IX European Plant Science Retreat June 20th-23rd 2017 Toulouse

Keynote Speakers

Pr Malcolm Bennett

Professor of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Science Centre of Excellence for Integrative Biology of Crops at the University of Nottingham. The hidden half of plant biology has been an enduring interest throughout my research career. Over the last two decades I have led efforts to characterise key regulatory signals, genes and mechanisms that control root growth and development. Highlights include identifying the first auxin transport protein described in plants AUX1, demonstrating that hormones regulate root growth by targeting one (and not all) tissues ; developing quantitative reporters to visualise hormone gradients in roots; and discovering novel mechanisms regulating root angle and branching. Over the last decade I have increasingly embraced interdisciplinary approaches after recognising that major breakthroughs are more likely to arise at the interface between, rather than within, disciplines. To facilitate this vision, in 2007 I helped establish the BBSRC/EPSRC Centre for Plant Integrative Biology (CPIB) and currently serve as its Director. As an example of the value an interdisciplinary research approach can provide, I have led efforts at CPIB to non-invasively image roots in soil.

Dr Pierre-Marc DELAUX

CNRS Researcher, LRSV-Toulouse. The plant lineage faced two major transitions over the last 450 million years : the colonization of land and the transition from a gametophyte- to a sporophyte-dominant lifestyle, resulting in the divergence of vascular plants. These two events required the evolution of new mechanisms and the recruitment of existing pathways in a new developmental context. The fossil record and its broad host range suggest that Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis evolved in the first Embryophytes (i.e. land plants) and was one of the critical innovations that allowed plants to successfully colonize lands. Interestingly, while new developmental features evolved, such as the roots in Lycophytes and Euphyllophytes, AM symbiosis has been maintained. Studying the evolution of AM symbiosis in land plants thus offers a unique opportunity to understand how key innovations evolved and were recruited during plant evolution.

Dr Laurent Deslandes

Group leader, LIPM-Toulouse. Laurent works on the identification and the characterization of a resistance perception complex that involves RRS1-R and its matching avirulence protein from Rasltonia, PopP2. Recently, his work revealed that PopP2 displays an autoacetyl-transferase activity that targets a lysine residue required for the activation of the RRS1-R immune response. He is now focusing on the Identification of host proteins targeted by PopP2 activity and/or involved in the regulation of its enzymatic activity. This work should bring new clues on the molecular role(s) played by protein acetylation during plant innate immunity.

Dr Carol Featherstone

In addition to be in the editor board of the Public Library of Science, Carol Featherstone works as freelance Scientific editor and writer to help at the redaction of successful publications with several scientific teams (Science, The Lancet, New Scientist, Molecular Medicine Today…) . Thanks to her great experience in the field of Scientific publications (freelance editor in Trends in Cell Biology, Current Biology or PLoS Biology), she will present a talk about; how to organize your article writing in order to better publish, how to target the right journal, and some tricks and tips to better write your articles.

Dr Caroline Gutjahr

Group leader, University of Munich (LMU) Institute of Genetics. Root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi involves distinct and genetically separable developmental steps that are largely under plant control. These steps include dramatic plant cell rearrangements that precede differentiation of fungal hyphae into particular shapes inside these plant cells. We are interested in the plant molecular mechanisms required for shaping an arbuscular mycorrhiza. Our major research line investigates molecular interconnections between plant and symbiosis development, including the role of plant hormone signaling pathways. We recently discovered novel plant genes required for arbuscular mycorrhiza development and currently investigate their function by genetic, biochemical and cell biological methods. The amount and morphology of fungal structures in the root determines the symbiotic efficiency. Our research thus aims at contributing knowledge on how to optimize symbiotic nutrient transfer for application in sustainable agriculture with reduced chemical fertilizer input.

