As of January 31, 2023. Subject to change.

Friday, August 4 (virtual)

Bringing FAIR Data into the Classroom
10:00 – 10:30 AM

Plant biologists generate myriad types of important data, from genetics to genomics to breeding to phenotypes. Ensuring that data complies with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles is a priority for funding agencies, publishers, and the overall scientific community. The AgBioData Education working group has built an open access educational curriculum to explore the current plant biology database ecosystem and communicate concrete recommendations for FAIR data handling. Teachers can incorporate the slides, videos, and/or hands on exercises into undergraduate and graduate classrooms.

The curriculum covers how to find data, how to use it, and how to share it back to the community. This workshop will feature presentations about the curriculum from the AgBioData RCN educational working group and a question-and-answer session to explore curriculum and educational gaps that still need to be filled.  

Networking into an Industrial, Federal, or Academic Job
10:00 – 11:30 AM

For this workshop, three diverse early career researchers will be recruited to share with attendees the role networking played in helping them obtain their current position as industrial, federal, or academic researchers. At least one panelist will be recruited for each research domain.

The following outline will be followed during the workshop:
10 min. – The workshop organizers will introduce the panelists and discuss the workshop format
30 min. – Each panelist will give a presentation on how networking helped them get their job
20 min. – Attendees will be permitted to ask the panelists questions about their experience
10 min. – The workshop organizers will provide attendees with and review a handout outlining common approaches for networking in industrial, federal, and academic positions. Both the similarities and differences among these three domains will be discussed. 
20 min. – To conclude, the participants will engage in a mix-and-mingle where they can practice networking with each other, the organizers, and the panelists.

Segmentation Techniques and Challenges in Plant Phenotyping: Introducing the iPlantSeg+ Tool
 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Segmentation is the process of partitioning a digital image into multiple homogeneous regions by grouping pixels based on similarity in terms of intensity, texture, or color. Segmentation is an indispensable prerequisite for computing plant phenotypes. The quality of segmentation is critical to accurate phenotype computation and subsequent phenotype-genotype mapping. The workshop will have two components: (A) a presentation of segmentation techniques used for plant phenotyping in both controlled and field-based phenotyping platforms; and (B) an interactive session to introduce a software tool named iPlantSeg+ to facilitate image segmentation and compute a set of generic phenotypes.

A. The presentation will include segmenting foreground from images captured by visible light  cameras as well as less explored imaging modalities, e.g., infrared, near-infrared, fluorescent, and hyperspectral. It will demonstrate techniques to segment the whole plant or its structures for holistic (e.g., plant height, plant aspect ratio) and component phenotyping (e.g., leaf length, leaf curvature, stem angle). A set of traditional segmentation methods (e.g., frame differencing, color thresholding, spectral difference, graph-based) and a set of learning-based segmentation methods (e.g., clustering-based, neural network-based) will be presented using plant images.

B. This interactive session will introduce the iPlantSeg+ tool to compute phenotypes followed by segmentation. It provides a menu of both interactive and automated segmentation methods, thus allowing the users to select an algorithm and mode best suited for a particular application. It performs accurate segmentation of plants with thin structures in the presence of cluttered backgrounds and stores the phenotypes in a database.

Saturday, August 5

PUI Faculty Development Workshop
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

This workshop is for faculty currently working at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) or early career scientists who are interested in a career at a PUI. PUIs are defined as institutions that offer few or no PhDs in the sciences. While teaching and service are a large part of being a PUI faculty member, maintaining a successful research program is also critical for career advancement, and for providing undergraduates with high-caliber research experiences. This workshop will include a panel of scientists from various funding agencies and discussions on strategies for PUI faculty to successfully receive funding for their research projects. There will be small-group conversations and working groups dedicated to funding strategies that are designed to specifically address the needs of PUI faculty.

