XIV International Congress on MPMI

​June 19–23, 2009 • Québec, Canada

Vive le Québec! The XIV International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

From June 19 to June 23, 2009, the charming and lively city of Québec, Canada, and Laval University hosted the XIV International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Québec was full of life and contagious energy with the Summer Festival at its best, the streets filled with visitors, and all varieties of fine arts, concerts, and prime street spectacles. This fun environment was also the ideal setting to witness top-quality science offered by the scientific program presented at the XIV Congress. There were 956 participants coming from nearly 50 different countries. The congress was considered a great success by most attendees and about 92% would recommend this meeting to others in this area of study.
 
The congress presented cutting-edge science, establishing new collaborations and networking opportunities with colleagues in the diverse fields of plant-microbe interactions. In particular, it was very exciting to know that 50% of the attendees were students and young scientists! Also exciting was the fact that IS-MPMI’s membership reached the 1,000-member mark for the first time ever—a clear sign of the vitality, growth, and expansion of the scientific frontier in the field of plant-microbe interactions.
 
Highlights from the 2009 Congress include the opening lecture given by Luis Sequeira, who stressed the urgent need to rapidly increase translational biology in the field of molecular plant-microbe interactions, particularly to manage an imminent grain shortage resulting from the accelerated spread of devastating diseases affecting both wheat and citrus crops. Another highlight was the presentation given by Jeff Dangl, who was this year’s recipient of the 2009 IS-MPMI Award in recognition of his pioneering and insightful work unraveling the signaling pathways that plants trigger in defense of pathogens. Dangl is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and associate director of the Carolina Center for Genome Science. He served on the MPMI Editorial Board for 11 years. This year, he also received the important Stephen Hales Prize from the American Society of Plant Biologists.
 
According to attendees, pathogenic interactions, common host mechanisms, signaling and molecular dialogues, and plant immunity were highly ranked plenary sessions; nearly 90% considered these sessions in particular the most informative, stating that they met, exceeded, or greatly exceeded their expectations. Likewise, attendees indicated that the most informative concurrent sessions were those highlighting molecular dialogues, microbe effector proteins, programmed cell death, and emerging technologies. Indeed, the unraveling of the functions performed by the effector proteins delivered by pathogens and symbionts into plant-host cells is a major achievement in the field. Consequently, this major leap is providing new directions and insights into plant immunity and defense mechanisms from a molecular
viewpoint. Additionally, more than 85% of surveyed participants considered the number of concurrent and plenary sessions favorable, suggesting the expanding interest in this field. Indeed, the high-quality and vast information that is presented at the poster session is a key traditional element of interest and a guaranteed success at the biennual IS-MPMI Congress.
 
This year, social events included a welcome reception, a boat trip on the St. Lawrence River, and the final banquet and show with traditional, delicious food and music from a local folk band of young and gifted family musicians.
 
At the closing ceremony, the presidency was passed from Federico Sanchez to the newly elected President Felice Cervone Ko Shimamoto announced that the next IS-MPMI Congress will be held at the beginning of August 2011 in the breathtaking city of Kyoto. Start making plans to attend the XV IS-MPMI Congress in this beautiful and unique venue! For an additional open-access review of the congress, written by MPMI Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Walton, see
the December 2009 issue of MPMI.
Plenary Session presenter, Sharon Long, speaking on the regulation of Sinorhizobium meliloti genes during early and intermediate stages of nodule formation. Attendees learn about the added features
of MPMI Online.
Exhibitors sharing information about their products and services.
IS-MPMI Central was the place for attendees
to find out about all their member benefits.
Attendees arrived from 46 different
countries; here they are marking
where they are from on this map in
IS-MPMI Central.
Luis Sequeira (right), pictured with Congress Organizer Hani Antoun, provided the Opening address for the XIV International Congress, "Facing the issues in agricultural biotechnology."
More than 700 posters were put up
on Sunday for viewing during the congress.
IS-MPMI Board of Directors Letting loose at the Final Banquet and
Show on Thursday evening.
Showing off their new flash drives
courtesy of MPMI Online.
A huge thanks to the volunteers! We
couldn’t have done it without you.
Relaxing aboard the boat cruise on the St. Lawrence River.