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Discovery that Connects

From fundamental insights to better plants, sustainably grown, serving the world

Good weather and fun times at the 2018 SIPS Summer Picnic

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Over 325 SIPS faculty, students, staff, and friends enjoyed games, conversation, good food, and beautiful summer weather at the 2018 SIPS summer picnic, held June 20 at Cornell’s CRC Park.

Many thanks to the SIPS Social Committee for all their hard work setting up games and tables – in particular, Tara Reed, who worked tirelessly to coordinate the venue, food and music, and bingo prizes, and who with Michele Blackmore, contacted many local businesses for raffle prize donations. Thanks also to Cindy Twardokus, who created the picnic flyer and provided other behind the scenes assistance. Catering was provided by The Heights Café (owner: James Larounis) and music from Sound on Sound Productions.


Incoming class of Plant Sciences Majors to be the largest ever

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Leah Cook, Coordinator of the Plant Sciences Undergraduate Major and CALS Leadership Minor, reports that CALS Admissions has released the final numbers for the Fall 2018 incoming class of Plant Sciences Majors.

  • Class composition: 20 freshmen, 15 external transfers, and 5 internal transfers.
  • International students: 1 student from Singapore and 6 students from China (attending as part of a 2 + 2 program)
  • Gender composition: 24 females and 16 males.
  • Ethnic composition (self-reported): 13 White, 12 Asian, 3 Black, 3 Multicultural, 9 Undisclosed

Congratulations to Cook, Marvin Pritts, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and all of the instructors and advisors who have created and contributed to a strong and rigorous curriculum for the this undergraduate major.

Learn more about the Plant Sciences Major

Recent publications from the SIPS community – June 21, 2018

The study of plant specialized metabolism: Challenges and prospects in the genomics era.

Moghe Gaurav, D., and Kruse Lars, H. American Journal of Botany 0.

Julius Sachs (1868): The father of plant physiology.

Kutschera, U., and Niklas Karl, J. 2018. American Journal of Botany 105:656-666.

The Genome of Artemisia annua Provides Insight into the Evolution of Asteraceae Family and Artemisinin Biosynthesis.

Shen, Q., Zhang, L., Liao, Z., Wang, S., Yan, T., Shi, P., Liu, M., Fu, X., Pan, Q., Wang, Y., Lv, Z., Lu, X., Zhang, F., Jiang, W., Ma, Y., Chen, M., Hao, X., Li, L., Tang, Y., Lv, G., Zhou, Y., Sun, X., Brodelius, P.E., Rose, J.K.C., and Tang, K. 2018. Molecular plant 11:776-788.

Sorption and desorption of Pb(II) to biochar as affected by oxidation and pH.

Wang, Q., Wang, B., Lee, X., Lehmann, J., and Gao, B. 2018. Science of The Total Environment 634:188-194.

Seven SIPS grad students awarded AFRI-NIFA Predoctoral Fellowships

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Six graduate students in the SIPS Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section and one in Plant Breeding and Genetics have been awarded predoctoral fellowships from the USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The program is focused on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. Two graduate students in Biological and Environmental Engineering also received fellowship awards for plant and climate-related research.

The award maximum is $95,000.00 with stipends capped at $25,000/year.  Remaining funds can be used for tuition, fees, fringe benefits, supplies, travel, workshops, and publication as specified in each proposal’s budget request. Congratulations to all our awardees!

Selection methods for A. vittatum non-preference in squash (C. pepo)

Awardee: Lauren Brzozowski, Mazourek program, Plant Breeding and Genetics

Award amount: $39,000.00

Defining the resistance profile of a broad-spectrum defense gene family

Awardee: Andy Read, Bogdanove program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $94,320.00

Role of Nepovirus Polymerase in Virus-Host Interactions for Symptom Development

Awardee: Larissa Osterbaan, Fuchs program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $95,000.00

TAL-like proteins in endohyphal symbiosis

Awardee: Morgan Carter, Bogdanove program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $95,000.00

Development of Risk Algorithms for the Northern Root-Knot Nematode in Potato in New York State

Awardee: Adrienne Gorny, Pethybridge program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $92,812.00

Development of RNA-based strategies to block transmission of the citrus greening bacterium by the Asian citrus psyllid

Awardee: Annie Kruse, Heck program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $95,000.00

Advancing Virus-Treehopper-Host Interactions to Devise and Disseminate Disease Management Recommendations

Awardee: Libby Cieniewicz, Fuchs program, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Award amount: $95,000.00

Recent publications from the SIPS community – June 14, 2018

A late Cretaceous fagalean inflorescence preserved in amber from New Jersey

Gandolfo, M. A., Nixon, K. C., Crepet, W. L., and Grimaldi, D. A. American Journal of Botany 0.

