IIGB Plant Biologists Dominate at the Western ASPB Conference


The University of California, Riverside Department of Botany & Plant Sciences swept multiple Graduate and Undergraduate Award categories at the most recent American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Western Section Conference on Saturday, February 3, 2018.

Pablo Martinez (Carolyn Rasmussen lab) was awarded Best Graduate Student Talk for his work using a single-molecule approach to determine how the microtubule-binding protein TANGLED influences the dynamics of cell division.

Rounding out the Best Graduate Student Talk category, Danielle Garceau (Linda Walling lab) received an Honorary Mention for her research using RNA sequencing to elucidate the cassava’s defense-signaling to identify its whitefly-resistance genes.

Irma Ortiz, also in the Walling lab, brought home the Best Graduate Student Poster Award for her use of proteomics-based technologies to characterize the function of LAP-A to control wounding signaling in tomato.

Not only did UCR sweep the Graduate Student Award categories, it also carried the Best Undergraduate Poster Award. Jocelyne Aranda (Rasmussen lab) was recognized for her use of mathematical cell-shape modeling to determine whether a mutant with defects in division plane orientation initiates divisions in predicted locations.

In a tie, Claudia Sepulveda, of the David Nelson lab, was also honored with the Best Poster Award for her research using gene editing technology to characterize the function of KUF1, a gene upregulated by the smoke-derived germination stimulants karrikins.

Founded in 1924, the ASPB is a professional society devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences. It publishes two highly-cited journals and organizes conferences and other activities that are key to the promotion and growth of plant science, including molecular and cellular biology.

Drs. Nelson, Rasmussen, and Walling are all members of UCR’s Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB), in the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, which addresses significant questions in plant biology on a molecular level to meet global challenges such as improved nutrition, increased crop yield, resistance to pests, and sustainable biofuels.

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