​​​Concurrent Sessions​

Concurrent sessions will be two hours long filled with engaging presentations, creative discussions, and opportunities to learn about major advances in our fundamental understanding of plant-microbe interactions. ​Browse the concurrent sessions below, note that m​ore details ​will be added as they are finalized, so stop by often to see the newest information.


  • Biomolecular condensation and membrane sub-compartmentalization for immune signaling

    Organized by: Yansong Miao, Yangnan Gu, and Andres Ortiz Morea
    Description: Plant-Microbe interactions stimulate a diverse array of biotic signaling by triggering supramolecular complex assembly, which is subject to sophisticated regulatory mechanisms to achieve signaling specificity. Emerging evidence support that formation of diverse immune-induced membrane-bound or membrane-independent biomolecular condensates, spanning from nanometer-sized to mesoscale, play critical roles in coordinating plant immune signal activation and transduction. Investigation of the constituents, assembly patterns, physico-chemical properties and dynamics of these structures is a key step toward a comprehensive understanding of the plant immune signaling.

  • Suppression of innate immunity during nitrogen fixing symbiosis, causes and consequences

    Organized by: Pascal Ratet and Benjamin Gourion
    Description: Tissues colonized by endophytic microbes are remarkable exceptions to the rules saying that “Plants wear their gut outside”. Indeed, deep inside the plant tissues, some of these microorganisms contribute to the plant nutrition through providing reduced nitrogen fixed from the atmospheric stock. Hosting these endophytes requires bacterial and plant determinants to prevent detrimental defense reactions that would harm beneficial bacteria. The suppression of plant innate immunity in these situations raises questions about the molecular mechanisms involved as well as about the consequences on vulnerability against opportunistic and pathogenic organisms. The proposed session aims at discussing recent developments in our understanding of the molecular basis that prevent defense reactions that allow plant to host nitrogen fixing microbes as well as the positive and negative consequences of these mechanisms.

  • Infection strategies in the plant-microbe dynamic

    Organized by: Natalia Requena
    Description: Details coming​

  • Single-cell and spatial technologies: advancement of cell-type specific immunity

    Organized by: Pingtao Ding
    Description: Plant-Microbe interactions have almost always begun at the single cellular level. Cell-autonomous immune responses are key to constraining the spread of different microbial diseases. However, pathogens are opportunistic and have their preference for infecting specific tissue or cell types. Emerging technologies such as single-cell and single-nuclei multiomics (RNA sequencing, ATAC-seq, etc), spatial transcriptomics and imaging technologies, have enable us to zoom into the single cellular level to investigate the plant-microbe interactions and host immune responses in a cell-type specific manner. These advancements provide us with novel insights into how pathogenesis works at a specific host site, and how plants defend themselves with cell-autonomous immunity.​​

  • Environmental Impacts on Plant-Microbe Interactions

    Organized by: Christian Danve Castroverde and Xiufang Xin
    Description: This concurrent session will focus on how climate change-associated abiotic conditions (e.g. heat waves, drought, high humidity, etc.) mechanistically impact plant-pathogen and/or microbiome interactions. This session’s theme will be centred around the recently discovered organizing principles and emerging breakthroughs at the molecular level on how our changing environment intercepts plant immunity and/or symbiosis, plant defence-related metabolism, pathogen virulence mechanisms, and microbiota assembly (among others). The proposed concurrent session will be a combination of brief talks from a combination of experts around the world and a unique interactive panel discussion. This topic was ranked #2 among the Top 10 Unanswered Questions in MPMI 2019 (based on the survey conducted in the last Congress).​​

  • Revisiting the publishing system to promote open science

    Organized by: Karima EL Mahboubi
    Description: The scientific publishing system is a very important component, if not the most important, in the career of scientists. The number of publications and especially the name of the journals where scientists especially researchers publish dictate their career: obtaining a tenure track, promotion, grants and so on. Indeed, researchers are almost exclusively evaluated based on the impact (impact factor) of their publications. Nevertheless, more and more researchers do not find themselves in this system and start to embrace alternatives based on open science. These alternatives focus on two objectives: the need to rethink the publication process and the need to reconsider the impact of journals on researchers' careers. ​​

