Recent Posts

White Paper: Reinventing postgraduate training in the plant sciences (Plant Direct)

What tools and skills do tomorrow’s plant scientists need, and how can we as a community ensure that today’s students get appropriate training? The Plant Science Research Network (PSRN), a consortium of plant science organizations and societies, has organized a series of workshops and discussions…

Editorial: The challenge of the post-truth era (Nature Chem Biol)

Why do people persist in thinking that climate change is not happening, or that vaccines cause autism? Scientists need to find better ways to communicate about what we do. In this editorial from Nature Cell Biology, the authors point to the low achievement level of US high school students (and those…

Review: What do cars and plants have in common? (PLOS One)

Plants and cars need energy and are powered by a process that has changed depending on the environment: photosynthesis, in the case of plants and an engine in the case of cars. Hartzell and coworkers make an analogy in the evolution of the original C3 pathway and the evolution of the internal combustion…

Mentoring lessons from plants (Pub. Philos. J.)

Everybody mentors, but usually without much training in how to be an effective mentor. I recommend that you have a look at Beronda Montgomery’s short article, “From Deficits to Possibilities: Mentoring Lessons from Plants on Cultivating Individual Growth through Environmental Assessment and Optimization.”…

New Teaching Tool, "Small and mighty, peptide hormones in plant biology"

We're excited to annouce the publication of The Plant Cell's latest Teaching Tool, "Small and mighty: Peptide hormones in plant biology," by Sonali Roy, Peter Lundquist, Michael Udvardi, and Wolf-Rüdiger Scheible, available without subscription at Plantae.org. A phytohormone (plant hormone) is defined…

Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops?

Science communication is as old as science itself, reaching even best-selling levels with some extraordinary examples such as “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin or “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by Stephen Hawking. Currently, and thanks to social media,…

Bioinformatics core competencies for undergraduate life sciences education (PLOS One)

Undergraduate life science curricula need to incorporate training in bioinformatics. Wilson Sayres et al. surveyed 1260 faculty from across the US to identify their thoughts on what such training should involve. Not surprisingly, 95% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I think bioinformatics…

Where do all the ecologists go? An investigation of US Doctorate recipients (Ecosphere)

Ecosphere. Hampton and Labou investigated the employment figures for recent recipients of PhDs (degree awarded between 2000 and 2011) in ecology from US-based institutions. They found that less than 20% of the PhD recipients are in tenure-track positions at research-focused, PhD-granting universities.…

Perception and reading strategies of scientific papers depends on academic career stage

PLOS One. Katharine Hubbard (@KEHplantsci) and Sonja Dunbar (@PlantSciSonja) are enthusiastic proponents of student-centered teaching, including guiding undergraduate students through the reading of scientific papers. In this new work they’ve evaluated how  undergraduate students compare to graduate…