Annual Symposium

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FF21 Annual Plant Biology Symposium

WHEN: Friday, April 14, 2017, 8:30am-4:30pm
WHERE: NSB (Natural Science Building) Auditorium 1205

Please join us for a 1-day Symposium on plant biology. Morning refreshments and lunch will be served. Registration is free.

View/download the symposium agenda here


  • Chentao Lin, UC Los Angeles
  • How cryptochromes work? - from CRY photochemistry to CRY-regulated proteome
  • Devin Coleman-Derr, UC Berkeley
    Stress and the microbiome
  • Katie (Katayoon) Dehesh, UC Riverside
  • Choreography of stress-specific retrograde signaling network
  • Siobhan Brady, UC Davis
  • Regulation of plant development in response to a changing environment
  • Hong Qiao, University of Texas at Austin
  • Molecular mechanisms of interplay between ethylene signaling and chromatin regulation in Arabidopsis
  • Joe Ecker, Salk Institute
  • (Epi)genomic Diversity and the Regulatory DNA Landscape
  • Alisa Huffaker, UC San Diego
  • Identifying new components of the maize immune response through profiling of biotic stress-induced changes in phosphoproteome and metabolism
  • Eric Schmelz, UC San Diego
  • Connecting phenotypes with genotypes: Metabolite-based genome-wide association studies (mGWAS) enable the large scale annotation of genes controlling maize specialized metabolism

Support for this Symposium is provided by:

Division of Biological Sciences CBD Logo cibus logo ff21 logo

2016 Annual Symposium



Food | Water | Energy

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 8AM
WHERE:Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

This year’s Symposium will present the latest research in genetics, synthetic biology, engineering, social science, policy, and biomanufacturing in photosynthetic organisms, to address the issues at the center of the Food | Water | Energy nexus. The Symposium will be followed by a special plant biology symposium in honor of Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute on March 11. For more information, please visit our event website here.


  • Margaret McCormick, Matrix Genetics (Keynote)
  • Unlocking the Potential of Cyanobacteria for Energy and Nutrition: Opportunities and Challenges
  • Tryg Lundquist, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Wastewater Recycling and Biofuel Production with Algal Raceways
  • Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52), Congressional Algae Caucus - Co-Founder and Co-Chair
  • The Role of Congress in Algal Research and Commercialization
  • Sarah Smith, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Algal genomes and product potential
  • Len Smith, Heliae
  • Sustainable Nutrition from Algae
  • Krishna Niyogi, UC Berkeley
  • Algal photosynthesis and genetics
  • Millier Tran, Triton Algae Innovations 
  • Progression of Chlamydomonas reinhardttifrom a model organism to an industrial recombinant protein producing host
  • Joseph Ostrand, UC San Diego 
  • Developing synthetic promoters for C. reinhardtii protein production
  • Susan Golden, UC San Diego
  • Uncovering genetic controls for complex behaviors using RB-TnSeq
  • Robert Pomeroy, UC San Diego
  • Might as well go surfing: Biomass utilization in a world where oil is $30/barrel
  • Fonna Forman, UC San Diego
  • 'Bending the Curve' and Closing the Gap: Participatory climate action in disadvantaged communities
  • David Victor, UC San Diego
  • Can we really meet our climate change goals?

Graduate Student and Postdoc Talks

  • Tamar Azoulay-Shemer, UC San Diego
  • Plant transpiration and [CO2]: The role of guard-cell photosynthesis and leaf starch-biosynthesis in stomatal turgor production and in CO2-induced stomatal closing
  • Ryan Simkovsky, UC San Diego
  • Mass spectrometry-based detection of pond infestations


Congratulations to the top poster winners sponsored by Millipore Sigma!

  • Keini Dressano
  • Frank Fields
  • Roger’s Community Gardens
  • Jesse Traller

Poster Titles:

  • Identifying novel regulators of maize herbivore-associated volatile terpene biosynthesis through phosphoproteomic profiling
  • Alisa Huffaker, Philipp Weckwerth, Elly Poretsky, Andrew Sher, Zhouxin Shen, Steven Briggs
  • A Novel Broad Spectrum Extraction Method for the Simultaneous Isolation and Detection of Defense-related Metabolites and Phytohormones
  • Chan, Joshua; Christensen, Shawn; Luu, An; Ding, Yezhang; Schmelz, Eric
  • New Insights On The Genetics, Biochemistry, Diversity And Function Of Maize Defenses
  • Ding, Yezhang; Chan, Josh; Huffaker; Alisa; Schmelz, Eric
  • Characterization of downstream Pep signaling components: importance of a Pep-responsive RNA recognition motif (RRM)-containing protein
  • Dressano, Keini; Huffaker, Alisa
  • Induced foliar volatile production in response to the herbivore elicitor N-linolenoyl L-glutamine maps to a single QTL in maize
  • Elly Poretsky, Philipp Weckwerth, Eric Schmelz, Alisa Huffaker
  • More than a model: High-yield growth of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for commercial production
  • Fields, Frank
  • Closing the Loop - All Under One Roof
  • Roger's Community Garden
  • Genome and methylome of the oleaginous diatom Cyclotella cryptica reveal genetic flexibility toward a high lipid phenotype
  • Traller, Jesse