The Role of Science Communication in Enhancing Adoption of Innovative Technologies in Agriculture (Part 1)
10:00 – 11:00 AM

The sustainable intensification of agriculture through the adoption of new  technologies has the potential to address the challenges of current agricultural systems. Plant science research in the last decade has increased our understanding of current challenges and has provided tools and platforms for the application of innovative technologies such as genetic engineering and genome editing, cellular agriculture and precision farming. Yet, these technologies still struggle to hold to the original promise due to sluggish adoption linked to poor information flow from research to end-users. There is little effort in technical training and packaging information on agricultural technologies in forms that policymakers, farmers, and consumers can adequately understand. Ineffective communication strategies stymie the adoption of scientific innovation and technologies in plant science, causing unanticipated economic losses from crop production as well as diminishing trust in science. Re-visiting the role of science communication in supporting technology adoption in agriculture is critical for the adoption of innovation in agriculture, particularly in regions highly affected by poor agricultural practices.  The workshop organized by the African Researchers Network aims to bring together the international scientific community to discuss the main challenges associated with science communication to policymakers, farmers and consumers and brainstorm on potential solutions to enhance adoption of technologies. The workshop will also feature an agricultural technology hackathon to stimulate participants to develop ideas that can be translated into impacts in the field.

Undergraduate Poster and Networking Session
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

The Undergraduate Poster and Networking Session will give undergraduates the opportunity to present their abstract posters in a smaller setting before moving to the larger poster hall. It will also give them an opportunity to make connections with other undergraduates and other attendees early in the conference that they can continue throughout the conference and into their education and careers.

Sunday, August 6

Career Jungle Gym in a Post-pandemic World
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

In this post-pandemic era, where the world changes at a faster pace, we need to view our career as a dynamic jungle gym, always changing, and not as the traditional ladder. Even if it sounds counter-intuitive, reaching for the next rung of the ladder might not be the safest and the most ideal step. With this professional development workshop, we want to reinforce the idea that career choices are not dichotomous, but instead many exciting and valid options exist.

This workshop will explore diverse career tracks in science that are not often obvious to new graduate students or postdoctoral scientists. To address this knowledge gap, the workshop will be composed of panelists who are working as senior/staff scientists in non-profit organizations, botanical gardens, science editors, chief scientific officers in start-up organizations, and liaison officers in funding organizations. The panelists will discuss strategies for building skills and networks for specific career tracks, and highlight how trainees can take advantage of available opportunities to create their desired careers. To make sure that we tailor this experience to our audience, prior to the workshop, we will collect questions from the attendees through a survey and provide the top questions to the panelists for leading the workshop discussion. Workshop participants will also be able to ask their own questions that have not been addressed. Through this workshop, participants will be able to have tangible goals and resources for navigating non-traditional career tracks with their science degrees.

Considering Impacts of Artificial Intelligence in Scientific Publication and Beyond
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly expanded beyond obscure data analysis to free and commercial products that can generate realistic written documents and imagery when given prompts from a user. Undoubtedly, AI is transforming many areas of publication, and the scientific community needs to take note and be proactive in considering the opportunities, challenges, and ethics. AI could level the playing field by allowing more authors tools to improve clarity of writing, and on the other hand could be used for gatekeeping when used for screening papers. Prompt-based generation of realistic text opens questions about authorship, plagiarism, and accuracy, while generative art (or imagery) may allow unethical fabrication of primary evidence such as gels. This workshop hosted by editors of ASPB journals and an expert in AI will evaluate the impacts of AI in scientific publication, with goals to increase dialogue on the topic and to work towards a joint publication. Specific focus on impacts on diversity, equity, and inclusion in science will be highlighted.

Image Integrity Workshop
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Images such as micrographs, photos of plants, and pictures of electrophoretic gels and blots are often at the core of scientific publications in plant biology. Digital imaging and easy access to image modification software has led to increased concern among the scientific community and the public about the authenticity and reliability of this form of data. This is heightened by increasing numbers of retracted papers containing incorrect images and can lower the overall trust in science. The cause for inaccurate image presentation is not always fraudulent misconduct. Instead, ignorance regarding appropriate image processing or honest mistakes are more prevalent, and seemingly innocent ‘beautifying’ of images to increase their aesthetic appeal can easily impair their scientific validity.

