This year's Department of Plant Biology retreat was held October 1st through 3rd at the beautiful Stanford Sierra Center at Fallen Leaf Lake, near Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra mountains. The retreat was attended by approximately 100 faculty, students, postdocs and support staff, representing nearly the entire Department. Keynote lectures were given by our new President Matt Scott on Hedgehog signaling in development, and by Stanford BioEngineering Professor Christina Smolke on engineering plant metabolic pathways into yeast. Other guest faculty included Mary Beth Mudgett from Stanford Biology and Drew Endy from Stanford Bioengineering.
Nearly all attendees presented their research either as a talk or as a poster. The core of the conference consisted of ~40 remarkably exciting 12-minute talks. Additionally, ~50 poster presenters each gave a 1-minute/1-slide "pitch" which served as a lightning advertisement of their poster. These pitches were of outstanding quality.
During a 3-hour break on the second day of the conference, attendees enjoyed hiking and kayaking on the lake.
Many awards were presented at the retreat. Cindy Ast and Lily Cheung (Frommer lab) were recognized for their leadership of the Summer Intern program. Jelmer Lindeboom from (Ehrhardt lab) and Luke Mackinder (Jonikas lab) were awarded McClintock Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Lina Duan (Dinneny lab) was named a Cecil & Ida Green Senior Fellow. Honorary mentions went to Thomas Hartwig, Nidhi Sharma and Flavia Bossi. Prizes for best talks went to Andrew Klein (Sattley lab), Juliana Matos (Bergmann Lab), and Cindy Ast (Frommer lab). Prizes for best posters went to Zoe Dubrow (Stanford undergraduate in the Mudgett Lab), Tingting Xiang (Grossman Lab) and Bi-Huei Hou (Frommer lab). It should be noted that the judges had an extremely hard time choosing the winners due to the very large number of fantastic presentations.
We would like to thank Wei-Chuan Kao for her tireless help with the retreat logistics; Wolf Frommer for supporting the retreat; Bi-Huei Hou for fundraising; the sponsors GenScript, Quintarabio, BioLine, and Gilson for their support; Nina Ivanova and Rebecca Yue for help with registration; Tyler Wittkopp, Xiaobo Li, and Thomas Hartwig for organizing the 1-minute pitches; Devaki Bhaya, Winslow Briggs, Jose Dinneny and Sue Rhee for judging talks and posters; Nancy Harrison and her team at the Stanford Sierra Center for providing an outstanding environment for the retreat; and all of the presenters for doing such a great job!
- Martin Jonikas and Arthur Grossman, 2014 DPB retreat co-organizers