Meet the Plenary Speakers

The Plant Biology 2023 Program Committee has invited a diverse set of scientists as plenary speakers. The topics are all visionary and guaranteed to send you home excited and inspired. Read the full plenary descriptions here.

For the Presidential Symposium on Saturday, August 5, ASPB President Gustavo McIntosh has selected the topic “Plants and People,” about how plant science does not happen in isolation but instead affects the lives and wellbeing of people around the world. Read more about this important plenary. Speakers include:

CheFarmer Matthew Raiford
CheFarmer Matthew Raiford
Dr. Barbara Schaal
Dr. Barbara Schaal
Dr. Terri Long
Dr. Terri Long
Dr. Matteo Dell'acqua
Dr. Matteo Dell'acqua
Varying perspectives on our direction for the future will be presented in “Climate Change and the Future of Agriculture” on Monday, August 7, from 9:00 to 11:30 am. Participants include:
  • Nora Lapitan, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Jeremy Shears
  • James Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia
  • Amanda Cavanagh, University of Essex

Sterling Field of the Carnegie Institute for Science will explore a new umbrella grouping in “Highlights of New and Emerging Research on Biomolecular Condensates in Plants” on Sunday, August 6, from 9:00 to 11:30 am. Learn more about Sterling and his work.

This plenary will help you understand what biomolecular condensates are, as well as their crucial roles in regulating aspects of plant development, abiotic and biotic stress response, and more. Among those presenting will be:

  • Monika Chodasiewicz, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology
  • Sheng-Yang He, Duke University
  • Emilio Gutierrez-Beltran, University of Sevilla

Elison Blancaflor of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center will lead an exciting presentation on the challenges of growing plants in space, necessary for the continuous presence of humans. Learn more about Elison and his work.

In “Thriving in Deep Space: Plant Biology for the Moon, Mars, and Beyond” on Wednesday, August 9, from 9:00 to 11:30 am, participants will outline a range of solutions for adapting plants and their associated microbial communities to deep space. They include:

  • Lauren Azevedo-Schmidt, University of Maine
  • Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, Purdue University
  • Janet Jansson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Robert Jinkerson, University of California – Riverside

Sessen Iohannes of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory convenes a plenary on “Intercellular Communication in Plants: The Long and Short of It,” Tuesday, August 8, from 9:00 to 11:30 am. Learn more about Sessen and her work.


Catch up on the latest in this rapidly evolving field with experts in areas ranging from plasmodesmata biology to both short- and long-distance communication, including:

  • Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, University of Leeds
  • Tessa Burch-Smith, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Margaret Frank, Cornell University
  • Friedrich Kragler, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology

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