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

Chery and co-author receive IW Bailey Award

-Magdalen Lindeberg

woman in rust colored shawlJoyce Chery, Assistant Research Professor in SIPS, and co-author Israel da Cunha Neto have received the 2020 I.W. Bailey Award from the International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA) for their paper Wood anatomy of the neotropical liana lineage Paullinia L. (Sapindaceae). The research was conducted by Chery while a PhD student in the program of Chelsea Specht at UC-Berkeley. da Cunha Neto is affiliated with Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo. This is the first time the award has been won by a joint submission and the judges commented “their work highlights the positive results of collaboration in science”.

Irving Widmore Bailey (1884—1967) was a wood anatomist whose publications on xylem evolution, cambium and wood formation, cell wall ultrastructure, fossil woods, tree pathology, and other wood properties are seminal in the field. IAWA honors his memory with a named award for early career researchers who publish their work in the IAWA Journal.

Since 2014, the I.W. Bailey Award has been presented annually for the best original or review paper submitted to the IAWA Journal by a PhD candidate or postdoc who has completed her/his PhD no longer than five years since the submission of her/his manuscript. All subject matters published in the IAWA Journal are eligible. The Award consists of a certificate and 1000 Euro, sponsored by Brill Publishers.

Recent publications from the SIPS community – October 15, 2020

Development on Citrus medica infected with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ has sex-specific and -nonspecific impacts on adult Diaphorina citri and its endosymbionts

Coates, L. C., Mahoney, J., Ramsey, J. S., Warwick, E., Johnson, R., MacCoss, M. J., Krasnoff, S. B., Howe, K. J., Moulton, K., Saha, S., Mueller, L. A., Hall, D. G., Shatters, R. G., Heck, M. L., and Slupsky, C. M. 2020. PLOS ONE 15:e0239771.

Soil Organic Matter Research and Climate Change: Merely Re-storing Carbon Versus Restoring Soil Functions

Baveye, P. C., Schnee, L. S., Boivin, P., Laba, M., and Radulovich, R. 2020. . Frontiers in Environmental Science 8.

A scoping review of adoption of climate-resilient crops by small-scale producers in low- and middle-income countries.

Acevedo, M., Pixley, K., Zinyengere, N., Meng, S., Tufan, H., Cichy, K., Bizikova, L., Isaacs, K., Ghezzi-Kopel, K., and Porciello, J. 2020. Nature Plants 6:1231-1241.

Transcriptome-derived amplicon sequencing (AmpSeq) markers elucidate the U.S. Podosphaera macularis population structure across feral and commercial plantings of Humulus lupulus.

Weldon, W. A., Knaus, B. J., Grünwald, N. J., Havill, J. S., Block, M. H., Gent, D. H., Cadle-Davidson, L., and Gadoury, D. 2020. Phytopathology 0:null.

Reconstructing the maize leaf regulatory network using ChIP-seq data of 104 transcription factors.

Tu, X., Mejía-Guerra, M. K., Valdes Franco, J. A., Tzeng, D., Chu, P.-Y., Shen, W., Wei, Y., Dai, X., Li, P., Buckler, E. S., and Zhong, S. 2020. Nature Communications 11:5089.

Caldwell Named to USDA National Organic Standards Board

Brian Caldwell with mic, camera and stack of handouts at field day witn cover and forage crop plots in the background

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced September 28 the appointment of five new members to five-year terms on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), including Brian Caldwell (MS ’86 Horticulture).

Caldwell has been a fixture in the School of Integrative Plant Science for decades as a research support specialist until his retirement in 2019.  He is also an organic farmer, having founded Hemlock Grove Farm in West Danby, N.Y. in 1978.

The 15-member NOSB advises USDA on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of organic products.

“The organic community has been good to me over the years, and I feel like I should give something back that taps into all the great experiences I’ve had,” says Caldwell, who is uniquely qualified for the board.

In addition to raising certified organic vegetables, apples and nut trees at Hemlock Grove, Caldwell was a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) in 1983, and has served on the organization’s staff and contributed as an educator to its annual conferences and field days.

Caldwell was a Cornell Cooperative Extension fruit and vegetable specialist serving five Southern Tier counties from 1995 to 2001. “I got to meet and work with many farmers, both conventional and organic,” he remembers. “It was great to connect with so many talented, kind and generous people.”

After moving on to SIPS, Caldwell supported a variety of sustainable farming research efforts, including the Organic Cropping Systems project. “The faculty I worked with – Chuck Mohler, Anu Rangarajan, Laurie Drinkwater, Matt Ryan, and others – have been on the cutting edge of sustainable farming research.  I learned so much from them,” says Caldwell, who received a CALS Core Value Staff Award for Adaptability in 2017.

