The 10th annual Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium will take place Feb. 15 in the Bethancourt Ballroom in the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus, Bryan-College Station. The symposium is supported by Texas A&M AgriLife and the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The theme this year is “Seeding Sustainability.” The one-day research conference is for students, faculty and private industry researchers from across the country studying plant breeding, genetics and related sciences.

The free event will begin with a registration and poster-viewing session at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Paid parking is available across the street from the MSC in the University Center Garage and the Gene Stallings Blvd. Garage. However, all Texas A&M buses can be used to reach the MSC. There will be a social at Chimy’s from 6:30-8:30 p.m. after the symposium.

Registration and more information are available at

Supporting the event are the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, the Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences program, the Department of Horticultural Sciences, the Multi-Crop Transformation Facility, the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Seeding Sustainability agenda

“We will highlight research and breeding efforts on climate-resilient crops, yield improvement, improved biotic stress tolerance, developing bio-fortified crops and more,” said Roly Malaker, conference chair and a doctoral student in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences studying thermotolerance in major crops through genome editing.

Keynote speakers include:

— Laura Mayor, Ph.D., global sorghum breeding leader, Corteva Agrisciences.
— Martha Mutschler-Chu, Ph.D., plant breeder, Cornell University.
— Matthew Blair, Ph.D., plant breeder and research associate professor, Tennessee State University.
— Ross Welch, Ph.D., plant physiologist and lead scientist, Robert W. Holley Research Center for Agriculture and Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cornell University.
— Wayne Smith, Ph.D., professor and associate department head, Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crops Sciences.

Additional related events

Also, on Feb. 14, an “XtremeGain Workshop” will be held from 1-5 p.m. in the Heep Center, Room 440, on campus. XtremeGain is a simulation program that allows participants to compete in plant breeding simulation.

There will also be two student research competitions that invite graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in plant sciences or related fields to deliver oral and poster presentations. These events are designed to promote and encourage students to communicate their research to their peers as well as network with the wider plant science community.

Three Texas A&M graduate students and one undergraduate will be selected on Feb. 9 to speak at the conference. In addition, three graduate students from outside Texas A&M were selected to present oral talks at the symposium. The three travel scholars will be Sheryl Sierra, University of Nebraska; Justin Pitts, University of Florida; and Kajal Gupta, Louisiana State University.

Additionally, 25 students from Texas A&M will participate in the student poster competition at the symposium.

On Feb. 16, a Q&A session will be held at noon with the speakers at the Plant Breeders Circle seminar in the Heep Center, Room 440, on campus.

Student leaders

The student-run event is designed to enhance leadership and organization skills of future plant breeders.

In addition to Malaker, this year’s organizing committee includes Mason Marshall, doctoral student, horticultural sciences; Luke Whiteley, master’s student, plant breeding; Kate Costello, doctorate student, plant breeding; Himabindhu Badavath, master’s student, plant breeding; and Ashifa Trisnaputri, master’s student, molecular and environmental sciences.

The Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and is a part of the Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposia Series, which connects similar events at universities around the world. Presenting partners also include Advanta, Cotton Incorporated, Sorghum Checkoff, Texas AgriScience LLC, Texas Peanut Producers and Texas Rice Council.

For more information about the symposium, email the graduate student organizing committee at [email protected].

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