Keynote speakers

Alison Smith

John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK



My lab studies the metabolism in plants of starch and sucrose – the carbohydrate products of photosynthesis that fuel plant growth. Our research and that of collaborators uncovered biochemical pathways responsible for the synthesis and degradation of starch granules in plants. We showed that these processes in leaves are subject to complex control by the circadian clock over the day-night cycle, ensuring the availability of carbohydrate to fuel metabolism during the night. Our focus is now on the mechanisms underlying this control, and the way in which carbohydrate availability is integrated with other sources of information to determine rates and patterns of growth and development in plants.



Feike D, Seung D, Graf A, Bischof S, Ellick T, Coiro M, Soyk S, Eicke S, Mettler-Altmann T, Lu KJ, Trick M, Zeeman SC & Smith AM (2016) The starch granule-associated protein EARLY STARVATION1 (ESV1) is required for the control of starch degradation in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. Plant Cell 28: 1472-1489

Scialdone A, Mugford ST, Feike D, Skeffington A, Borrill P, Graf A, Smith AM & Howard M (2013) Arabidopsis plants perform arithmetic division to prevent starvation at night. eLife 2: e00669

Graf A, Schlereth A, Stitt M & Smith AM (2010) Circadian control of carbohydrate availability for growth in Arabidopsis plants at night. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107: 9458-9463





Dominique Bergmann

Stanford University, USA



Dominique Bergmann is a Professor of Biology at Stanford University and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Over the last decade, her lab has studied the stomatal lineage as a way to address questions about cell identity, cell polarity, cell-cell communication, and the links between plants and the environment.  Much of this work centers on Arabidopsis and the fascinating rounds of asymmetric and self-renewing divisions that characterize the early lineage. Recently, however, her group has explored both the origin of stomata in basal plants and the innovations made in other species, notably the grasses.  Prof. Bergmann earned her PhD in animal development at the University of Colorado, Boulder, but was converted to a plant biologist though her postdoc with Chris Somerville at the Carnegie Institution, Department of Plant Biology. She was honored with the Charles Shull award from the ASPB and the Presidential early career award in science and engineering from Pres. Obama.



Adrian J, Chang J, Ballenger CE, Bargmann B, Alassimone J, Davies KA, Lau OS, Matos JL, Hachez C, Lanctot Z, Vatén A, Birnbaum KD, Bergmann DC (2015) Transcriptome Dynamics of the Stomatal Lineage: Birth, Amplification, and Termination of a Self-Renewing Population. Developmental Cell. 33(1):107-18. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.025

Bringmann M and DC Bergmann (2017) Tissue-wide mechanical forces influence the polarity of stomatal stem cells in Arabidopsis. Current Biology 27:1-7 doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.059

Raissig MT, Matos JL, Anleu Gil MX, Kornfeld A, Bettadapur A, Abrash E, Allison HR, Badgley G, Vogel JP, Berry JA and DC Bergmann (2017) Mobile MUTE specifies subsidiary cells to build physiologically improved grass stomata. Science, doi:10.1126/science.aal3254   





Tetsuya Higashiyama

Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University, Japan



Tetsuya Higashiyama, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University, Japan started his current work on live-cell analysis of plant reproduction at University of Tokyo where he also obtained his PhD. After working in the same department as an assistant professor for several years, he moved to Nagoya Univeristy as a full professor. He visualized pollen tube guidance, double fertilization, and early embryogenesis in living materials. Based on new systems and technologies, his group identified key molecules for plant reproduction, especially for pollen tube guidance: LURE attractant peptides and their receptor PRK6, and AMOR arabinogalactan sugar chain for pollen tube competency. He and colleagues launched a new interdisciplinary institute, ITbM, in Nagoya Univeristy for true mixture of biologists and synthetic chemists. He is now serving as a vice director of ITbM and the president of International Association of Plant Reproduction Research (IASPRR).



Takeuchi H., Higashiyama T. (2016) Tip-localised receptors control pollen tube growth and LURE sensing in Arabidopsis. Nature 531, 245-248.

Maruyama D., Völz R., Takeuchi H., Mori T., Igawa T., Kurihara D., Kawashima T., Tiedemann S., Ueda M., Ito M., Umeda M., Nishikawa S., Groß-Hardt R., Higashiyama T. (2015) Rapid elimination of the persistent synergid through a cell-fusion for polytubey block. Cell 61, 907-918.

Okuda S., Tsutsui H., Shiina K., Sprunck S., Takeuchi H., Yui R., Kasahara R.D., Hamamura Y., Mizukami A., Susaki D., Kawano N., Sakakibara T., Namiki S., Itoh K., Otsuka K., Matsuzaki M., Nozaki H., Kuroiwa T., Nakano A., Kanaoka M.M., Dresselhaus T., Sasaki N., Higashiyama T.,(2009) Defensin-like polypeptide LUREs are pollen tube attractants secreted from synergid cells. Nature 458, 357-361.