APS Plant Health 2020 Scientific Credibility: Changing the Climate 3rd – 14th August 2020
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) meeting: Plant Health 2020 was supposed to take place physically in Denver, Colorado. However, it was changed to an online meeting due to the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic which changed our lives and restricted travel. It was a fully virtual event that allowed me and other participants registered for the meeting from all over the world to access content related to the theme of ‘Scientific Credibility: Changing the Climate’ which was the theme for Plant Health 2020. The theme of the meeting was inspired in large part by the growing gap in understanding and respect between scientists and the public, as well as a book written by Richard Harris, NPR Science Reporter, titled Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. The virtual format of the meeting allowed attendees access to the high-quality speakers and eposter presenters. I had an amazing experience with virtual networking events, idea cafes, and one-on-one appointments for connection and networking and held valuable discussions with some participants worldwide.
This year . . s conference attracted over 2,000 researchers from around the world, including speakers from more than 30 countries. The impressive dimensions of the event were reflected in more than 200 lectures and prioritize among more than 25 e-poster sessions.
The keynote session was accessible with basic, premium, and unlimited registrations and featured a keynote presentation from Richard Harris, NPR Science Correspondent and author of the book Rigor Mortis, and a plenary presentation from the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Dr. Jo Handelsman.
The opening key note was on Science Friction: What’s Slowing Research Progress.
The talk was focused on issues of rigor and reproducibility that have become a major concern, particularly in biomedical research and in social sciences.
The National Academy of Sciences has also examined the impact of these concerns in other fields of research.
Dr. Jo Handelsman gave a plenary: From the White House to Academia: Restoring scientific integrity, credibility, and rigor. There were numerous technical and special sessions, symposia and workshops as well as APS committee meetings with various divisions.
I attended the Management Thresholds: Risks, Challenges, And Solutions special session and was thrilled with the new knowledge on management of plant diseases. There was hot topic on: Gender Bias: The contributions, advancements, and challenges of women in agricultural sciences. This was important to bridge the gap of gender disparity. Another session I enjoyed was the Idea Cafe: Impact of Soil Health Practices on Plant Pathogens and Disease Management as well as One-to- One Conversations with an Expert.
Nine special sessions were running in parallel throughout the congress, including several of particular interest for BSPP members such as sessions focused on Management Thresholds: Risks, Challenges, and Solutions, Molecular mechanism of temperature modulation of plant immunity, New Products and Services, Arthropod Transmitted New and Emerging Pathogens, Evolution of the Concept of a Bacterial Species, Cannabis and Hemp : Production, Pathology, and Disease Management, Hormonal Signaling in Plant Defense Responses and Disease Resistance, Let’s work together and get things done: pathogen synergism during the infection of plants. Technical sessions included Alternatives for Disease Man- agement, The Importance of Monitoring and Regional Coordination in Disease Management, Virus-Host Interactions, Wheat Microbiome, Antibiotic and Fungicide Resistance, Diagnostic Marker Development and Plant-Microbe Interactions: Cell Biology and Mechanisms.
Finally, I would like to thank BSPP for providing me with a travel grant to help my attendance virtually at this important meeting (pictured right). I won the APS book of the World award in APS 2020. I had the excellent opportunity to present my latest work as an e-poster on ‘Characterization and Diversity of Endophytic Fungi in different parts of Cowpea Using Illumina Sequencing Approach’.
I used the Â£1,000 awarded for travel to pay for conference registration, bought an internet modem of 5G status, rented a generator for the duration of the meeting since it was a virtual meeting and not a physical one as previously planned. I am looking forward to the next APS meeting, which will be held virtually in August 2021 because of the continuous threat of COVID-19.
Tonjock Rosemary Kinge The University of Bamenda, Cameroon