Fascination of Plants day
The department ran a very successful set of demonstrations at the Fascination of Plants day, held at Harcourt Arboretum. The stands were popular with lots of visitors learning about the work undertaken in the Department. Thanks to Heather and Clemence and the members of the department who manned the stands with such enthusiasm. At least one visitor felt moved to write about her experiences, http://ladymicrobe.com/2013/05/19/international-fascination-of-plants-day-2013/ and even the sun shone!
G E blackman lecture given by Scott Poethig from the University of Pennsylvania
Scott Poethig from the University of Pennsylvania gave the G E Blackman lecture this afternoon. As plants age they go through distinct phases that are defined by changes in their morphology and physiology. This is shown clearly in ivy, where the juvenile leaves are pointed and the adult leaves rounded. Using painstaking genetics, Scott’s lab discovered that two highly conserved micro RNAs regulate these phase changes. More recently he showed that the same microRNAs control phase change in woody plants like Acacia. This indicates that an ancient microRNA network controls phase change in flowering plants and the same mechanism operates in short lived plants like Arabidopsis and long lived woody trees like acacia.
New Professor of Plant Microbiology
Phil Poole will join the Department as Professor of Plant Microbiology 1st September 2013.
Phil is currently a project leader at the John Innes Centre and has made ground breaking discoveries about the physiology of symbiotic bacteria. http://www.jic.ac.uk/profile/philip-poole.asp
Finalist in BBSRC “Impact” award for 2013
The Department of Plant Sciences was one of six finalists selected in the BBSRC’s “Activating Impact” competition, part of the BBSRC’s “Fostering Innovation” awards for 2013. The awards are designed to raise awareness of how biosciences can contribute to society and the economy, and Plant Sciences, together with Oxford’s Research Services and Isis Innovation, was recognized for the teamwork that supported research by Professor Sarah Gurr. It is hoped that Professor Gurr’s research will produce a safe and effective antifungal to treat major crops, and the behind-the-scenes work in the Department, for example, to help with the contracts this has required, came to the attention of the selection panel. There is more information about the competition here http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/people-skills-training/2013/130201-pr-impact-award-finalists-announced.aspx
Graduate student presentations
Last month 5 of our first year graduate students gave presentations to a group of Administrative and Technical support staff within the department.
The presentations were held at the Oxford Botanic Garden and gave the students the opportunity to showcase their research to a non-specialist audience, highlighting the real-world relevance of their DPhil projects. (This session formed part of their assessment module entitled "Getting the public excited about your science".)
The afternoon was a great success and was rounded off with tea and cake in the Conservatory at the Oxford Botanic Garden.