Colorado State University - USA
Jan Leach is a plant pathologist who studies plant-microbe and plant-insect-microbe interactions. Her focus is on understanding the molecular mechanisms of plant disease susceptibility and resistance. Leach is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, and she also serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture. Leach is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She has worked with the APS Public Policy Board for more than 16 years, and is now leading advocacy of the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity. Leach is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is Co-Editor of the Annual Reviews of Phytopathology, and has served in various capacities on other editorial boards, including service as Editor in Chief of the APS journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Leach is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Keystone Symposia. Leach earned her B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a postdoctoral fellow at East Malling Research in Kent, England.
Summary of lecture
The Phytobiomes Initiative: A New Vision for Agroecosystem Management
The phytobiome consists of plants, their environment, and their associated communities of organisms. Thus, phytobiomes include soil, climate, microbes, nematodes, insects, worms, and other plants. The Phytobiomes Initiative is an advocacy focus that offers a new vision for agriculture in which sustainable crop productivity is achieved through a systems-level understanding of the diverse interacting components of phytobiomes. Conceptual and technological advances in diverse fields of research, including ‘omics sciences, systems biology, microbial ecology, data science, and precision crop management systems, are positioning researchers to achieve major leaps in characterizing, analyzing, and managing phytobiomes as integrated systems. The Phytobiomes Initiative is aimed at generating support and activities to achieve a comprehensive understanding of phytobiomes. With input from a wide range of stakeholders, a Roadmap for Phytobiomes Research and Translation has been developed and will be launched in early 2016. Highlights of the Roadmap, and future opportunities for the phytobiomes research community will be presented.