These conference reports are written by the beneficiaries of our travel fund.
Click here to read more about the fund and apply yourself
The conference was held at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies located in the heart of Pisa, Italy. With 47 oral presentations spread over six sessions and more than 80 posters, it was quite an action packed conference covering many aspects of ethylene research. The sessions covered topics dedicated to the role of ethylene in plant growth and differentiation, fruit ripening and quality as well as ethylene biosynthesis, perception and signal transduction. Other important subjects included the role of ethylene in abscission and senescence, biotic and abiotic stresses and the interaction between ethylene and other hormones. A strong focal point was also made on ethylene in biotechnology and applied aspects of this hormone.
Guest speakers included J. J Kieber who explored new ideas into the regulation of ethylene biosynthesis in Arabidopsis by studying etiolated seedlings as a model system to study the stability of ACC synthase (ACS), while D. Van der Straeten gave an overview of her work with the sol1 mutant (semi dwarf with delayed leaf emergence) and suggested that hormone interactions in plants are a puzzle yet to be completed. H. Klee discussed a genetic approach to understanding the control of tomato ripening, which complimented the fruit development and ripening talks by J. J Giovannoni and M Bouzayan. Guest speakers in the biotic and abiotic stresses section included R Voesenek who demonstrated that hyponastic growth is induced by ethylene and low light conditions, with both abscisic acid (ABA) and auxin (IAA) being important in the cascade leading to hyponastic growth. In addition, C. M. J Pieterse spoke about rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance (ISR) and demonstrated that ISR-expressing plants are primed for amplified expression of pathogen-inducible genes, which may allow the plant to react more efficiently to a broad range of pathogens. Other guest speakers included P Tonutti, M. Ohme-Takagi and S. Patterson. After each topic there were discussion sessions in which I actively took part. In addition poster sessions provided a forum of discussion after each tropic.
I contributed to the ‘biotic and abiotic stresses’ session with both an oral presentation entitled ‘Metabolic approaches to understand ethylene mediated defences in Arabidopsis against Botrytis cinerea‘ and a poster presentation with expanded detail of the system and the approach selected. The feedback I received was extremely useful and I am now putting some of these suggestions into motion. The meeting brought together leaders in the field from all over the world which resulted in a stimulating networking opportunity and has resulted in possible collaboration with fellow researchers. In addition to myself, the University of Wales Aberystwyth was represented by Luis A. J Mur, who contributed with both an oral and poster presentation.
I feel this conference has benefited me tremendously as I now feel more confident with my work and happier to discuss my ideas with others. I have also been asked to submit my oral presentation as a paper to be published in the conference proceedings. I would like to express my thanks to the BSPP Travel Fund for sponsoring my attendance at this important meeting.
Amanda J. Lloyd, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Aberystwyth, Wales.