The Mid-Atlantic Section

Welcome to ASPB’s Mid-Atlantic Sectional Society. States Included: The District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

MAS-ASPB and the UMD Plant Symposium will hold a joint meeting on May 30 and 31, 2019 on the College Park campus.


The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, College Park Room 0224


University of Maryland

4139 Fieldhouse Drive

College Park, MD 20742 


MAS-ASPB and PSLA, CBMG, IBBR of University of Maryland, and other shown below

Features of the Meeting

The meeting program will include 17 invited talks, 12 shorted talks selected from submitted abstracts, poster sessions, and an evening session on career development. The meeting talks are organized into 6 sessions including plant development, plant cell biology, plant genomics, and Plant engineering and beyond.

Notably, the meeting will feature with two special lectures from the ASPB current president Dr. Robert Last from Michigan State University, and Dr. Xinnian Dong from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University.

Preliminary Program:

Day One   Thursday, May 30, 2019 

8:00-9:00         Registration

9:00-9:05         Welcome — Shunyuan Xiao

9:05-10:40       Session I: Plant Development (session chair: Caren Chang)

9:05-9:30         Zhongchi Liu (University of Maryland College Park):

Consensus co-expression network guided functional studies in wild strawberry reproductive development

9:30-9:55         Zach Nimchuk (University of North Carolina):

Wiring plant development through receptor kinase signaling circuits

9:55-10:20       Erin Sparks (University of Delaware):

Optimizing aerial roots for plant stability

10:20-10:30     Student/postdoc #1. Title TBA

10:30-10:40     Student/postdoc #2. Title TBA

10:40-11:10    Break

11:10-12:45    Session II: Plant Cell Biology (session chair: Wendy Peer)

11:10-11:35     Kim Gallagher (University of Pennsylvania):

Symplastic signaling in root development.

11:35-12:00     Jung-Youn Lee (University of Delaware):

Toward decoding plasmodesmal targeting and signaling

12:00-12:25     Jeff Caplan (University of Delaware):

Stromule-guided chloroplast movement during plant innate immunity

12:25-12:35     Student/postdoc #3. Title TBA

12:35-12:45     Student/postdoc #4. Title TBA

12:45-2:15       Lunch and Poster Session

2:15-3:00         Special Lecture from ASPB President, Dr. Robert Last (host: Mark Holland)

Networks: why membership matters in metabolism and life

3:00-4:35         Session III: Plant Genomics (Session Chair: Steve Mount)

3:00-3:25         Michael Gore (Cornell University):

Insights into the genetic control of vitamin levels in maize grain

3:25-3:50         Vijay Tiwari  (University of Maryland College Park)

Translational research for wheat improvement in the post-genomics era

3:50-4:15         Clay Wright (Virginia Tech):

Getting to the root of genotype—phenotype relationships using natural variation and synthetic biology

4:15-4:25         Student/postdoc #5 Title TBA

4:25-4:35         Student/postdoc #6 Title TBA 

4:35-6:30         Poster Session & Refreshments, dinner on your own 

7:00-8:30         Career Development Panel Discussion


Day Two   Friday, May 31, 2019

9:00-10:10       Session IV: Plant Biotic Interaction (session chair: Nidhi Rawat)

9:00-9:25         Xiaofeng Wang (Virginia Tech):

Protein, lipid, and membrane interactions in positive-strand RNA virus genome replication

9:25-9:50         Michael Axtell (Penn State University):

Inter-species microRNAs from the parasitic plant Cuscuta target host mRNAs involved in defense signaling and phloem function

9:50-10:00       Student/postdoc #7 Title TBA

10:00-10:10     Student/postdoc #8 Title TBA

10:10-10:40    Break 

10:40-12:00     Session V: Plant Engineering (session chair: Yiping Qi)

10:40-11:05                 Derek Bartlem (KWS-USA)

Beyond the mechanism – increasing the commercial feasibility of genome editing

11:05-11:30                 Qiudeng Que (Syngenta):

Simultaneous genome editing and haploid induction enables direct editing of elite crop germplasm

11:30-11:40     Student/postdoc #9 Title TBA

11:40-11:50     Student/postdoc #10 Title TBA 

12:00-1:30       Lunch and Poster Session 

1:30- 2:40        Session VI : Population genetics & beyond (Session chair: Ed Eisenstein)

1:30-1:55         Wenbin Mei (INARI Agriculture)

Population genetics of structural variation in plants

1:55-2:20     Walter Nelson (KeyGene-USA)

KeyGene: Driving Crop Innovation

2:20-2:30         Student/postdoc #11 Title TBA

2:30-2:40         Student/postdoc #12 Title TBA

2:40-2:50         Break

2:50- 3:50        Keynote address Xinnian Dong (Duke University) (host by Shunyuan Xiao)

Live and let die: A defense strategy in plants 

3:50-4:00         Awards, Acknowledgements and Closing 


Registration & Abstract Submission

ASPB/UMD Registration & Abstract Submission

 ASPB/UMD Registration Payment (Eventbrite)

Registration includes receptions, luncheons, dinner, and coffee breaks.  Both the form and the payment must be received in order for registration to be complete. Attendees may also have the option to pay registration fee onsite via check made payable to the University of Maryland or cash.

Hotel Accommodations:

We have partnered with two hotels in the College Park, MD area to offer special rates for ASPB/UMD joint minisymposium attendees.

The Cambria Hotel (You may click on the link provided to reserve rooms or call the front desk directly at 301-595-2600 (option 0), group code 3700670).

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (deadline to reserve room with the special rate at the Marriott is 5.3.19). Call: (301) 985-7300 and reference ASPB/UMD Joint Minisymposium.

Thank you to the following event sponsors:


KeyGene, Frontiers in Plant Science, American Society of Plant Biologists, Longwood Gardens.


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