  • RNA-mediated interactions and crop protection strategies

    Organized by: Seomun "Woogie" Kwon
    Description: RNA-mediated communication is an emerging topic in plant interactions with diverse microbes, parasites, and insect herbivores. The best characterized examples are sRNAs, exchanged in the cross-kingdom warfare between plants and pathogens. Other non-coding RNAs, such as tyRNAs, potentially coding circRNAs, and mRNAs, can be secreted by both plants and pathogens. Extracellular vesicle(EV)-dependent and EV-independent routes of RNA secretion and mechanisms of uptake, such as endocytosis, are currently being investigated. This session is intended to promote recent advances pertinent to RNA exchange between plants and microbes, and RNA-based crop protection strategies. The potential and challenges of investigating extracellular RNA and application of RNA-based biocontrols will be discussed.​​

  • Showcasing Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in Plant-Microbe Interactions

    Organized by: Sonali Roy and Liana Burghardt
    Description: T​his session invites pairs of undergraduate student mentees and their early career mentors, such as postdocs or graduate students responsible for overseeing their research, to co-present research findings. We welcome talks on any area of molecular plant-microbe interaction, from disease to symbiosis, as well as interactions with bacteria or fungi. At least half of the talk content must be presented by the undergraduate researcher. Invited speaker pairs will participate in a 12-minute panel discussion at the end of the session, where they will answer audience questions about what worked well for them in facilitating positive research progress and relationships. This session will be followed by a 1-hour speed networking session, which will feature five invited guests. Guests will be stationed at tables with themes such as industry, policy, and government jobs, international Ph.D. programs, connecting with scientific societies; and graduate student or postdoc perspectives. All conference participants are welcome. ​

  • Point-of-care molecular plant disease diagnosis

    Organized by: Mahfuz Rahman and Tofazzal Islam
    Description: Early and accurate detection and diagnosis of plant diseases are critical factors for the timely, rational, and targeted application of plant protection measures. Morphology-based diagnostics can be time-consuming and erroneous to discriminate closely related species or strains, especially at the quiescent stage. Thus, molecular detection has gained popularity as a precise identification tool for plant pathogens. While molecular diagnostics of plant pathogens started with PCR, and soon after, followed by more advanced, sophisticated tools such as real-time PCR, LAMP, nano-sensor-based and CRISPR-based point-of-care plant disease diagnostics. This session will discuss current developments in molecular plant pathogen diagnostics with applied potential for managing plant disease on the farm to reduce crop loss.​

  • Functional drivers of plant microbiome assembly

    Organized by: Paulo Teixeira and Ronnie de Jonge
    Description: Details coming​

  • Functions of cellular organelles in plant immunity

    Organized by: Guo-Liang Wang
    Description: Cellular organelles in plant cells play important roles in coordinating immune signaling and activation during plant-microbe interactions. Emerging evidence shows that pathogens use various strategies to either directly attack cellular organelles to disrupt their functions or indirectly influence their physiological status to inhibit immune responses. Recent advances in understanding the contributions of chloroplasts, mitochondria and peroxisomes to plant-microbe interactions and inter-organelle communications during innate immunity will be presented in the concurrent session.​​

  • Peptide Signaling and Perception in Plant-Microbe Interactions

    Organized by: Anthony Garcia, Sonali Roy, and Lena M Muller
    Description: Plants respond to a wide range of biotic stimuli while simultaneously regulating growth and development to compete favorably in variable environments. Extracellular peptides have emerged as critical signaling molecules during symbiosis and immunity. This concurrent session will highlight recent themes in the field of plant peptides, such as: concerted action of multiple peptide signals fine-tunes plant interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms; distinct peptide signaling pathways converge at common signaling hubs; crosstalk between classical hormones and peptide hormone signaling pathways determine plant-microbial interaction outcomes; plant hosts have evolved peptides with specialized roles during host-microbe interactions; and, microbial peptide mimics alter host physiology to enhance infection.​

  • ​Plant responses towards vascular pathogens and phloem-feeding insects

    Organized by: Anil Madhusoodana Girija, Pritha Kundu, Danielle Marie Stevens, and Charis Ramsig
    Description: Vascular pathogens and phloem-feeding insects thrive on the same niche and contribute to significant crop loss each year. Despite this shared niche, vascular pathogens and phloem-feeding insects vary vastly in their host ranges, transmission, and disease symptomology, posing unique challenges for researchers. For solutions such as genetic resistance to be found, a better understanding of vascular host responses and pathogen/pest biology is needed. The focus of this session will be on plant defense to vascular pests and pathogens as well as on vascular pathogen biology and infection strategies. This session will have talks from a diverse group of researchers as well as a panel discussion on identifying crucial roadblocks in research on vascular-based defense responses.​

