Student-Run DuPont Plant Sciences Symposium Series Kicks Off at University of Missouri

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The first of the 2017 student-run DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series will kick off Feb. 2 at Mizzou

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We empower students to drive their own agendas. In the process, they learn new things along the way and network with scientists and academics around the world and with other students who will eventually be their colleagues.

The first of the 2017 student-run DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series will kick off Feb. 2 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri (MU) campus.

With the theme of “Building the Bridge from Fundamental Research to Improving Tomorrow’s Crops,” the event will be the first of 30 DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia events in 2017. To date, more than 25 institutions across five continents have produced more than 65 events through the series. The symposiums’ fundamental objective is to serve as a means of networking for the students who will one day become leaders of the plant science fields.

David Jackson, a plant geneticist from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, will present a keynote address from 1-2 p.m. CT. Among the long list of accomplishments of Jackson’s lab is the creation of a collection of transgenic lines of corn that have led to unprecedented ease of experimenting on corn plants.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, has been entirely produced by a team of six graduate students at MU: four from the Division of Plant Sciences at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and two from the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science.

They have been advised by Tim Beissinger, an adjunct assistant professor of plant sciences at MU, who helped produce a symposium event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 as a graduate student.

“It gave me, as a student – and it will give these students, a lot of exposure to the plant breeding industry,” said Beissinger, who also serves as a research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. “They’ve done everything. It’s impressive. I left it up to them intentionally and they’ve really run with it.”

The symposium, which also is being funded in part by the Division of Plant Sciences, Division of Biological Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Plant Group, allows for travel awards for students from counterpart universities to attend the event. The planning committee expects student attendees from as many as six U.S. universities and Mexican universities, as well as the International Maize and Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico.

“We empower students to drive their own agendas,” said Tabaré Abadie, senior research manager, DuPont Pioneer, who has been in charge of overseeing the events since the first one began at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2008. “In the process, they learn new things along the way and network with scientists and academics around the world and with other students who will eventually be their colleagues.”

The symposium will feature speakers from DuPont Pioneer, the Division of Plant Sciences and other experts in the field such as Jackson.

Speakers include:

  •     Gary Stacey, Joint Curators Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences and Biochemistry, University of Missouri
  •     Blake Meyers, joint professor of plant sciences, University of Missouri and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis
  •     Amit Sethi, insect resistance researcher, DuPont Pioneer
  •     Diane Janick-Buckner, professor of biological sciences, Truman State University

Those who cannot attend in-person will be able to listen in as a webinar. Registration begins at 8 a.m. CT. The closing remarks are set to take place at 3:30 p.m. CT. For more information and a complete event agenda, visit http://mupioneersymposium.org. For additional information on the DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series: http://www.pioneer/Symposia.

DuPont Pioneer is the world’s leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success®.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.

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1/25/17

Editor’s note: Interviews with Tim Beissinger, adjunct assistant professor of plant sciences, or Dalton Ludwick, the chair of the event planning committee, can be made in advance. In addition, they can be available during a break from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. on the day of the symposium upon request in advance.

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Susan Mantey
DuPont
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Stephen Schmidt
University of Missouri
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