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Review: Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium on occasion of the institute's 60th anniversary

Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium

The IPB was pleased to welcome many guests to their Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium in Halle. (Photo: IPB)

For the fourth time in a row, the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) hosted the Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium in Halle, Germany, from 28 to 30 May, 2018. This year, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the institute, the annual symposium was somewhat larger. High-profile speakers from Germany, the USA, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium attracted more than 150 guests.

The topic of this year's symposium centered around plant hormones - a topic that is integral to research at IPB. "For the past 60 years, IPB researchers have been studying almost every plant hormone," said Steffen Abel, Managing Director of the IPB, in his welcome speech, in which he made a short excursion into the history of the institute. Ralph Bock from the Max Planck Institute Potsdam-Golm then opened the symposium with an exciting evening lecture on horizontal gene and genome transfer. This process, which also occurs in nature, has great potential for plant breeding, said Bock in his presentation.

On the following days, plant hormone specialists Mark Estelle (UC San Diego), José Alonso (North Carolina State University, Raleigh), Eric Schaller (Dartmouth College), and Gregg Howe (Michigan State University, East Lansing), USA, talked about their current research on the plant hormones auxin, ethylene, cytokinin and jasmonate, whereby again and again the crosstalk of the different plant hormones was discussed. While the signaling pathway of each plant hormone is already quite well known, future research will focus on the signaling networks of hormones and regulatory mechanisms, the scientists agreed. Thomas Schmüllung (FU Berlin) and Erwin Grill (TU Munich) presented research that aims to improve crops. By adjusting the signaling pathways of hormones like abscisic acid or cytokinin, they could evetnually produce more robust and stress-resistant varieties. Furthermore, Saskia van Wees (Utrecht University, NL) and Jean-Michel Davière talked about their insights on regulatory networks and transport of hormones and Uta Paszkowski (University of Cambridge, UK), Catherine Rameau (INRA Versailles, FR), and Sofie Goormachtig (VIB Ghent, BE) reported on their research on one of the most recently discovered plant hormones, strigolactone. Almost every seat was taken in the lecture hall of the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Development in Transformation Economies (IAMO) on the campus Heide-Süd. Scientists from the IPB, the neighboring institutes of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, as well as universities and research institutes from all over Germany followed the stimulating lectures and used the opportunity for discussions and networking during breaks.

In addition to this scientific highlight, on the second day of the symposium, the IPB staff celebrated the 60th anniversary of the institute with a barbecue. The musical enjoyment was provided by a woodwind quintet of musicians from the University's Academic Orchestra, which Alain Tissier, Head of the Department of Metabolism and Cell Biology at the IPB, had put together. Also on the occasion of the anniversary, Sylvia Pieplow, IPB press officer, reissued the IPB history book, expanded it with the history of the last 10 years, and was able to present it just in time for the symposium under the title "60 Jahre Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie".

The institute looks back on a thoroughly successful anniversary symposium and would like to sincerely thank all the speakers, guests and contributors.

Photo 1: The participants of the Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium 2018.
Photo 2: Twelve renowned speakers from the field of plant hormone research presented at this year's symposium. Here, Erwin Grill from the Technical University of Munich starts his lecture.
Photo 3: During the breaks, there was plenty opportunity to catch up with colleagues.
Photo 4: At the anniversary barbecue, a wind quintet led by Alain Tissier played.
Photos: IPB.

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