2015 Annual Symposium



Green Revolution 2.0

WHEN: Thursday, March 12, 2015 to Friday, March 13, 2015 at 8AM
WHERE: Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

This year's theme is Green Revolution 2.0 and will explore the latest genetic research of photosynthetic organisms for the production of biomass, biofuel, and bio-products. Discover the latest in photosynthetic biomanufacturing research for food and fuel from academic and industry leaders. Visit the event page for more information!


  • Alexis Arthur, UC San Diego
  • An Alternative Energy Future for Latin America 
  • Vineet Bafna, UC San Diego
  • Ecology of Open Algae Ponds for the Production of Biofuels 
  • Siobhan Brady, UC Davis
  • Gene Regulatory Networks Determining Secondary Cell Wall Synthesis 
  • Laura Carney, Heliae Development
  • A multi-platform, multi-strain pathway to commercialization 
  • Mark Estelle, UC San Diego
  • Auxin: the Swiss-Army Hormone 
  • Susan Golden, UC San Diego
  • Day, night, and time: how a cyanobacterium knows when to do what 
  • Dan Fishman, U.S. Department of Energy
  • The Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office Overview 
  • James Hamilton, UC San Diego
  • Crude Oil Price and Market Trends 
  • Alisa Huffaker, UC San Diego
  • Peptide regulation of plant innate immunity 
  • Julie Law, Salk Institute
  • Chromatin Modulation and Gene Regulation in Plants 
  • Chentao Lin, UC Los Angeles
  • Using Hybrid Transcription Factors to Dissect Complex Yield Traits 
  • Sabeeha Merchant, UC Los Angeles
  • Chlamy in the Light 
  • Brian Palenik, UC San Diego
  • Algal strains for recycling nutrients from hydrothermal liquefaction waste 
  • Saul Purton, University College, London
  • Synthesis of anti-bacterial proteins in the algal chloroplast 
  • Beth Rasala, Triton Health and Nutrition
  • Human and Animal Health through Enhanced Algae Botanicals&#160
  • Eric Schemlz, UC San Diego
  • Maize Phytoalexins: Diverse small molecules protect a very large crop 
  • Bob Schmidt, SG Biofuels
  • Jatropha; Fueling the Promise of Renewable Energy 
  • Johnathan Shurin, UC San Diego
  • Experimental risk assessment for dispersal, invasion, and impact of genetically-modified biofuel algae 
  • Michele Stanley, The Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Microalgal lipids- not just for burning 
  • Junjie Zhang, UC San Diego
  • The Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture 

Graduate Student and Postdoc Talks

  • Melissa Anderson, UC San Diego (Stephen Mayfield Lab)
  • Building a synthetic transcription system in algae
  • Cawas Engineer, UC San Diego (Julian Schroeder Lab)
  • Regulation of plant stomatal development by cell fate morphogens and abiotic stress
  • Ben Rubin, UC San Diego (Susan Golden Lab)
  • Exploring Cyanobacteria’s Essential Genes
  • Sarah Smith, SIO and JCVI (Andrew Allen Lab)
  • Gene regulatory networks for next generation strain improvement


Congratulations to the top 4 poster winners of $200 each sponsored by Cibus!

  • Circadian Output in S. elongatus Activates Metabolic Functions Important for Diurnal Viability
    Diamond, Spencer; Rubin, Benjamin; Shultzaberger, Ryan; Barber, Chase; Golden, Susan
  • Synthetic Promoters capable of driving robust nuclear gene expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
    Scranton, Melissa
  • Increase of protein accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplasts: DsbA protein
    Ferreira-Camargo, Livia; Tran, Miller; Tusakul, Lydia; Mayfield, Stephen
  • Green Chemistry Initiative: Student advocacy of Green Chemistry Principles, Education and Sustainability, an important step in confronting the challenges of the 21st Century
    Wulf, Gustav

2014 Annual Symposium



Pushing the Genetic Boundaries of Photosynthetic Biomanufacturing

WHEN: Friday, March 14, 2014 to Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 8AM
WHERE: Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

We had many great talks on the theme of Pushing the Genetic Boundaries of Photosynthetic Biomanufacturing and explored the latest genetic research of photosynthetic organisms for the production of biomass, biofuel, and bio-products. Visit the event page for more information!