“His passion for agricultural research and science in general is acknowledged and appreciated among growers, who rely on his balanced perspective and thoughtful approach,” then CALS Dean Kathryn Boor said of Caldwell at the award ceremony. “Brian works to build trust and facilitate open and constructive dialogue between researchers and growers.”

Caldwell hopes to bring the same combination of scientific precision and commonsense balance to his work with the NOSB. “We deal with the big issues – like maintaining the integrity of the organic label, which requires constant vigilance,” he says.  “But the devils – and the angels – are in the details of the recommendations we make. Serving should be a fun challenge.”

–Craig Cramer

Recent publications from the SIPS community – October 8, 2020

The Plant Pathology Challenge 2020 data set to classify foliar disease of apples.

Thapa, R., Zhang, K., Snavely, N., Belongie, S., and Khan, A. 2020. Applications in Plant Sciences 8:e11390.

Candidate gene mapping identifies genomic variations in the fire blight susceptibility genes HIPM and DIPM across the Malus germplasm.

Tegtmeier, R., Pompili, V., Singh, J., Micheletti, D., Silva, K. J. P., Malnoy, M., and Khan, A. 2020. Scientific Reports 10:16317.

Cretaceous–Paleogene plant extinction and recovery in Patagonia.

Stiles, E., Wilf, P., Iglesias, A., Gandolfo, M. A., and Cúneo, N. R. 2020.  Paleobiology:1-25.

Identification of miRNA-eQTLs in maize mature leaf by GWAS.

Chen, S.-Y., Su, M.-H., Kremling, K. A., Lepak, N. K., Romay, M. C., Sun, Q., Bradbury, P. J., Buckler, E. S., and Ku, H.-M. 2020. BMC Genomics 21:689.

Ecophysiological Study of Paraburkholderia sp. 1N under Soil Solution Conditions: Dynamic Substrate Preferences and Characterization of Carbon Use Efficiency.

Cyle, K. T., Klein, A. R., Aristilde, L., and Martinez, C. E. 2020. Applied and Environmental Microbiology:AEM.01851-01820.

A general model to explain repeated turnovers of sex determination in the Salicaceae.

Yang, W., Wang, D., Li, Y., Zhang, Z., Tong, S., Li, M., Zhang, X., Zhang, L., Ren, L., Ma, X., Zhou, R., Sanderson, B. J., Keefover-Ring, K., Yin, T., Smart, L. B., Liu, J., DiFazio, S. P., Olson, M., and Ma, T. 2020. Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Selection signatures across seven decades of hard winter wheat breeding in the Great Plains of the United States.

Ayalew, H., Sorrells, M. E., Carver, B. F., Baenziger, P. S., and Ma, X.-F. 2020.  The Plant Genome n/a:e20032.

Big Genes, Small Effectors: Pea Aphid Cassette Effector Families Composed From Miniature Exons.

Dommel, M., Oh, J., Huguet-Tapia, J. C., Guy, E., Boulain, H., Sugio, A., Murugan, M., Legeai, F., Heck, M., Smith, C. M., and White, F. F. 2020. Frontiers in Plant Science 11.

Anatomy, Flow Cytometry, and X-Ray Tomography Reveal Tissue Organization and Ploidy Distribution in Long-Term In Vitro Cultures of Melocactus Species.

Torres-Silva, G., Matos, E. M., Correia, L. F., Fortini, E. A., Soares, W. S., Batista, D. S., Otoni, C. G., Azevedo, A. A., Viccini, L. F., Koehler, A. D., Resende, S. V., Specht, C. D., and Otoni, W. C. 2020.  Frontiers in Plant Science 11.


October update from SIPS Director Chris Smart

Dear SIPS Community,

Welcome Louis Longchamps! Please join me in welcoming Louis Longchamps, Assistant Professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences section. It was a difficult journey for Louis and his family to move from Canada during boarder closures and a pandemic, but they made it and we are thrilled he is here.

Staffing update. As you know, Andy Vail has served as both interim Facilities Director for CALS and Senior Administrative Director for SIPS since July 1, 2019. As of today, the interim title has been removed and Andy is assuming the facilities roll full-time. Andy will certainly be missed in SIPS and we wish him the best of luck in his new role.

With Andy moving to Facilities, Magdalen Lindeberg has transitioned (as of today) to a position that combines components of Andy’s position along with key responsibilities from her communications role. Magdalen will retain the title Assistant Director and Tami, Leslie, and Tracy will report to her. Both Tami and Leslie will continue as administrative managers for their sections. Tracy has formally assumed all finance responsibility as the chief finance and budget leader of the school. Please join me in welcoming Magdalen to this new role.

