UPSC meeting 2016Welcome to the UPSC Days 2016!

The UPSC Days will take place the 30th and 31st of May 2016 at Skogshögskolan (SLU, Umeå). The meeting will focus on cutting edge research in plant science and highlight new initiatives and facilities here at the UPSC. Besides talks we will have an extended poster session during lunch and coffee breaks. We like to encourage every participant to submit a proposal for a poster title together with the registration. The UPSC Young Scientist Symposium is included in the UPSC days.

We will only have plant-based food during the meeting. Lunches will be light street food. The meeting will end with a pot-luck barbecue in front of the UPSC. More detailed information about the barbecue will be send out soon.

The registration is closed now.

Location: P.O. Bäckström salen and Åteln, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU) in Umeå
How to find the place (map)

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Nilsson Ove Mattias PetterssonThe third evaluation report for centres financed by Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) and the Swedish Research Council (VR) is now published and ranks UPSC Berzelii Centre at the first place out of 20 evaluated centres. The international evaluation committee ranked UPSC Berzelii Centre on the first place as the only centre with “exceptional” performance.

UPSC Berzelii is one of the 3 centres that are approved for the fourth phase of funding in the Berzelii programme. The committee especially emphasized the centre’s excellent connection between academic and industrial partners. The interface between basic research and applied research was presented as “unique”. The committee pointed out that the scientific output was of very high quality with the “crown of jewel”, the draft of the genome sequence of Norway spruce in 2013. Crucial for the success of the UPSC Berzelii Centre is a “strong, active and visionary board working with and supporting a strong director” to bring the centre to this high standard. The committee also pointed out that the Umeå Centre showed a “robust and effective” strategy for long-term vision and mission.

"We are very pleased for this exceptionally positive evaluation of the programme that has taken almost ten years to set up. During this time we have established an increasingly close collaboration with forest industry partners to improve basic research while understanding the industry's problems and needs. It is particularly encouraging that a centre which is based on excellent basic research is highlighted as we proved that the translation from basic research breakthroughs into practical applications does not take as long as we think," comments Professor Ove Nilsson, director of the UPSC Berzelii Centre from the beginning in 2007.

151203 Oquist Fellow Johan GunseusGunnar Öquist, Olivier Keech, Judith Felten, Carl Kempe at the prize ceremony (from left, picture Johan Gunséus)[15-12-03] For the fourth time Carl Kempe, the chair of the Kempe Foundations, presented the Gunnar Öquist Fellows during a ceremony at the Chemical Biological Centre KBC. This year, two researchers at UPSC received each a SEK 3 million research grant and a SEK 50,000 personal funding. Judith Felten, researcher at the UPSC-department for Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology (SLU), and Olivier Keech, associate professor at the UPSC-department  of Plant Physiology (UmU), are the two awardees.

During the ceremony Gunnar Öquist reminded the audience on the Aarhus declaration 2012 and its five principles on how excellence in research is sustained and nutured: Recognising and nuturing talents, trust and freedom for outstanding researchers, long-term perspectives for pursuing truly novel research, creative and dynamic research envionments, and providing research funding that stimulates the exchange of knowledge between different research areas. The Kempe Foundation's fellowship will give the two young plant scientists the freedom to conduct new research projects in a highly interdisciplinary research environment at the UPSC and KBC. The emeritus professor and former permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will act as a mentor for the two young scientists.

planta3 webbThe Swedish Board of Agriculture has, after questions from researchers in Umeå and Uppsala in Sweden, confirmed the interpretation that some plants in which the genome has been edited using the CRISPR-Cas9 technology do not fall under the European GMO definition. This is important for the wide use of such plants to contribute to solving some of the escalating challenges of mankind.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique, invented in collaboration with researchers at Umeå University, allowing scientists to make small edits in the genetic material of an organism, edits that can also occur naturally. Instead of hoping that such edits occur by natural recombination, they can now be deliberately introduced in a targeted and precise manner. CRISPR-Cas9 can thus be used in many ways in plant science and breeding.

Plants that fall within the scope of EU GMO legislation are subject to a very strict regulatory regime (in reality making it impossible to grow them in the field in most EU countries). Plants that fall outside the scope can be grown without restriction. Since “inside or outside of the GMO definition” will decide whether or not plant scientists will be able to use the technique for practical applications, plant scientists and breeders have been waiting for the authorities’ decision concerning CRISPR-Cas9.