  • Eric Allen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marine Biology and Molecular Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    Pathway diversity and heterologous synthesis of microbial omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Shota Atsumi, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Chemistry, UC Davis
    Cyanobacterial conversion of carbon dioxide to 2,3-butanediol
  • Roger Beachy, Ph.D. (Keynote)Director of World Food Center
    Going beyond the S & T bench to Impact those it Serves
  • Bianca Brahamsha, Ph.D.Research Biologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    Molecular approaches for protection of cyanobacterial crops
  • Geoffrey Chang, Ph.D.Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy
    Transporters: Structure, Function, and Application
  • Joseph Ecker, Ph.D.Professor, Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory UC San Diego, The Salk Institute
    Regulatory Dynamics in Hormone Signaling and Response Pathways: Enabling Technologies
  • James W. Golden, Ph.D.Professor of Molecular Biology, UC San Diego
    Cyanobacterial Strains, Genetic Tools, and Crop Protection
  • Sanjay Kumar, Ph.D.Scientist III, Syn Bio R&D, Life Technologies / Thermo Fisher Scientific
    Expanding Synthetic biology tool box: Advances in precision genome engineering and algal tools
  • Jeff Hasty, Ph.D.Professor of Bioengineering, UC San Diego
    Engineered Gene Circuits: From Oscillators to Synchronized Clocks and Biopixels
  • Sara Iverson, M.S.Director of Biological Sciences, Heliae
    The Missing Link: Reaching commercial scale with novel biologics
  • Martin Jonikas, Ph.D.Young Investigator, Carnegie Institution for Science
    A new dawn for photosynthesis research: high-throughput genetics in algae
  • Stephen Mayfield, Ph.D.Professor of Molecular Biology UC San Diego, Director of Cal-CAB, Co-director of FF21
    Welcome and Introduction, and CAB-Comm Wrap Up
  • Greg Mitchell, Ph.D.Research Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    Carbon partitioning into lipids, protein, carbohydrates, and pigments induced by irradiance, CO2 and N-limitation in the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana
  • George Oyler, M.D., Ph.D.President of Synaptic Research
    Algae Expression of Nanobodies for Oral Enteric Therapy
  • Bernhard Palsson, Ph.D.Galetti Professor of Bioengineering and Adjunct Professor of Medicine, UC San Diego
    Predictive Biology Through Genome Scale Models
  • Beth Rasala, Ph.D.Senior Scientist, Triton Algae Innovations
    Human and Animal Health Through Enhanced-Algae Botanicals
  • Ben Saydah, Ph.D.Sapphire Energy, Director of Algae Conversion and Oil Upgrading
    Life Cycle Assessment of Transportation Fuel Production from Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae Grown in Open Ponds
  • Hamilton Smith, M.D. (Keynote)Scientific Director Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy, J. Craig Venter Institute
    Synthetic Biology for Engineering Organisms in the 21st Century
  • Brian Staskawicz, Ph.D.Maxine J. Elliot Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley
    Genomic Strategies for the Production of Disease Resistant Cassava to Bacterial and Viral Pathogens
  • Martin Yanofksy, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor and Chair of Cell and Developmental Biology
    Getting to the Root of Meristem Development

Graduate Student and Postdoc Talks

  • Nathan SchoeppGraduate Student, UC San Diego
  • Emily TrentacostePostdoctoral Fellow, NOAA
  • Liz SpechtGraduate Student, UC San Diego


Congratulations to the top 4 poster winners of $200 each sponsored by Agilent Technologies!

  • Algal chloroplast produced camelid VHH antitoxins are capable of neutralizing botulinum neurotoxin
    Barrera, Daniel J.; Rosenberg, Julian N.; Chiu, Joanna G.; Chang, Yung-Nien; Debatis, Michelle; Ngoi, Soo-Mun; Chang, John T.; Shoemaker, Charles B.; Oyler, George A.; Mayfield, Stephen P.
  • Chemical and biological strategies for protein accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplasts
    Ferreira-Camargo, Livia; Tran, Miller; Tusakul, L.; Beld, Joris; Burkart, Michael; Mayfield, Stephen P.
  • Flocculation of Microalgae with Sodium Hydroxide
    Quigley, Alexandra; Schoepp, Nathan; Stewart, Ryan; Mayfield, Stephen
  • Investigation of 4’-phosphopantetheinyl transferase pathways in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Vickery, Christopher; Weng, Jing-Ke; Noel, Joseph; Burkart, Michael