Diversification and independent domestication of Asian and European pears

Wu, J., Wang, Y., Xu, J., Korban, S.S., Fei, Z., Tao, S., Ming, R., Tai, S., Khan, A.M., Postman, J.D., Gu, C., Yin, H., Zheng, D., Qi, K., Li, Y., Wang, R., Deng, C.H., Kumar, S., Chagné, D., Li, X., Wu, J., Huang, X., Zhang, H., Xie, Z., Li, X., Zhang, M., Li, Y., Yue, Z., Fang, X., Li, J., Li, L., Jin, C., Qin, M., Zhang, J., Wu, X., Ke, Y., Wang, J., Yang, H., and Zhang, S. 2018. Genome Biology 19:77.

A Flower in Fruit’s Clothing: Pollination of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Moraceae) by a New Species of Gall Midge, Clinodiplosis ultracrepidata sp. nov. (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae)

Gardner, E.M., Gagné, R.J., Kendra, P.E., Montgomery, W.S., Raguso, R.A., McNeil, T.T., and Zerega, N.J.C. 2018. A  International Journal of Plant Sciences 179:350-367.

LHB Conservatory a popular reunion destination

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Over fifty alumni stopped by the plant science alumni gathering and Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory open house, held on Saturday, June 9 as part of Cornell’s 2018 reunion weekend. The conservatory tours given by Karl Niklas, Ed Cobb, Patty Chan, and others were especially popular, with the titan arum, Victoria lily, blooming vanilla, and insectivorous plants drawing the most enthusiastic responses.  For those who have not visited campus in the five years since their last reunion, the open house represented their first opportunity to see the re-built conservatory. Refreshments were provided and historical photos were on display in Plant Science G22.

Recent publications from the SIPS community – June 7, 2018

Fossil moonseeds from the Paleogene of West Gondwana (Patagonia, Argentina).

Jud, A. N., Iglesias, A., Wilf, P., and Gandolfo, M. A. American Journal of Botany 0.

Sorbitol Modulates Resistance to Alternaria alternata by Regulating the Expression of an NLR Resistance Gene in apple.

Meng, D., Li, C., Park, H.-J., Gonzalez, J., Wang, J., Dandekar, A.M., Turgeon, B.G., and Cheng, L. 2018.  The Plant Cell.

Spatiotemporal dynamics of cattle behavior and resource selection patterns on East African rangelands: evidence from GPS-tracking.

Liao, C., Clark, P.E., Shibia, M., and DeGloria, S.D. 2018.  International Journal of Geographical Information Science 32:1523-1540.

SolCyc: a database hub at the Sol Genomics Network (SGN) for the manual curation of metabolic networks in Solanum and Nicotiana specific databases.

Foerster, H., Bombarely, A., Battey, J.N.D., Sierro, N., Ivanov, N.V., and Mueller, L.A. 2018.  Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation 2018:bay035.

June update from SIPS Director Chris Smart

Dear SIPS community,

Graduation: We had a wonderful end to our academic year with a wet yet upbeat graduation ceremony on May 27. Thanks to all the faculty and staff that worked to enable the celebration our graduating undergraduate Agricultural Sciences and Plant Sciences majors, along with advanced degree graduates from our five graduate fields. I’ve included some info on our graduates at the end of the message below (thanks to Leah Cook and Magdalen Lindeberg).

Staff Kudos: I am pleased to announce a new SIPS Staff Kudos recognition program for all SIPS staff (including administrative and technical) on any campus. The next time you are feeling appreciation for staff assistance, support, or a job-well-done, think about recognizing them a Kudos. Simply complete the very brief form at: (this is open for anyone to submit). Staff members receiving a Kudos Award will receive a thank you card detailing how they have made a difference along with a token that will serve as a reminder. Awardees will also receive school-wide recognition for their efforts in SIPS newsletters and director updates.

Update on Plant Science renovation: The building needs assessment and space plan study being conducted by Payette will be completed by the end of July. I don’t yet know the date of the next town hall meeting but I will send out information once it’s available.

Faculty search updates:

  • Assistant/Associate Professor of International Cropping Systems. An offer has recently been made to the top candidate and negotiations are ongoing.
  • Assistant/Associate Professor of Plant-Microbe Biology. An offer has recently been made to the top candidate and negotiations are ongoing.
  • Assistant/Associate Professor of Grape Disease Ecology & Epidemiology (Geneva Campus). We will re-open the search for this position in the near future.