Feel free to look at the current SIPS organizational chart

SIPS diversity and inclusion: anyone can Report a Bias Incident by clicking that link (also prominently displayed on the SIPS home page)

Student Visa concerns: Last Friday we received an email from Cornell Office of Global Learning and Vice Provost Wendy Wolford describing a new proposed rule on visa duration and extension. I encourage everyone to submit comments describing the negative impact these rules would have it implemented. International students and scholars, please know that you are a critical part of the fabric that makes SIPS and we will continue to advocate on your behalf during this difficult time.

Fall Semester Updates

The Cornell Covid-19 update website has all of the most recent information as well as a link to the Covid-19 tracking dashboard.

Just a reminder that the last day of in-person class is November 13. November 14-16 are semi-final study days – no classes. Instruction resumes – all classes online – on Monday November 30.


Plans for Bradfield and Plant Science renovation continue to move forward.  Additional information about the Bradfield project will be announced in the coming weeks.

The SIPS building committee as well as section chairs have been involved with the Plant Science renovation plans. Schematic Design phase will be completed this week, after which the project will pause to await approval by both the Provost and NY State.  There is also information available on the renovation page of the SIPS website.

2019 – 2020 Faculty Search updates:

  • Plant synthetic biology: Laura Gunn has accepted the position and will be joining the faculty May 1, 2021.
  • Genomics-empowered biology of plant pathogenic fungi: Lori Huberman has accepted the position and will be joining the faculty January 1, 2021.
  • Breeding for Sustainable Forage Cropping Systems: This just in! Virginia (Ginny) Moore has accepted the position and will be joining the faculty February 1, 2021.
  • Physiology of fruit crop adaptation to climate change: The final stages of interviews are occurring this month. We hope to have good news next month.

Congratulations to the following people who were recognized with a SIPS Kudos in the last month! Thanks for your effort and passion in support of SIPS.

  • Building Mastery and Skill: Bill Salone
  • Creativity and ideas: Kate Keagle
  • Going Above & Beyond: SIPS custodial staff, Audrey Klein, Chase Crowell, Chris Pelzer, Heather Grab, Jamie Crawford, Jason Schiller, Jesse Chavez, Ryan Crawford, Linda Cox, Magdalen Lindeberg, Neil Mattson, Sandra Jensen, Steve Hatfield, Zoe Dubrow
  • Inspirational Leadership: Carlyn Buckler, Chris Pelzer, Chris Smart, Michael Scanlon
  • Strong Team Spirit: Andy Vail, Sandeep Sharma, Sandra Wayman

PLEASE remember to recognize people in our SIPS community that have gone out of their way to enhance our School. All you have to do is complete the brief form here

Take care,


Recent publications from the SIPS community – October 1, 2020

Evaluation of Effects of Chemical Soil Treatments and Potato Cultivars on Spongospora subterranea Soil Inoculum and Incidence of Powdery Scab and Potato Mop-Top Virus in Potato.

Zeng, Y., Fulladolsa, A. C., Cordova, A. M., O’Neill, P., Gray, S. M., and Charkowski, A. O. Plant Disease 0:PDIS-10-19-2202-RE.

Setaria viridis chlorotic and seedling-lethal mutants define critical functions for chloroplast gene expression.

Feiz, L., Strickler, S. R., van Eck, J., Mao, L., Movahed, N., Taylor, C., Gourabathini, P., Fei, Z., and Stern, D. B. 2020. The Plant Journal n/a.

From landrace to modern hybrid broccoli: the genomic and morphological domestication syndrome within a diverse B. oleracea collection.

Stansell, Z., and Björkman, T. 2020. Horticulture Research 7:159.

The hornworts: morphology, evolution and development.

Frangedakis, E., Shimamura, M., Villarreal, J. C., Li, F.-W., Tomaselli, M., Waller, M., Sakakibara, K., Renzaglia, K. S., and Szövényi, P. New Phytologist n/a.

Differential Susceptibility of Tree Tomato (Solanum betaceum) Cultivars to Late Blight Caused by Phytophthora betacei.

Mideros, M. F., Mayton, H., Danies, G., Lagos, L. E., Fry, W. E., and Restrepo, S. 2020. Plant Disease 104:1113-1117.

Indications of Susceptibility to Calonectria pseudonaviculata in Some Common Groundcovers and Boxwood Companion Plants.

Richardson, P. A., Daughtrey, M., and Hong, C. 2020. Plant Disease 104:1127-1132.

Genotyping-by-Sequencing for Analysis of the Genetic Variation of Podosphaera xanthii, Incitant of Cucurbit Powdery Mildew.

Xiang, Y., Miller, A. N., McGrath, M., and Babadoost, M. 2020. Plant Disease 104:951-957.

First Report of Dickeya fangzhongdai Causing Soft Rot of Onion in New York State.

Ma, X., Bonasera, J. M., Asselin, J. A. E., Beer, S. V., and Swingle, B. 2020. Plant Disease 104:1251.

