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The MPMI congress is a major event in the calendar for those working on bacterial-plant interactions and is a great meeting place to catch up with the latest trends and advances. I spoke in a workshop on day one of the conference (actually I think the workshops were just a way of fitting in a number of additional sessions) with a focus on bacterial genomics. All the speakers gave interesting presentations. Two presentations particularly stood out; Alan Collmer amazed us with his work on manipulating the Pseudomonas syringae effector repertoire to identify minimal functional units. David Baltrus described his work on microbial genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which at tempts to map genotype to phenotype; a method that we are almost certain to see increase in the future as new genomes become available. Jeff Dangl’s and Paul Shulze- Lefert’s labs gave almost identical talks (clearly following a very effective collaboration) on the search for natural bacterial flora on plants able to enhance plant growth, with the clear target of enhancing crop production through sustainable means. Many other great talks took place but the prize, for me, went to Sheng Yang He who has not only undertaken and published some great work on bacterial manipulation of the plant response but also explained it in a clear way with some excellent slides. It was a great conference all round, with the exception of some slightly dodgy dancing (including me) at the conference dinner.
Ian Toth The James Hutton Institute This is one of the best meetings that I have attended in the past few years. The meeting was very well organized. The plenary sessions had mixed sets of topics presented by junior and senior researchers. I particularly enjoyed the talk of Eva Kondorosi on virulence factors in Rhizobium-legume symbiosis.
I chaired the session ‘Pathogenic bacteria/phytoplasmas’ together with Adam Bogdanove on the 1st August and presented my talk on phytoplasma effectors. Other invited speakers in this session presented excellent work on TAL effectors, virulence factors of Xylella fastidiosa and Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Pseudomonas syringae adaptations to the plant apoplast and the isolation of rice resistance to Burkholderia glumae. Three members of my lab, Claire Drurey, Alexander Coleman and Al lyson MacLean presented posters at the meeting.
Allyson won the MPMI 2012 Best Poster Award for her poster ‘Phytoplasma effector SAP54 induces indeterminate leaf-like flower development in Arabidopsis plants’. We all enjoyed catching up with colleagues and learning about new discoveries at the meeting. Kyoto is a beautiful city and our Japanese colleagues are great hosts. They showed us different parts of Kyoto and took us out to traditional Japanese restaurants and bars.
Altogether it was an unforgettable experience.
Saskia Hogenhout John Innes Centre
In August 2012 with the support of BSPP I had the opportunity to travel to the MPMI conference in Kyoto, Japan. This was a great opportunity to present my research in PAMP-Triggered Immunity (PTI) to a larger audience.
The conference held an eclectic mix of speakers from a range of different disciplines and it was a chance to see the very wide variety of approaches currently employed to investigate plant – pathogen interactions.
Japan was an amazing country to visit, and the many excursions we had within the conference and the backpacking around japan outside of the meeting was a great experience. I recommend any student who gets the opportunity to attend a conference in Japan to take it!
Thanks again to the BSPP for their support.
Simon Lloyd John Innes Centre
With kind support and funding from the BSPP I was able to attend the IS-MPMI conference in Kyoto, Japan in August 2012. It was a fantastic experience, especially with the knowledge that the Kyoto Protocol had been signed under the same roof several years previously.
Although the poster I presented was one amongst a thousand others, there were brilliant opportunities to talk to people about my research – which involved looking at the survival of human pathogens on plants. Through this, I was able to meet some interesting and diverse scientists from around the world. The plenary sessions were informative, and were well organised and attended. It was particularly fascinating to be around cutting edge research and thinking within the field of plant sciences, and I learned much about the subject that I was able to take back and read up on – which no doubt added to my overall PhD experience. There were a number of highly interesting sessions (too many to actually attend!) although I particularly enjoyed those focussing on endophytes and parasitic plants together with in-depth effector protein categorisation.
Outside of the science, highlights for me included the friendlines s and organisation of the Japanese hosts; the brilliant location which included fantastic gardens that were great for getting some fresh (warm) air in at lunch time; the other activities available and of course the Bento boxes at lunchtime!
I am very glad to have been able to attend and participate in this well organised, international conference – and I am very appreciative of the BSPP for their generous support.