BTI scientists win awards at annual Northeast ASPB meeting

by | May 14, 2018

Leila Feiz and Annett Richter pose in front of plants in the Atrium

Leila Feiz (left) and Annett Richter (right) are postdoctoral scientists in the Jander Lab at BTI. They won awards for best poster and oral presentations, respectively, in the postdoc category at the 2018 NE ASPB section meeting.

Two researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute earned 1st place honors at the 2018 Northeast American Society for Plant Biologists (ASPB) Section annual meeting.

This marked the 82nd congress, which convenes each spring and brings together plant biologists from across the northeastern United States. This year’s installment was hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the theme was Translational Research for Improving Crop Productivity.

“Research that is focused on answering fundamental questions in plant biology can lead to direct practical applications,” said BTI professor, Georg Jander, explaining translational research. “For instance, investigation of natural variation in plant biochemical pathways has enabled breeding for improved nutritive value and pest resistance in crop plants,” said Jander, who attended the conference with eight of his lab members.

Leila Feiz won first prize for best poster presentation, and Annett Richter won first prize for best oral presentation. Both are postdoctoral scientists in the Jander Lab. Feiz and Richter faced strong competition among postdocs from highly-regarded research institutes. In all, the meeting featured 12 talks and 70 poster presentations from both postdocs and students.

“This meeting allows us to connect with researchers in our region who work on different areas of plant biology,” said Feiz. “Overall, the meeting is a great opportunity for networking, and junior researchers, like graduate students, postdocs and even undergraduates, get this chance to give talks, some of which were really great.”

“It was quite significant to see the impression my oral presentation had on other researchers,” said Richter. “Hopefully this award, together with a previous award for best poster, will be helpful for my future career.”

In her talk, Richter presented her research in the Jander Lab on metabolism of defense compounds in maize. Feiz’ poster presented results from her previous work in the Stern Lab on the role that RNA metabolism in the chloroplast plays in cell-type differentiation of C4 plants.

“The awards that Annett and Leila received for the best talk and poster, respectively, are a well-deserved recognition for years of difficult research,” said Jander.

Richter and other researchers from BTI will be traveling to Montreal, Canada in July for Plant Biology 2018, a joint meeting of the ASPB and Canadian Society of Plant Biologists.

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