Innovations Connecting Complex Biosystems: From Cells to Ecosystems
Symposium Theme

Innovations Connecting Complex Biosystems: From Cells to Ecosystems

 We are proud to announce that registration is now open for the 2022 UIUC Plant Sciences Symposium on September 16th from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.   This year, the symposium theme is “Innovations Connecting Complex Biosystems: From Cells to Ecosystems.” For this symposium, we intend to explore the deep connections in biosystems bringing scientists to discuss it from the top to bottom.

  • ACES library
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

September 16, 2022

Funk ACES Library

In person

Live Zoom conference

Register to receive your link


Catherine Feuillet is Chief Scientific Officer at Inari, leading projects to unlock the full potential of seeds and help build a more sustainable food system. Combining A.I.-powered predictive design and multiplex gene editing into its SEEDdesignTM technology platform, Inari is engineering plants’ complex systems to increase yield and dramatically reduce water and fertilizer needs. Before Inari, Catherine let Trait Research at Bayer for 5 years, after 20 years of research on wheat genetics and genomics in academic institutes in France and Switzerland. She has coordinated large national and international projects and co-chaired the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. For her achievement in wheat research, Catherine received the “Prix Foulon” from the French Academy of Sciences in 2009, the Legion of Honour in 2010, was elected a Fellow of the AAAS in 2011 and received the “Prix J. Dufrenoy” from the French Academy of Agriculture in 2012. Catherine published more than 120 scientific papers.

Dr. Glen Rains  received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Georgia in 1987 and an MS and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1989 and 1992.Upon graduation. Dr. Rainsworked on automobile safety focusing on driver and passenger airbag testing and evaluation for 6 years in Washington, DC, and Marysville, OH. Dr. Rainsthen became a faculty member with the University of Georgia Tifton Campus working in precision agriculture and farm safety in 1998. He currently has programs in chemical ecology, agricultural and forestry sensors, and intelligent and configurable robotic ground vehicles. Dr. Rains focuses on management and technological solutions for small to mid-sized farmers. Heis a Professor, Professional Engineer, and certified AerialAnalyst with the National Aerial Applicators Association (NAAA). He is also co-director of the Agrability in Georgia project which provides assistance to farmers with disabilities.

Dr. Edward Buckler Research Geneticist and adjunct professor in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University with an educational background in molecular evolution and archaeology. His group’s research uses genomic, computational, and field approaches to dissect complex traits and accelerate breeding in maize, sorghum, cassava, and a wide range of other crops. With these technologies applied to over 2000 species, now the Buckler group focuses on exploring ways to re-engineer global agricultural production systems to ensure food security, improve nutrition, and respond to climate change. With the USDA-ARS, he leads an informatics and genomics platform to help accelerate breeding for specialty crops and animals. His contributions to quantitative genetics and genomics were recognized with election to the US National Academy of Sciences and as recipient of the inaugural NAS Food and Agriculture Award.

Dr. Bob Schmitz earned his B.Sc. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Postdoctoral training was performed at the Salk Institute in plant epigenomics. In 2013, Bob joined the Genetics Department at the University of Georgia where his lab is studying plant genome biology including the role of epialleles and cis-regulatory DNA elements in producing natural phenotypic variation. Longstanding interests include understanding the molecular basis for epiallele formation and defining and using epigenetic clocks. Additionally, his lab is innovating methods to identify and characterize the location and function of cis-regulatory DNA elements in crop genomes.  Most recently, his laboratory is using single-cell biology to define cell-type-specific transcript and cis-regulatory DNA elements and to develop cell-based assays to screen for trans-factors important to cell-type specification and responses to the environment.

Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul is a Professor at the University of Florida and the Director of UF’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research. Paul’s research focuses on plant gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana in novel environments, emphasizing spaceflight, extraterrestrial materials, and planetary analogs. She has been active in the spaceflight research community for over 25 years. In that time, she has launched 11 orbital experiments, taken her science to extreme terrestrial environments as planetary analogs, and used suborbital vehicles to explore the effect of the transition to space on the molecular processes of plants. Paul has served as the President of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research and is a Fellow of ASGSR. In 2019 she received the NASA Medal of Honor for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Paul’s fundamental belief is that humans are explorers, and when we leave Earth’s orbit, plants will help us make the journey.

Alencar Xavier got his Ph.D. at Purdue University in Soybean Breeding and Statistical Genetics. Alencar has worked at Corteva Agrisciences since 2016 as a quantitative geneticist and breeding analyst, and since 2017 he has been an adjunct professor at Purdue University. His research focuses on computational quantitative genetics (mixed models, Bayesian methods, and machine learning) and on integrating GxE, genomics, and environmental information in plant breeding.

Organizers & Sponsors

Farm bureau

Farm bureau