PlantResponse™ sponsored the 3rd workshop “New Frontiers in Plant Biology”, held on May 30th – June 1st in Madrid, for the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP) and its newly acquired status as Centre of Excellence Severo Ochoa.

The aim of the workshop was to present and discuss the latest major advances in plant growth and development, as well as adaptation to environmental changes and disease. More than 200 participants, including many students, joined world-renowned European and American scientists who are at the forefront of academic research.

Scientific highlights included a significant increase in our understanding of the diversity, mode of action and evolution of effectors from pathogenic bacteria and fungi in subverting plant immunity, and how these effectors act as a network to promote disease. RNA biology has seen a new burst of interest in the role of small RNAs as mobile instructive signals in plant development, mRNA catalysis and its implication in virus resistance/susceptibility. Important progress has been made on elucidating the genetic basis of leaf morphogenesis and transition from the vegetative to the reproductive stage, setting the framework to understand physiological and adaptive significance at different evolutionary scales.

A final round table was organized to discuss the challenges in translational research in plant sciences. Dr. Charles Pepe-Ranney (AgBiome, RTP, North Carolina, USA), Dr. Gabino Sánchez (Genetwister Technologies, The Netherlands) and Dr. Frédéric Brunner (PlantResponse™) debated different models of interaction between academic research institutions and their companies. PlantResponse™ regards public-private partnership such as collaborative projects as a key approach to addressing market failure in technology innovation, in order to bypass issues linked to climate change, disease pressure, and societal and economic needs.