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The title of the conference was ‘Crossroads in science’. More than 1,600 people from all around the world attended the conference. The conference provided the latest discoveries and in-depth information on plant pathology and related fields. During the week, I attended scientific sessions including biological control, fungicide resistance, disease management, chemical management of plant diseases, and workshop: sustainability, genetics and future cultivars, extension plant pathologist breakfast and early career professionals’ social with employer networking opportunity.
I was a moderator of one of the ‘Idea Cafes’, ‘Efficacy and biological control agents’. It was a great opportunity to learn how to moderate a discussion session for the first time and to learn about other views and thoughts on biological control from the experts and researchers of around the world. I was also a speaker in the biological control agent session. It was an exciting experience to present in front of a huge crowd and to be able to discuss my research afterward with great deal of interests.
As a recipient of BSPP travel award, I helped to set up the BSPP booth and man the stand for some hours. It was an honour to represent the society and was a great opportunity to talk to other attendees, introducing our society and explain about the society meetings, awards and grants offered to plant pathologists.
I attended the ‘Take a walk’ session to the Huntington Gardens: including 12 major gardens of citrus garden, Japanese garden, Chinese gardens, rose garden, palm garden and the largest dessert garden etc. The gardens are a buffet for pests and diseases and currently suffering from drought stress.
The rain fall for the first half of century was around 50 cm per year, however, for the last 4 years it has dropped to only 15 cm. Because of the extent of extreme drought, the garden is losing many trees every day. To combat the drought, the California government has set up a rule: irrigation systems can no longer be used for lawn and they can only be used to water trees, just twice a week for 15 min. As a result most of the lawns in the gardens were damaged by the sun and trees are not receiving enough water.
The final celebration night was a great way to wrap up the meeting and make one final connection with colleagues and friends with plenty of food, drinks, music and dance! Such fun! The trip to California could not have ended without visiting the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood stars, the universal stadium and of course the beautiful Venice beach. I would like to thank the BSPP for providing me the travel award and giving me this unforgettable experience. Thank you!
Mojgan Rabiey University of Reading During my PhD, I am focusing on Myzus persicae effector biology and more precisely on the functional characterisation of two aphid candidate effectors and their potential host target. This conference was a real opportunity to gain insight of other areas of plant pathology.
I was interested in the technical session of disease management. It allowed me to discover topics which are not related to my PhD. The talks highlighted different ways to control pest populations but also the role of every factor of agriculture in the management of pest populations. For example, a smartphone app was created for growers and agents who are working on peach and strawberry. The aim of the app is to help people to identify diseases which affect these two crops.
There was a poster session which was held on three of the nights during the conference. It gave an opportunity to present my research and to discover other areas in plant pathology. It allowed me to discuss some ideas with scientists from different backgrounds.
Alongside the poster session, ‘Ideas Cafes’ and ‘Poster Huddles’ provided an opportunity to focus on specific topics such as pathogen effectors and virulence and plant resistance. The poster huddles were a nice way to focus on some specific posters which aim to answer specific questions such as – ‘What are silver nanoparticles and how do they impact biological and chemical disease control?’ The posters in the molecular aspects of effectors and their potential host targets category were a real interest to me.
Networking and interacting with other scientists is another aspect of the APS annual meeting. The plenary sessions focused on different topics of plant pathology but the main ideas of the talks were centred on how the research can be transferred into the academic or industrial work places. The plenary session ‘When generations connect: communicating with four generations of employees’ helped in understanding the generation gap people may face in their work place but more importantly the lecturer provided examples of tools which can be used to overcome the difficulties in sharing the work place with generations which are different from yours. Another part of the meeting was to facilitate the relationship between academia and industry. Different sessions were put in place to facilitate the discussion. This year there was a special session aimed at the graduate students entitled ‘Career in the industry’.
I would like to thank the BSPP for the travel grant which enabled me to attend this highly interesting conference. The next annual APS meeting will be held in Tampa, Florida and promises to be as exciting as this meeting.
The James Hutton Institute / The University of Dundee