News from the In Vitro Plant Cell Sciences Section

As of July 1, Nancy Reichert is the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences at Mississippi State University. She began her career at MSU 17 years ago as a faculty member in the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). Nancy served as Interim Head of Biological Sciences since last August. During that time the department hired 5 new faculty members and will hire 3 additional tenure-track faculty this year. Since this is a shift to a new college, her professor status and tenure have also been moved.

CREW’s Plant Research Division at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has recently micropropagated over 130 plants of Ranunculus aestivalis, the Autumn buttercup, for an out planting project. The cultures were started from a few seeds that had been sent to CREW from collaborators at The Arboretum of Flagstaff, who had collected them from the remaining small population at the Sevier Valley Preserve near Panguitch, UT, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The number of plants at the preserve has fluctuated, but, although there were more than 200 plants a few years ago, the most recent count indicated about 30 plants remaining. Propagation protocols were developed in work funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in collaboration with the Center for Plant Conservation. Once the protocols were in place, funding was received by The Nature Conservancy from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the production of plants from up to 60 genetic lines to augment the remaining plants in the preserve. Rooted plants were sent in vitro to Flagstaff, where they were acclimated to soil in the greenhouse. In early June, a professor from Utah Valley State College and students transported 130 of these plants from Flagstaff to the Utah preserve, where, with the help of the TNC manager and volunteers, they were planted. Each plant was measured and tagged. The plants will be watered once a week for the first month, and then they will be monitored yearly for the next five years for survival. Additional plants will be ready for planting in the fall and next spring, with the goal of returning at least 300 plants to the site.

Esther Uchendu, graduate student in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University, was nominated by OSU for a scholarship from the University Club of Portland and was selected by interview to receive the scholarship. Only one scholarship yearly is given to a graduate student at each of the three Oregon Universities with graduate programs.

David Songstad, has accepted a new position at Monsanto and now serves as the Global New Products Pipeline Lead in the Regulatory Division of the organization. He previously has served Monsanto in Biotechnology and Animal Ag research and development programs. His new contact information is: David D. Songstad, Ph.D., New Products Pipeline Lead, Scientific Affairs, Monsanto A2N, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63167. 314-694-7450 or 314-681-7804 (mobile)

Michael Horn (Phyton Biotech) and his wife Tricia are the proud grandparents of Madilyn Mariska Colunga, born 6-23-07 weighing 7lbs 9oz (3.2kg) and 20 in (50.8cm) long. She lives with her two older sisters in San Angelo Texas.

Barbara Reed, USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvallis traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan at the end of June as part of a joint USDA Agricultural Research Service and International Science and Technology Commission project. She is working with scientists from the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology and the Pomological Institute to conserve fruit crop germplasm through in vitro storage and cryopreservation. Kazakhstan and the central Asia region are the centers for diversity of apples and apricots, so those are a main focus of the project.

Information submitted by Barbara Reed