​​December 1–2 eSymposia​​​

Plant-Microbe Interactions in the Environment — Navigating a Complex World

This symposium will be held December 1-2, 2021, hosted by Cara Haney (British Columbia, Canada) and Paul Schulze-Lefert (Cologne, Germany). 

That plants engage with beneficial microbes while simultaneously restricting pathogens is critical to their survival. This symposium will cover how plants navigate interactions with pathogens, mutualists and the microbiome to maximize health and fitness. Topics will include how molecular signaling allows plants to distinguish friend from foe, and how microbe-microbe interactions, environmental signals and nutrient status are integrated with plant immunity to shape plant-microbe and plant-microbiome interactions. Finally, we will add an evolutionary perspective to the plant microbiome.


Program Schedule (All times in U.S. Central Time)

Wednesday, December 1

09:00 - 10:45Plenary Session 1 with Panel Discussion
11:00 - 12:00ePoster Authors Present
12:00 - 13:00Networking Hour
Available 24 HoursNetworking Platform

Thursday, December 2

07:00 - 08:00ePoster Authors Present
08:15 - 10:00Plenary Session 2 with Panel Discussion
10:00 - 11:00Networking Hour
Available 24 HoursNetworking Platform

Global eSymposia Times

RegionReference CityWednesday, December 1Thursday, December 2
Plenary Start Time Networking End Time ePosters Start Time Networking End Time
North AmericaMinneapolis09:0013:0007:0011:00
South AmericaRio de Janeiro12:0016:0010:0014:00
AfricaCape Town17:0021:0015:0019:00
Asia (Western)New Delhi20:3000:3018:3022:30
Asia (Eastern)Hong Kong23:0003:0021:0001:00

Convert to Your Local Time

December 1–2 eSymposia Chairs:

Cara Haney

Dr. Cara Haney

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Cara Haney is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in the department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Haney’s research focuses on interactions between beneficial plant-associated microbes (the “microbiome”) and plant growth and disease resistance. Dr. Haney has a long history in the molecular plant-microbe interactions field. She received her B.S. in Plant Science from Cornell University where she did an honors thesis studying late blight on tomatoes. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Stanford in 2011 focused on rhizobia-legume symbiosis. She worked at Harvard as a postdoc using Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas fluorescens as a model to study plant-microbiome interactions prior to joining the UBC faculty in 2016.

Paul Schulze-Lefert

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Paul Schulze-Lefert is director of the Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. Previously, he held senior positions at the University of Aachen and at the Sainsbury Laboratory of the John Inne​s Centre in the UK. His research focuses on the plant immune system and the plant microbiota. In recent years, his laboratory has contributed to the development of plant microbiota science as a new field of research. His main goal is to define the molecular principles underlying the establishment of plant-associated microbial communities and their beneficial functions to the host using reductionist approaches.

Paul Schultze-Lefert

  • Plenary Session 1: Distinguishing Friend from Foe Wednesday, December 1 — 09:00–10:45 Central


    Yan Liang, China

    Sheng-Yang He, United States


    Simona Radutoiu

    Simona Radutoiu

    Aarhus University, Denmark, EU

    Talk Title: Recognition and responses to friends and foes governed by legume LysM receptor kinases

    Simona Radutoiu is an Associate Professor and leads a research group at Aarhus University, Denmark. She joined the department at Aarhus University as a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellow after defending her PhD in Plant Physiology in Bucharest, Romania. Her research is focused on plant-microbe interactions, in particular at mechanisms controlling perception of microbial signals in plants, and activation of specific intracellular signaling responses. She investigates binary associations of plants with symbionts or pathogens at molecular, cellular and whole plant level to understand how plant receptors control specific host responses. She uses microbial environments of increasing complexities to understand how plant genes enabling symbiotic associations shape the root-associated microbiome. Her long-term goal is to understand how the ability of plants to select, associate and benefit from microbial associations can be improved.

    Anne Osbourn

    John Innes Centre, UK

    Talk Title: Metabolic diversification in plants

    Anne Osbourn is a Project Leader at the John Innes Centre and an honorary professor at the University of East Anglia. Her research focuses on plant-derived natural products - function, synthesis, mechanisms of metabolic diversification and metabolic engineering. An important advance from the Osbourn laboratory has been the discovery that in plant genomes the genes needed to make particular natural products are often organised in clusters like ‘beads on a string’, a finding that has greatly accelerated our ability to find new pathways and chemistries of potential importance for the development of drugs and other useful compounds. She has established a synthetic biology platform based on transient plant expression that provides rapid access to previously inaccessible natural products and analogs at gram scale. Together these two step changes open up new routes to combine genomics and synthetic biology to synthesize and access previously inaccessible natural products and analogs for medicinal, agricultural and industrial applications.

