It is estimated that, by 2050, global food production needs to grow by 70% in order to meet with projected world population of 9.8 billion. Feeding the future population with sustainable agriculture while facing extreme climate changes, such as heat, flood, draught as well as emerging pathogens and pests, became the pressing issue. In the past two decades, molecular genetics of model plant species has unraveled key genes and pathways underlying plant growth, development, and environmental response. Harnessing cross-disciplinary research collaboration and advanced technologies (e.g. chemistry, structural biology, computational biology, systems and synthetic biology), we aim to probe and manipulate plant growth and resilience for our future. This virtual symposium seeks plants of the future through leading scientists taking unique approaches.

Organizers: Enamul Huq & Keiko Torii

Department of Molecular Sciences,
The University of Texas at Austin

Yuichiro Tsuchiya, Ph.D.

Nagoya University

Lucia Strader, Ph.D.

Duke University

Hong Qiao, Ph.D.

The University of Texas at Austin

Sean Cutler, Ph.D.

University of California,


Brian Gregory, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Hailing Jin, Ph.D.

University of California,


Libo Shan, Ph.D.

Texas A&M University

Edward Marcotte, Ph.D.

The University of Texas at Austin


9:00 am CDT (10:00 am EDT; 7:00 am PDT)   Opening Remarks, Daniel Leahy, Chair, MBS

Session 1        New Frontiers in Plant Hormones

9:15 - 9:50 am           Yuichiro Tsuchiya

                                 Manipulating strigolactone receptors in parasitic plant Striga hermonthica     

                                 with small molecules

9:55 -10:30 am          Lucia Strader

                          Fantastic ARFs and where to find them: regulation of auxin response

10:35 - 11:10 am       Hong Qiao

                                 Chromatin & transcription regulation in plant hormone and stress responses 


11:15 - 11:30 am       Short break (bathroom break, coffee break): 


Keynote Session


11:30 - 12:20 pm       Sean Cutler

                                 New tools for dynamically maximizing crop productivity


12:20 ~12:55 pm              Lunch break 


Session 2        RNA World


12:55 -1:30 pm             Brian Gregory

                                  Messenger RNA 5’ NAD+ capping is a dynamic regulatory epitranscriptome

                                  mark that is required for proper response to abscisic acid

1:35 -2:10 pm             Hailing Jin

                                  Cross-Kingdom RNAi between plants and fungal pathogens


2:15-2:40 - Asking career questions to Speakers/Break  2x moderators: TBA


Session 3         Emerging Protein Complex & Signaling


2:40 - 3:15 pm            Libo Shan

                                  Plant cell surface immune receptor signaling


3:20-3:55 pm              Edward Marcotte

                                  Evolution and the proteome: mapping the biochemical machinery shared

                                  across plants and beyond

3:55 pm-                     Closing Remarks, Enamul Huq & Keiko Torii

4 pm                           Departure