Pr Jane Lecomte

Director of Ecologie, Systématique, Evolution laboratory, UMR 8079. I am mainly interested in population dynamics and genetics at the landscape scale. At the beginning of my carrier, my research dealt with the study of the dynamic and genetics of fragmented animal populations. My research is now focused on the ecological risk assessment related to transgenic plant cultivation. I managed a research group in my lab which develops data analysis and both population dynamics and population genetic models in order to estimate long distance dispersal oilseed rape gene flow (pollen and seed) and to disentangle ecological processes induced in the origin and the persistence of feral oilseed rape populations at the landscape scale. I am currently supervising the French National Project “GMBioImpact” (2007-2010) which is concerned with various aspects of oilseed rape gene flow and impact on biodiversity. For a better prediction of (trans)gene flow over the agricultural landscape, we (1) undertake experiments to estimate precisely the seed and pollen dispersal over long distance as well as the dispersal of feral populations (invasive process), (2) combine several statistical methods using demographic and genetic data to find out the origin and persistence of feral populations and gene flow, (3) develop simulation models to predict the evolution of populations which are responsible for gene flow and their relay, (4) determine the impacts of field margin management on biodiversity (plants and insects) and transgene transfer via pollen in an open field landscape (Selommes) versus a hedgerow network landscape (Pleine-Fougères in Brittany).


CNRS Researcher, CEA-Grenoble. In their everyday life photosynthetic microalgae are exposed in a wide array of abiotic stresses, like nutrient or oxygen limitation, exposure to high intensity light or to xenobiotics. Their survival and ecological success depends on how efficiently they can maintain fitness under these challenging conditions. Dimitris has been interested in identifying the molecular mechanisms that photosynthetic microalgae employ to respond to the different types of abiotic stresses. Presently he has been focusing on better understanding the complex interconnection of photoreception, photosynthesis and metabolism and its implication in the activation of mechanisms that provide photoprotection in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.


BIOVITIS is a SME specialized in the production of microorganisms and natural active ingredients in different sectors of activity, including agro-food, environment, health, wellbeing and agronomy. The main goals of our agronomy R&D team are to develop new biological product as alternative of chemicals products to ensure a production of good quality and quantity with a low impact on environment. Indeed, the use of chemical products, especially pesticides, often results in soil and water contaminations, residues in food and human health concern. These goals are achieved by the development of effective strains for environmentally friendly biofertiliser and biocontrol products. With selected examples, this presentation will make an overview of the challenges behind the interactions between soil microorganisms and plant rhizosphere. Which activities are ruled by microorganisms and how can we help the soil to provide the best conditions for cultivated crops? How do we screen the microorganisms to select the most promising strains? How can we deliver the desired microbial strains at the good place and on the best timing?

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2017 TEAM

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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Kevin Bellande joined the cell wall proteins and development research team from the Plant Science Research Laboratory in 2015. He works on a specific legume-type lectin receptor kinase and try to understand how this gene could be involved in cell wall stress and cell wall remodelling processes.
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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Loïc started his PhD in the mycorrhizal symbiosis team at the Plant Science Research Laboratory in 2016. He studies the fate of photosynthates in the case of arbuscular endomicorrhizal symbiosis to unravel the origin of fatty acid biosynthesis among obligate biotrophic fungi.
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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
After passing a Master in integrative plant biology in 2013, Harold Duruflé has worked at Bioversity International, an international research organization, as a crop ontology curator. In 2014 he start a PhD at the Plant Science Research Laboratory with Pr. Christophe Dunand and under the co-supervision of Pr. Philippe Besse of the Toulouse Mathematics Institute. During his PhD, he has got especially involved in the wallOmics project, using an integrative omics approach to study the cell wall plasticity of A. thaliana ecotypes living at contrasted altitudinal level.
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Research Manager micropep
Bruno Guillotin has completed his PhD in the study of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in Toulouse, he is now currently working at MicroPEP technology, on the identification and the study of micro-peptide (mipep) involved in the complex regulation of microRNA in plant development.
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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Morgane began in 2015 her PhD, she works in the mycorrhizal symbiosis team at the Plant Science Research Laboratory. She is studying the role of fungal secreted peptides in the establishment of the arbuscular endomycorrhizal symbiosis.
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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Manon is doing her PhD at the Plant Science Research Laboratory to understand how plants can deal with their environment. She is working on deconding calcium signalling during plant-pathogen interaction.
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TESTARD Ambroise

Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Ambroise is doing his PhD in the calcium signaling team at the Plant Science Research Laboratory. He works on the role of the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase in the establishment of sphingolipid-induced cell death in plants.
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Phd student UPS,LRSV UMR5546
Nicolas Vigneron has started his PhD in Mycorrhizal symbiosis group in 2016 at Plant Science Research Laboratory. He is currently working on the evolution of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in land plants.

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