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Student-run event highlights generations of plant breeding

Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium set for February 16

The ninth-annual Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium will take place on February 16 in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the Texas A&M University campus. The center is located at 1002 W. George Bush Drive, Bryan-College Station.

The one-day research conference is for students, faculty, and private industry researchers from across the country studying plant breeding, genetics, and related sciences.

The free event will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be free parking by the Annenberg Center for everyone with any TAMU parking pass.

To register, go to The event also will be live-streamed via Zoom, but registration is required for webinar access. A link will be sent to registered attendees who will be off campus the day of the event.

Legacies: Generations of Plant Breeding
The symposium’s theme this year is “Legacies: Generations of Plant Breeding,” to highlight research being done by breeders in different stages of their careers.

“We will have breeders talking about their accomplishments, how they set up their breeding program, how they expect their programs to change with the future, and any inspiration or advice they have for young plant breeders,” said Kayla Beechinor, a doctoral student in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences’ plant breeding program who is the chair for this year’s conference.

Beechinor said they are holding multiple oral presentation competitions and poster presentation competitions this year. The goal of the event is to educate future plant breeders through networking with leaders in plant breeding research.

On the agenda
Keynote speakers include:

  • Marcio Resende, Ph.D., sweet corn breeder and assistant professor in horticultural sciences, University of Florida.
  • Jason Morales, Ph.D., corn breeder, Corteva Agriscience.
  • Kate Evans, apple breeder and professor of horticulture, Washington State University.
  • Jim Holland, Ph.D., corn breeder, and plant science research geneticist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Bill Rooney, Ph.D., sorghum breeder, Regents Professor and Borlaug-Monsanto Chair for Plant Breeding and International Crop Improvement, Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crops Sciences.

Additionally, three Texas A&M graduate students include:

  • Yilin Zhu, Department of Horticultural Sciences.
  • Andrew Horgan, Department of Horticultural Sciences.
  • Qing Li, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. 

There also will be three travel scholars representing various universities, including:

  • Enzo Unzain Moreno, Kansas State University.
  • Andrew Herr, Washington State University.
  • Molly Irvin, Michigan State University.

Additionally, 20 students from Texas A&M will participate in the student poster competition at the symposium.

On February 17, a Q&A session will be held at noon with the speakers at the Plant Breeders Circle seminar in the Heep Center, Room 440, on campus.

Student leaders
The student-run event is designed to enhance the leadership and organization skills of future plant breeders.

In addition to Beechinor, this year’s organizing committee includes Ze Fang, doctoral student, molecular and environmental plant sciences; Hsiu-An Chou, master’s student, molecular and environmental plant sciences; Roly Malaker, doctoral student, plant breeding; Haramrit Gill, doctoral student, horticulture; Ilksen Topcu, doctoral student, plant pathology and microbiology; and Noah Winans, doctoral student, plant breeding.

The Texas A&M Plant Breeding Symposium is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and is a part of the Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposia Series, which connects similar events at universities around the world. Presenting partners also include Advanta, Corteva Agriscience, Texas AgriScience LLC, Texas Peanut Producers, Qualterra, and National Sorghum Producers.


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