Information about our 2018 graduates


18 Plant Science Majors
19 Ag Sci Majors
3 double majors in Plant Sci and Ag Sci

3 summa cum laude
8 magna cum laude
9 cum laude

4 distinction in research

Graduate Students:

Horticulture: 1 MS, 3 PhD
Plant Biology: 3 PhD
Plant Breeding: 1 MS, 7 PhD
Soil and Crop Sci: 2 PhD

Future plans among the undergrads:

  • Masters Program in Biostatistics at John Hopkins
  • Lab Manager at the University of Wisconsin
  • Health Insurance
  • Assistant Grower for Littleleaf Farms
  • Soil Scientist for USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Masters Program in Weed Science at Texas A&M
  • Masters Program in wetland restoration
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Assistant Grower with Intergrow Greenhouses
  • JD at University of Connecticut
  • Summerhill Landscapes
  • Farm Credit East
  • PhD Program in Bioscience at Rockefeller
  • PhD Program in Plant Biology at UC Berkeley
  • Masters Program in Soil Science at Texas A&M
  • Helena Chemical
  • Graduate Program at Cal Poly
  • Northeast agronomist for Seedway, LLC
  • Consumer Practice with Weber Shandwick
  • PhD Program at University of Illinois
  • Graduate Program at Cold Spring Harbor
  • Masters Program in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology at the University of Michigan
  • Longwood Gardens
  • Family farm
  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail before graduate studies

All the best,



Recent publications from the SIPS community – May 31, 2018

New technologies for storage of horticultural products – there is more to adoption than availability!

Watkins, C.B. (2018). (International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), Leuven, Belgium), pp. 1233-1244.

A stem-loop structure in potato leafroll virus ORF5 that is essential for readthrough translation of the coat protein ORF stop codon 700 bases upstream.

Xu, Y., Ju, H.J., DeBlasio, S., Carino, E.J., Johnson, R., MacCoss, M., Heck, M.C., Miller, W.A., and Gray, S.M. 2018. Journal of Virology.

Functions and substrates of plastoglobule-localized metallopeptidase PGM48.

Bhuiyan, N.H., and van Wijk, K.J. 2017. Plant Signaling & Behavior 12:e1331197.

Boron and the evolutionary development of roots.

Kutschera, U., and Niklas, K.J. 2017. Plant Signaling & Behavior 12:e1320631.

Recent publications from the SIPS community – May 24, 2018

Evolution of interspecies unilateral incompatibility in the relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Ling, L., Bo, L., Xiaomei, D., Hainan, Z., Hongyan, L., Shilai, X., D., F.D., Mengya, L., E., N.M., B., N.J., and Pei, L.  Molecular Ecology.

Activation of Self-Incompatibility Signaling in Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana Is Independent of AP2-Based Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis.

Yamamoto, M., Nishio, T., and Nasrallah, J.B. 2018 G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics.

Genetic diversity of dihydrochalcone content in Malus germplasm.

Gutierrez, B.L., Zhong, G.-Y., and Brown, S.K. 2018. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 65:1485-1502.

Clues to an evolutionary mystery: the genes for T-toxin, enabler of the devastating 1970 Southern Corn Leaf Blight epidemic, are present in ancestral species, suggesting an ancient origin.

Condon, B.J., Elliott, C.E., Gonzalez, J., Yun, S.-H., Akagi, Y., Wiesner-Hanks, T., Kodama, M., and Turgeon, G. 2018.  Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.

Phylogenomics reveals multiple losses of nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis

Griesmann, M., Chang, Y., Liu, X., Song, Y., Haberer, G., Crook, M.B., Billault-Penneteau, B., Lauressergues, D., Keller, J., Imanishi, L., Roswanjaya, Y.P., Kohlen, W., Pujic, P., Battenberg, K., Alloisio, N., Liang, Y., Hilhorst, H., Salgado, M.G., Hocher, V., Gherbi, H., Svistoonoff, S., Doyle, J.J., He, S., Xu, Y., Xu, S., Qu, J., Gao, Q., Fang, X., Fu, Y., Normand, P., Berry, A.M., Wall, L.G., Ané, J.-M., Pawlowski, K., Xu, X., Yang, H., Spannagl, M., Mayer, K.F.X., Wong, G.K.-S., Parniske, M., Delaux, P.-M., and Cheng, S. 2018. Science.

Domestic honeybees affect the performance of pre-dispersal seed predators in an alpine meadow.

Xi, X., Dong, Y., Tian, X., Xu, H., Zhou, Q., Niklas, K.J., and Sun, S. 2018.  Oecologia 187:113-122.

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