In this fully interactive workshop we will discuss the dos and don’ts of ethical image processing. It is targeted at authors, reviewers, editors, and readers of scientific publications. All sections will involve group discussions and will be hands-on for the participants to improve their skills in preparing and assessing image-based data. The participants will learn about common figure policies of academic journals and how to apply them to their own work to avoid image manipulation concerns. They will have ample opportunity to train their competency in identifying image manipulations and detecting inappropriate image duplications, which is essential when assessing the quality and reliability of papers as a reader or reviewer. We will also address how open data strategies and use of artificial intelligence can contribute to these processes. Different options for reporting suspected image manipulations in published articles will be discussed within the group and the participants are encouraged to share their own experience in image-related concerns during the publication process or post publication. We will also provide insight into the processes that can follow when a journal is alerted to potential image-related misconduct.

The workshop will be useful for everyone who reads, writes, or reviews academic articles and no previous experience in using image processing tools is required to take part.

Plant Bioinformatics Resources for FAIR Agricultural Data Discovery and Reuse
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Advances in agricultural research increasingly depend on data driven discovery and the amount of data being generated is increasing exponentially. 

For this data to be maximally useful, researchers need to know what data is out there, how to use it, and how to share it back to the community. This workshop will introduce and update plant biologists to a variety of digital bioinformatics resources, such as community databases, data repositories, online bioinformatics tools and knowledge bases that provide equitable access to structured, integrated data and analytic tools. These resources enable researchers to more quickly generate hypotheses, design experiments and analyze data.  This workshop will feature overview presentations from the AgBioData RCN and member digital resources, followed by a  panel discussion on community needs, challenges, and database support for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data compliance.

The workshop is presented by members of the AgBioData Consortium Research Coordination Network, which aims to ensure that Genetic, Genomic and Breeding (GGB) data is available and accessible in the long term.

US Funding Agencies Session
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Monday, August 7

Negotiating Success! How to be a Self-Advocate
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Self-advocacy and negotiation skills are essential regardless of which path a young academic will choose. From projects to publication authorship to salary, the ability to advocate for oneself is a skill to be learned like any other. Most young professionals find the idea of negotiating a salary and benefits to be an overwhelming and foreign concept. As a result, many new PhDs opt not to negotiate and begin their post graduate career underpaid and frustrated. This event will begin with a 30 minute short seminar and panel discussion on self-advocacy and negotiation. After the introductory activity, attendees will spend 20 minutes working in groups of 4-6 to mock “self-advocate” their way through several pre-planned scenarios presented to them as the panelists move among them to answer questions. Over the final 10 minutes, each team will be asked to either ask questions or highlight 1-2 key takeaways from the exercise within the larger group.

Scenario 1: Navigating conversations about authorship
Scenario 2: Self-advocacy in salary negotiations
Scenario 3: Advocating for your academic progress; let me graduate!

EEPP Science & Friends
12:00 – 1:00 PM

If you are interested in linking whole-plant, leaf or root, and molecular scales or in understanding plant environmental responses, welcome home! We will highlight current work of early career researchers and a keynote speaker in the field of plant environmental physiology. We will provide members and interested participants with up-to-date information about recent and upcoming activities planned by the section, and future goals of the section and how this fits into the broader ASPB community. The Environmental and Ecological Plant Physiology (EEPP) section was the first theme-based section within the American Society of Plant Biologists. This section represents anyone interested in the broad category that our name implies. This section exists to provide a place to integrate leaf and plant- level responses to biotic and abiotic stress under field and laboratory conditions, to set molecular physiology in an ecological context, or to provide a basis for scaling root and shoot level responses to canopy, ecosystem and region for crops or natural vegetation. The mission of the section is to advance and promote the science and practice of Environmental and Ecological Plant Physiology. The other goal of our meeting is to provide time for lightning talks from early career researchers who were not selected to speak in a concurrent or plenary session but who represent the diversity of members and research interests in EEPP.

