Challenges in Plant Sciences – PSC Colloquium

Date and Location

  • Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 14.15–17.45h. ETH Zurich room HG E23, Rämistrasse 101, Zurich,  (kick-off talks by PSC lecturers); and
  • Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 09.15–16:15h. ETH Zurich room LEE E 101, Leonhardstrasse 21, Zurich, (group presentations of students)

PSC Lecturers

Aurélien Bailly (UZH), Giovanni Broggini (ETHZ), Mark Mescher (ETHZ), Loïc Pellissier (ETHZ), Florian Schiestl (UZH), Bernhard Schmid (UZH), Rie Shimizu-Inatsugi (UZH), Elisabeth Truernit (ETHZ), Olivier Voinnet (ETHZ), Thomas Boller (U Basel), Sylvia Martinez (PSC & U Basel))


The colloquium “Challenges in Plant Sciences” is a core event of the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center's PhD program and the MSc module. The colloquium introduces participants to the broad spectrum of disciplines in plant sciences. The topics offer integrated knowledge about plant sciences, they range from the molecular level to the ecosystem level, and from basic to applied science while making use of the synergies between the different research groups of the PSC. The course offers a unique chance to approach interdisciplinary topics as challenges in the field of plant sciences.

During the kick-off meeting, each involved PSC lecturer gives a short kick-off talk as a general introduction to his/her research field. Subsequently, each student group prepares a presentation chosen from a variety of topics and based on literature provided by the tutors. Students gain knowledge and practice discussing and presenting research results.

Program, Tuesday, 17 October 2017 (kick-off talks)

14h15 Introduction Sylvia Martinez PSC
14h30 Ecological transcriptomics Rie Shimizu-Inatsugi UZH
14h45 Pollinator driven evolution in plants Florian Schiestl UZH
15h00 Spacial analysis of biodiversity and global change Loïc Pellissier ETHZ
15h15 Interkingdom volatile-mediated communication: do bacteria talk plantish? Aurélien Bailly UZH
15h30 Analysis of microRNA biology at single-cell resolution in Arabidopsis Olivier Voinnet ETHZ
15h45 Diversity strategies in agriculture Bernhard Schmid UZH
16h00 Break  
16h15 Challenges and opportunities in modern apple breeding Giovanni Broggini ETHZ
16h30 Phloem development and function Elisabeth Truernit ETHZ
16h45 Plant olfactory perception Mark Mescher ETHZ
17h00 Each student group meets with its tutor to define content of student talks. All participants
17h30 Approximate end of first event  

Program, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 (student talks)

09h15 Welcome  
09h20 Ecological transcriptomics Ina Schlathölter, Maximilian Vogt, Lukas Wille
09h55 Phloem development and function Lukas Kunz, Marina Stirnemann, Manuel Waller
10h30 Break  
10h45 RNA biology Anton Hochmuth, Jennifer Mark
11h10 Interkingdom volatile-mediated communication Simone Fouché, Danilo Pereira, Carolina Sardinha Francisco
11h45 Plant olfactory perception Anna Hunkeler, Isabel Schumacher, Aya Yokota
12h20 Lunch break  
13h45 Challenges and opportunities in modern apple breeding Jonatan Isaksson, Manuel Poretti, Vinay Shekhar
14h20 Diversity strategies in agriculture Camilo Chiang, Sabrina Flütsch, Marc Grünig
14h55 Break  
15h15 Pollinator driven evolution in plants Franco Conci, Shiva Ghiasi, Deborah Zani
15h50 Spacial analysis of biodiversity and global change Yuta Kawakami, Miguel Loera
16h15 Approximate end of colloquium  

Main objectives

  • Introduce PhD and Master students to the broad field of plant sciences
  • Promote active participation and independent student work
  • Enhance presentation and discussion skills
  • Increase interactions among students and teachers
  • Promote an interdisciplinary and integrative teaching program

Course structure and timetable

  1. Students register with PSC and choose a topic through the doodle (tba).
  2. During the kick-off meeting PSC lecturers hold short talks on their research topics and groups. Afterwards student groups meet with tutors/lecturers to define their talks scheduled for November and to plan the student teamwork.
  3. Between October and November. Each student group prepares its colloquium talks independently. Literature will be provided.
  4. Colloquium block course will be held in November, (check the exact schedule further up this website). Student groups present their talks. Each student receives grading and feedback by two experts.

Grading and Credit Points

2 Credit Points for PhD and Master students. Based on 8 days of work (= 60 learning hours) consisting of 2.5 days block course and 5.5 days of independent preparation time for the talk.