Recent publications from the SIPS community – September 24, 2020

A multi-omics approach to solving problems in plant disease ecology

Crandall, S. G., Gold, K. M., Jiménez-Gasco, M. d. M., Filgueiras, C. C., and Willett, D. S. 2020. PLOS ONE 15:e0237975.

Improved estimates of monthly land surface temperature from MODIS using a diurnal temperature cycle (DTC) model

Hu, L., Sun, Y., Collins, G., and Fu, P. 2020.. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 168:131-140.

An Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for concurrent measurements of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and hyperspectral reflectance toward improving crop monitoring

Chang, C. Y., Zhou, R., Kira, O., Marri, S., Skovira, J., Gu, L., and Sun, Y. 2020. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 294:108145.

Rooftop Farm Soils for Sustainable Water and Nitrogen Management

Harada, Y., Whitlow, T. H., Bassuk, N. L., and Russell-Anelli, J. 2020. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 4.

Cover crop seed preference of four common weed seed predators

Youngerman, C. Z., DiTommaso, A., Losey, J. E., and Ryan, M. R. 2020. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 35:522-532.

Root Fungal Endophytes and Microbial Extracellular Enzyme Activities Show Patterned Responses in Tall Fescues under Drought Conditions

Panke-Buisse, K., Cheng, L., Gan, H., Wickings, K., Petrovic, M., and Kao-Kniffin, J. 2020. Agronomy 10:1076.

Global transcriptomic responses orchestrate difenoconazole resistance in Penicillium spp. causing blue mold of stored apple fruit

Lichtner, F. J., Gaskins, V. L., Cox, K. D., and Jurick, W. M. 2020. BMC Genomics 21:574.

Understanding soil health and associated farmers’ perceptions in Colombian coffee systems

Rekik, F., van Es, H., Hernandez-Aguilera, J. N., and Gómez, M. I. 2020. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 75:499-504.

Expression of Pinellia ternata leaf agglutinin under rolC promoter confers resistance against a phytophagous sap sucking aphid, Myzus persicae

Umer, N., Naqvi, R. Z., Rauf, I., Anjum, N., Keen, P. R., Van Eck, J., Jander, G., and Asif, M. 2020. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology 47:72-82.

SIPS Instructor receives Postdoctoral Achievement Award

-Magdalen Lindeberg

man in glasses and blue shirt
Chase Mayers

Chase Mayers, former postdoctoral associate with Teresa Pawlowska (SIPS PPPMB) and recently hired instructional support specialist, has received a 2020 Postdoc Achievement Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the Cornell Office of Postdoctoral Studies. The award is given in recognition of an unwavering commitment to promoting the personal and professional development of undergraduate and graduate students as well as trainees from diverse backgrounds.

Mayers began work in Pawlowska’s program in 2018, supported by a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with a focus on Research Using Biological Collections. In her nomination letter, Pawlowska cited Mayers’ strong record of training scientists at various levels of experience including five undergraduates, one graduate student, and one visiting professor. Mentees expressed their particular gratitude for his patience and enthusiasm in addition to the technical training they received.  Eileen Tzng ’21 commented,

Chase always showed me how I was contributing, even if my results were not always aligned with my initial goal …. As my mentor, he helped me learn that mistakes and failures are all part of science – experiments rarely go as expected, thus requiring trouble shooting and patience. This is an important realization as undergraduate lab courses are often completed within 3 hours by the student with behind-the-scenes work done by teaching assistants and anticipated success.

Mayers was recently hired by SIPS to lead instructional support for the mycology and plant pathology classes formerly supported by Mary McKellar and where his mentorship skills will be greatly appreciated!

Roeder elected to the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC)

woman in glasses and burgundy shirt-Magdalen Lindeberg

Adrienne Roeder, Nancy M. & Samuel C. Fleming Term Associate Professor at the the Weill Institute and SIPS Section of Plant Biology, has been elected to the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC). Chair of the Plant Biology, Joss Rose commented, “This is a great tribute to her leadership role and influence in the Arabidopsis community, and highlights her group’s cutting edge research, as well as that of her colleagues”.

Roeder, who came to Cornell in 2011, studies the role that cell growth and division play in the diversity of cell size in the Arabidopsis sepal. A major aspect of her research program also involves imaging and computer modeling. She looks forward to serving on the NAASC to continue building its interdisciplinary and diverse community, to advocate for the importance of Arabidopsis research and its synergies with other plants, and to carry on the traditions of previous leaders.

Roeder is also a long-time advocate for women in science, having 15 years of experience running hands-on scientific workshops for middle school girls through the Explore Your Opportunities (EYO)  or Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) programs. She and her graduate students currently run a workshop using a computational image analysis game for 7th grade girls each year at Mt. Saint Vincent College in the Bronx. This workshop combines her passion for supporting women in science with enthusiasm for interdisciplinary science. These interests synergize with NAASC’s renewed commitment to diversifying plant science.

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