes. Plant vascular tissues in general and woody cells of the xylem in particular, are also an important renewable source of energy and biomaterials. Recent research has also addressed how vascular development might be manipulated to improve these feed stocks for industrial purposes.  The aim of this two-day session is to bring together researchers looking at these diverse aspects of plant vascular development.

Session participants will also be invited to contribute a review article to a special edition of the Journal of Experimental Botany.