The Alfred Mayer Plenary Lecture: JILL FARRANT

The invited plenary lecture presented at the triennial ISSS Workshop is named the ‘A.M. Mayer Plenary Lecture’, in honour of his role in organizing the first international workshop on seeds and his contributions to seed science. This overview lecture on seed biology will be presented by a well-recognized and respected seed researcher.

TALK TITLE: “Seeds as models for novel applications: Production of extremophyte crops and conservation of the unstorable”

Jill Farrant is a full Professor and holds a South African Research Chair in “Systems Biology Studies on Plant Desiccation Tolerance for Food Security” in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town. She is an acknowledged world leader in the field of plant desiccation tolerance (holding a rarely given A rated status by the South African National Research Foundation), working on both seeds and resurrection plants. Her fundamental research involves use of a systems biology approach (using techniques in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology) to understand the protection mechanisms (and regulation thereof) laid down in orthodox seeds and vegetative tissue of resurrection plants, with the ultimate aim of using key protectants identified to make extremely drought tolerant crops. Jills PhD involved investigating developmental aspects of the recalcitrant seeds of Avicennia marina to identify reasons for their desiccation sensitivity and she has recently re-entered this field of investigation. She has received considerable recognition for her research, having achieved 10 national and international awards, the most recent being the L’Oreal-UNESCO award in life sciences (2012) that ‘recognizes women whose exceptional careers in science have opened up new and sometimes revolutionary ways of improving human well-being’ and the EPFL WISH Foundation Erma Hamburger award for ‘ground breaking work in phytology and being a exceptional role model to plant biologists world wide’. Jill has graduated 33 MSc students and 18 PhD students during the 23 years she has been an academic.

The Michael Black Founders Lecture:  OSCAR LORENZO

The Michael Black Founders Lecture is an invited lecture at the triennial ISSS Workshop named in recognition of his efforts in establishing the ISSS. This lecture on an innovative area of research in seed biology will be presented by an establishing researcher, whose research is novel and pioneering.

TALK TITLE: “Molecular framework for nitric oxide (NO) sensing in seeds”

Oscar Lorenzo is full Professor of Plant Physiology and group leader at the Spanish-Portuguese Agriculture Research Institute (CIALE), School of Biology of the University of Salamanca, Spain (one of the oldest Universities in Europe est. 1218). He received his B.S. degree in Biology (1996) and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology (2000) at the University of Salamanca. His research interest has focused on the study of hormonal signaling pathways in plants and their interactions along plant growth and development. During his Ph.D. (supervised by Prof. Gregorio Nicolás and Prof. Dolores Rodríguez) he investigated the regulation of seed dormancy and germination using beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) as a forest model species and Arabidopsis, where contributed to understand the abscisic acid (ABA) signaling pathway in seeds and stress reponses. During his postdoctoral stay (2001-2004) in the Department of Plant Molecular Genetics at the National Center of Biotechnology CNB-CSIC, Madrid (laboratory of Dr. Roberto Solano), he contributed significantly to study the crosstalk and transcriptional regulation of ethylene (ET) signaling and the genetic dissection of the jasmonates (JAs) signaling pathway in Arabidopsis. He returned to the University of Salamanca in 2005 to start his own research group becoming a lecturer in 2007 and actually is part of the european network Seeds for the Future within the EcoSeed project. His current interests focus on the study of the mechanisms of hormonal action and interactions with major regulators of plant growth and development. Specifically, the identification of the molecular components involved in nitric oxide (NO) sensing and signaling related to seed germination, early plant development and role in stem cell niche homeostasis. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications with more than 3,100 citations and supervised 10 PhD Thesis and 47 BSc and MSc students during the last ten years. Finally, he has received two prestigious awards to the best Young Researcher from the Spanish Society of Plant Physiology (SEFV) (2007) and the European Federation of Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB) (2008).

The J. Derek Bewley Career Lecture: KENT J. BRADFORD

An invited lecture at the triennial ISSS Workshop named in recognition of his illustrious career and multiple contributions to seed science. This lecture invites a late career or newly retired seed scientist to provide a retrospective presentation on the field and her/his career with a view to lessons learned and implications for the future.

TALK TITLE: “A seedcentric view of biology”

Kent J. Bradford is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Originally from Texas, he earned his B.S. degree in Biochemistry and M.S. degree in Horticulture from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. degree in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian National University, he joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1982 and served as the Chair of the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1993 to 1998. In 1999 he founded the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center and continues to serve as its director. He received a Fulbright Scholar award in 1999 to teach in Argentina and the Career Seed Science Award from the Crop Science Society of America in 2002. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003, and received the faculty Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis in 2007. He was advanced to Distinguished Professor at UC Davis in 2013. In April 2016, he was a Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy.

Dr. Bradford’s research has spanned diverse areas of seed science from seed germination and conservation to mathematical modeling and molecular biology. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed research and extension articles and book chapters, co-edited three books and co-authored a textbook on seed development, germination, dormancy and storage. His current interests are in the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating seed germination, in mathematical models to describe seed germination and dormancy behavior, in mechanisms of seed deterioration and methods to extend seed longevity, and in seed and food drying and preservation methods, particularly for humid climates. As Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, he supports the creation and commercialization of new technologies to improve crop performance, quality and sustainability and the continuing education of plant breeders and seed industry professionals. He teaches University and Extension courses on plant physiology, seed biology, biotechnology, ethics and philosophy of science.