    Anne is also a poet, and has developed and co-ordinates the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Initiative, a cross-curricular science education outreach programme (www.sawtrust.org). Her new prize-winning poetry collection ‘Mock Orange’ was recently published: https://spmpublications.com/shop/mock-orange-anne-osbourn.html

    Anne Osbourn

    Paulo Teixeira

    Paulo Teixeira

    University of São Paulo, Brazil, S. America

    Talk Title: Modulation of the root immune system by commensal bacterial

    Paulo Teixeirais currently an assistant professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil (https://teixeiralab.org). He obtained a B.Sc. degree in Biology at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) and a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the same university. During his PhD, he studied witches’ broom disease of cacao, working on a dual RNA-seq analysis of the interaction between the fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa and the cacao tree (https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.114.130807). He has spent six years as a postdoc in Jeff Dangl’s lab (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) as a Pew Fellow in the Biological Sciences. There, he studied how pathogenic and commensal microorganisms interact with the plant immune system.

    Texeira's lab is currently funded by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp), the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB). Also, he is currently a Serrapilheira Grantee, being of the three scientists to receive a R$1M grant, among nearly 700 applications in 2019 (https://serrapilheira.org/en/serrapilheira-from-science-to-funding-in-brazil/). He is a member of the ISME Early Career Scientist Committee (https://www.isme-microbes.org/task-groups).

    Sonali Roy

    Tennessee State University, US, N. America

    Talk Title: A role for peptides in rhizobial partner selection

    Sonali Roy is a molecular geneticist working on Small Signaling Peptides in the model legume Medicago truncatula. She investigated the role of the plant hormone Auxin in root nodule symbiosis while completing her doctoral degree at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Noble Research Institute, USA, she identified several peptide hormone families involved in macronutrient regulation of root and nodule development. Sonali continues pursuing her interests in regulatory molecules at the Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN where her lab studies peptide hormones with an emphasis on Nitrogen acquisition and root nodule symbiosis.

    Sonali Roy

  • Plenary Session 2: Plant-Microbiome Interactions Thursday, December 2 —​ 08:15–10:00 Central


    Devin Coleman-Derr, United States

    Yang Bai, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


    Seon-Woo Lee

    Seon-Woo Lee

    Dong-A University, S. Korea, Asia

    Talk Title: ​Microbiota associated with bacterial wilt resistance in tomato root

    Seon-Woo Lee is a professor at Department of Applied Biology and director of Institute of Agricultural Life Sciences at Dong-A University in Busan, Korea. He got his BS and MS at the Department of Agricultural Biology from Seoul National University at Seoul, Korea and he moved to USA to earn his PhD in 1999 from the University of California at Riverside, USA. After a postdoc at the University of California, Riverside, he came back to Korea to work as a senior researcher at Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology where he started to work on soil and rhizosphere metagenomics. Since the year 2005, he moved to work as a faculty member at Dong-A University. His major researches focus on microbial community function for plant growth and health, specifically against bacterial wilt.

    Ruben Garrido-Oter

    Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany, EU

    Talk Title: Shared features and reciprocal complementation of the Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis microbiota

    Ruben Garrido-Oter works at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. He is interested in the evolutionary and ecological principles that govern the structure and dynamics of complex microbial communities, in particular those associated with photosynthetic organisms, from microscopic algae to land plants. To study these phenomena, his group uses a variety of computational and experimental tools with a strong focus on bottom-up approaches, where we employ large-scale microbial culture collections and complex gnotobiotic systems to build synthetic communities and ecosystems.

    Ruben Garrido-Oter

    Venkatesan Sundaresan

    Venkatesan Sundaresan

    University of California-Davis, US, N. America

    Talk Title: Perturbations and functional inferences from rice root microbiomes under drought stress

    Venkatesan Sundaresan obtained his Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard University in the laboratory of Dr. Frederick Ausubel, and performed postdoctoral research in Genetics at the University of California-Berkeley in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Freeling. He has held faculty appointments at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, at the National University of Singapore where he was founding Director of the Institute of Molecular Agrobiology (now the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratories), and presently at the University of California-Davis. He has also served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation of BREAD, a collaborative program with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to benefit agriculture in developing countries. His laboratory conducts research on host-microbiome interactions in roots, as well as on plant reproduction and embryogenesis.

    Lucy Moleleki

    University of Pretoria, South Africa, Africa

    Talk Title:Pectobacterium brasiliense deploys an arsenal of weapons to conquer a multitude of foes and territories​

    Lucy Moleleki is an associate Professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is based in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology and is also affiliated with the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). She completed her PhD in 2007 at the Hutton Institute through Dundee University, Scotland. She started her research group in 2009, working on potato pathogens that affect potato production in South Africa. Some of the major pathogens of interest for the research group include soft rot enterobacteria (Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp), oomycetes (Phyotphthora spp) and root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp). The focus of the research is on understanding the dynamics of host (potato)-pathogen interactions as well as how these pathogens interact with each other within the host environment (microbe-microbe interactions). The research is mainly funded by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and Potatoes South Africa (PSA).

    Lucy Moleleki