  • Plant metabolites and microorganisms – multifaceted interactions

    Organized by: Kathrin Wippel and Mahdere Shimels
    Description: In this session, each member of the audience can interactively participate via a free online quiz app for mobile devices. In 15-minute presentations, speakers will integrate a maximum of five multiple-choice questions. The audience is encouraged to (anonymously) answer the question within a few seconds by clicking on their answer and results will be shown in a bar chart in real-time in the presentation. The speaker reveals the answer and continues with the talk. Questions can be general to trigger discussions, or specific to the topic. A typical short Q&A part will follow at the end of each talk. The idea is to put interesting scientific details in an entertaining, interactive environment.​​

  • PRR evolution in model and crop plants

    Organized by: Thorsten Nuernberger and Vivianne G.A.A. Vleeshouwers
    Description: Plant cell surface pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) cooperate with intracellular immune receptors to activate a robust immune response to a variety of pathogens. Recently discovered mechanistic links between signaling cascades initiated in different plant cell compartments correlate with accelerated rates of immune receptor evolution in the plant lineage. The identification of several novel plant PRRs and genome-wide analyses of receptor allele frequencies support the previously unexpected significant dynamics in PRR evolution. In this session, we will highlight new insights into PRR function, mechanistic links between cell surface PRRs and intracellular NLR receptors, and evolutionary trajectories for PRR genetic and functional diversification. Model systems such as Arabidopsis and Nicotiana as well as crop plants such as potato will be covered. A major focus will also be on PRR genetic diversity within host plant families and their (co-)evolution with various pathogens.​

  • Systems and spatial biology in host-pathogen interactions

    Organized by: Roger​ Wise and S​hahid Mukhtar
    Description: This interactive workshop is to outline strategies to interrogate plant-microbe interactions on a genome-wide scale, from models to crops. Panelists selected from IS-MPMI abstracts of students, postdocs, or early career researchers (ECR) will work with the organizers to present new data/ideas, followed by active discussion on experimental design, protein-protein interactions, single-cell sequencing, and what it means for the discovery of molecular mechanisms of pathogen effectors and their host targets. This in-depth panel-audience discussion of computational and functional approaches is to facilitate a new understanding of how plant cellular networks respond to and are re-wired by pathogens.​​

  • The Long and Short of It: Intercellular Communication in MPMI

    Organized by: Tessa Burch-Smith and Christine Faulkner
    Description: Details coming​

  • The Next Big Idea @ IS-MPMI 2023

    Organized by: Patricia Baldrich and Ryan DelPercio
    Description: As Albert Einstein famously said, “if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” The Next Big Idea challenges researchers to focus on the “WHY” behind their research, including minimal scientific jargon, experimental details, or results. We want participants to emphasize why an audience of non-expert scientists and non-scientists, should care about their research – think of it as a hybrid between a TED talk and a Shark Tank pitch. Participants will have five minutes to present the rationale and justification behind their research. Following each pitch, we will leave five minutes for questions from the audience and our evaluators. All participants will receive a token of appreciation and live feedback from the audience using QR codes. The winner of the challenge will receive a monetary prize and eternal community recognition! Participants will be recruited from IS-MPMI registered attendees. If this is something YOU would like to be part of, stay tuned for a future application for this specific session in April 2023 - no experience required. ​​​

  • Who wants to be an MPMIllionaire!?

    Organized by: Meenu Singla-Rastogi
    Description: This session will be a “Game Show” modeled after the popular TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” but focused on MPMI knowledge gleaned from attending all plenary sessions and from reading papers published in MPMI. To qualify to be a ‘contestant’ in this live session, all MPMI registrants will be invited to take a daily online multiple-choice quiz that will include questions designed, in part, by the plenary speakers. The top 8 entrants (teams or individual) will be selected for the final in- person competition based on their scores from the daily quizzes, with the top eight scores advancing to the in-person round. ​