Taproot S2E1: Phenotyping Roots without Pulling up Your Own with Guillaume Lobet

To kick off Season 2, Ivan and Liz talk with Guillaume Lobet, Assistant Professor at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Université Catholique de Louvain. He was also a graduate student at UCL and took three postdoctoral positions in Germany and Belgium before returning and starting his faculty position in 2016. His work focuses on development of image analysis and phenotyping tools to help researchers improve their scientific workflow. He won the Plant Cell Teaching Tools in Plant Biology competition in 2015 and is an Academic Editor at Plant Direct.

Most academic positions require or at least prefer applicants who have moved to different cities or countries during the course of their scientific training. Guillaume is a real exception to this rule; as a faculty member, he currently occupies the same office where he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation!

In this episode, we discuss one of Guillaume’s publications (Lobet et al., Plant Physiology 167: 617-712, 2015) on the development of the Root System Markup Language (RSML). We talk about how this system helps fulfill the need for a unified system to describe root architecture and the collaborations that made this open-source project possible. We also discuss the pros and cons of moving for scientific training, and find out how and why Guillaume was able to find a faculty position, network internationally and still remain in his hometown with family.

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Root system markup language: toward a unified root architecture description language, Lobet et al. 2015


Guillaume’s personal webpage

Recent eLIFE community essay about “mandatory” research training abroad

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The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications in plant biology are created. In each episode, co-hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter take a paper from the literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of its authors.

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Questions, feedback, suggestions?  Contact us at taproot@plantae.org.

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