Creating and Integrating Plant Scientist Spotlights in the Classroom (and Beyond)
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Scientist Spotlights allow educators to showcase scientific contributions in order to engage students. These short stories, paired with metacognitive questions, are useful for highlighting underrepresented topics and individuals and promote inclusion and representation in science (Schinske et al. 2017, Aranda et al. 2020). They can be easily integrated into existing curricula and can be targeted to wide audiences. However, although plants are critical aspects of our survival on earth, plant science remains underrepresented in science education. Plant scientists have contributed many important interdisciplinary discoveries, but this work is rarely visible to students and teachers. Of the >500 Scientist Spotlights currently available on, fewer than 20 currently feature plant scientists, and creating new Spotlights requires a time commitment that many teachers cannot afford. To combat these barriers, this workshop will allow participants to learn about, create, and implement Spotlights onsite. Participants will use internet research and live interviews to create their Spotlights. Completed Spotlights will be curated and disseminated online, adding to a community-generated body of educational resources. Finally, participants will learn how to use Scientist Spotlights in their own courses and how to guide students through creating their own Spotlights. Educators, aspiring educators, and research scientists who wish to generate content for the educational community and promote underrepresented science and scientists are all encouraged to attend.

The Role of Science Communication in Enhancing Adoption of Innovative Technologies in Agriculture (Part 2)
12:00 – 1:00 PM

The sustainable intensification of agriculture through the adoption of new  technologies has the potential to address the challenges of current agricultural systems. Plant science research in the last decade has increased our understanding of current challenges and has provided tools and platforms for the application of innovative technologies such as genetic engineering and genome editing, cellular agriculture and precision farming. Yet, these technologies still struggle to hold to the original promise due to sluggish adoption linked to poor information flow from research to end-users. There is little effort in technical training and packaging information on agricultural technologies in forms that policymakers, farmers, and consumers can adequately understand. Ineffective communication strategies stymie the adoption of  scientific innovation and technologies in plant science, causing unanticipated economic losses from crop production as well as diminishing trust in science. Re-visiting the role of science communication in supporting technology adoption in agriculture is critical for the adoption of innovation in agriculture, particularly in regions highly affected by poor agricultural practices. The workshop organized by the African Researchers Network aims to bring together the international scientific community to discuss the main challenges associated with science communication to policymakers, farmers and consumers and brainstorm on potential solutions to enhance adoption of technologies. The workshop will also feature an agricultural technology hackathon to stimulate participants to develop ideas that can be translated into impacts in the field.

Tuesday, August 8

Entering Leadership Roles
AM – 12:30 PM

The “leaky pipeline” problem in career advancement for women in science is most evident in leadership positions. Contributing to this problem might be the lack of knowledge of what these leadership positions entail and the pros and cons of such roles. The goals of the workshop would be (1) to make the path to a leadership role more transparent and (2) to provide personal accounts of different experiences in leadership positions. 

How to Create Your Mentoring Network
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Quality mentoring has a positive impact on research productivity and satisfaction of early career scientists. However, building a mentoring network is challenging for early career scientists. First, there is still a widely perceived idea that there is a need to identify an all knowing mentor to address all mentoring needs, making it difficult to decide who might be a good candidate. Second, although ASPB has an online networking platform to help identify willing mentors, this platform is not widely used. In this workshop we will provide a short overview on networking strategies (including mapping out your mentoring network) and introduce success stories of using the ASPB networking platform. 

We will also provide a networking opportunity by selecting mentors willing to provide input in different topics.

Practical Aspects of Complying with US Regulations on
Genetically Engineered and Genome Edited Plants  
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

In 2020 USDA-APHIS issued new regulations covering the import, movement and release of genetically engineered organisms, including those that developed using genome editing tools. These regulations have several significant changes from previous policies in terms of scope and operational aspects and certain plants may now be subject to the regulations. Plant science researchers in various settings need to be aware of the scope of the regulations, have practical knowledge of how to comply with them and where to go when they have questions.  USDA and regulatory staff from various private sector developers will share information about the revised regulations and their application in practice.

Writing Your Diversity Statement
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Diversity statements are being used more and more as supplements to different academic applications. This includes graduate school, fellowships, scholarships, and faculty positions at many universities. This workshop will start with an introduction explaining why diversity statements are important and how they are used by hiring committees to evaluate candidates. The middle of the workshop will be used for small group breakouts. These groups will go over different successful diversity statements from various career stages and discuss what was viewed favorably and what could be improved. For the final portion of the workshop, there will be a discussion on everyone’s thoughts about the statements before finishing with a short presentation summarizing key points for a successful diversity statement.