Plant disease experts to make "Plant Health Connections"

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Plant health scientists from around the globe will gather August 9–13 at the Joint Meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) and The Canadian Phytopathological Society (CPS) at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn. The 2014 APS-CPS Joint Meeting theme is "Plant Health Connections," providing the platform for plant pathologists to unveil new research and technologies for keeping plants healthy and addressing food security challenges facing agriculture and society today. The complete Joint Meeting program is available online at http://www.apsnet.org/meet.

This event is expected to attract more than 1,400 of the world's top plant health scientists, representing a breadth of expertise. Attendees from more than 45 countries represent academia, government, industry, and private practice. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in scientific and technical sessions, present research results, attend organized networking events, and learn about new products and services in the Exhibit Hall. This year, organizers are unveiling several new small-group learning formats aimed at helping attendees engage at a deeper level with peers and poster authors who share similar interests. The meeting app will also help attendees access program content, schedule appointments and locate exhibitors.

APS President George S. Abawi (Cornell University), CPS President Janice Elmhirst (Elmhirst Diagnostics & Research), Program Committee Chair Rick Bennett (University of Arkansas), and the Annual Meeting Board have put together an outstanding scientific program that includes sessions on today's most relevant plant disease topics and critical issues: bacterial pathogens, microbe management, phytobiomes and plant health, food security, fungicide resistance, and population biology and genetics. Premeeting activities take advantage of diverse Upper Midwest settings through field trips and workshops focused on forest health, ornamental plant diseases, crop protection, macro and micro fungi, Bayesian Analysis in plant pathology, and more.

Other highlights this year include two plenary sessions with outstanding speakers. The first, on Monday August 11, features three speakers discussing the interconnections between soil health, plant health, food security and human health. Dr. Harold van Es (Cornell University) will discuss the emerging concept of soil health, assessment protocols, and sustainable management practices. Dr. Jan E. Leach (Colorado State University) will highlight soil health management practices on plant health and the role and connections of phytobiomes to plant health and productivity. Dr. Jennifer Ann Thomson (University of Cape Town, South Africa) will speak on the connections of healthy plants and food availability on world food security and poverty issues.

The second plenary session, on Tuesday, August 12, brings Alan Bjerga, food and agriculture policy reporter with Bloomberg News, to the stage. Bjerga will present new ways scientists can better inform the public through the media without risking accuracy or integrity. To engage the APS-CPS membership who cannot attend the meeting, both plenary sessions and two special sessions—"Understanding Phytobiomes to Improve Agricultural Productivity" and "Beyond Borlaug: How the Next Generation of Plant Pathologists are Advancing the Green Revolution"—will be streamed live with time for Q&A. Global viewers will use Twitter to submit questions.

Both societies support graduate student programming and participation. Young scientists can attend a dedicated graduate student symposium, networking social, and a special session showcasing top students from APS division meetings. Thirty-six students have received travel awards and will be among the 650+ poster presenters.


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