Outside the EU, countries such as Argentina have announced that similarly edited plants fall outside their GMO legislation, but no decision has been taken yet inside the EU. A complicating factor is that the technique can be used in several different ways with the consequence that some of the resulting plants may fall outside while others may fall inside the GMO legislation. Now, for the first time, concrete examples have been evaluated by a competent authority, and the Swedish Board of Agriculture announced today their opinion that some Arabidopsis plants that have been modified using CRISPR-Cas9 fall within the scope of the legislation while others do not.

Signature INUPRAG 2015

The Franco-Swedish laboratory without walls "UPRA" opens at CRAG, a Spanish research center.

In 2005, the connections between the research projects of the UPSC (Umeå Plant Science Center, Plant Science Center, Umeå, Sweden) and INRA (French National Institute for agricultural research) in the fields of biology and plant genomics led to the creation of a virtual European Open Laboratory called "UPRA" and to the signature of a cooperation agreement between the institutions. In continuation with this action, a new cooperation agreement opens to a new partner, the CRAG (Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics, Barcelona, Spain).
October 7, 2015, on the INRA site Champenoux, the UPSC, two divisions of the INRA ("Biology and Plant Breeding", "Ecology of forests, meadows and water bodies") and the CRAG have signed a new agreement. The UPRA became INUPRAG, contraction of INRA, UPSC and CRAG. These three research institutions have strong complementarities in areas of plant integrative biology and genomics.

PhDstudents WWSC AcademyThirty graduate students from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center Academy, accompanied by their coordinator Prof. Paul Gatenholm from Chalmers will be visiting UPSC during three days in the early fall. The students have a background in biopolymers and fluid mechanics and want to learn about our research on wood formation and build bridges to UPSC PhD students and postdocs.

We have prepared an exciting programme for this WWSC-UPSC meeting with

  • lectures by Ove Nilsson, Ewa Mellerowicz, Rosario Garcia Gil and Nathaniel Street on wood biology, wood biotechnology, genetics and genomics
  • a poster-session and a research seminar slot where WWSC-Academy PhD students and UPSC PhD students and postdocs will present their research to each other
  • a team-building activity “5-kamp” and a BBQ that will foster closer connections of WWSC and UPSC members
  • and finally a common workshop of UPSC and WWSC students/postdocs on topics such as “Design of new trees for growth of materials” and “New materials from transgenic trees”

The detailed schedule for this meeting can be found pdfhere
Don’t miss this stimulating opportunity that will bring new valuable connections to UPSC!

You are invited to come to the poster-session and dinner on August 31st, the research presentations and social activities on Tuesday September 1st and the workshop on Wednesday September 2nd. We hope to see many of you!
pdfList of poster presentations

Ewa Mellerowicz, Hannele Tuominen and Judith Felten

Photo: PhD students of the WWSC Academy

FVD webblogo 45kThe third Fascination of Plants Day will be celebrated in Umeå on
May 23, 2015 at Umeå Arts Campus.  
Plant scientists invite you to 25 stations with experiments and demonstrations. Learn more about the secrets of photosynthesis! Find out about the pigments, structures, and hidden energy storages in plants; taste the fascinating flavours of plants;  listen to short presentations by UPSC researchers on current research topics; discover your creativity, inspired by the colors of plants at the Bildmuseet’s workshop! Join a tour through the "Residensparken"!
Welcome to the fascinated world of plants!
23 May, 11:00-17:00, Umeå Arts Campus, Sliperiet and Bildmuseet

The Fascination of Plants Day Umeå is one of around 950 events worldwide which are organized under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). UPSC initiated the event in Umeå and are coordinating the day. Collaborating organisations are Bildmuseet, several departments from SLU and Umeå University, Arboretum Norr, and the local group of the Swedish Bonsai Organisation.
More information:
"Fascinerande växters dag" in Sweden and Umeå

Fascination of Plants Day, international

Contact: Stefan Jansson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SPPS prizes gruppbild 2 webbDuring its  26th annual meeting 9-13 August in Stockholm, the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society (SPPS) will grant four prizes to UPSC scientists.

Gunnar Öquist, professor emeritus at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will receive the SPPS Award, which is given "to a scientist (...) in recognition of his/her outstanding merited contribution to the science of plant biology in Scandinavia".

Nathaniel Street, PI at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will receive the SPPS Early Career Award together with Ari-Pekka Mähönen, University of Helsinki. This award is granted to "a young, highly talented scientist, who has shown good progress and made significant, independent contributions to Scandinavian plant biology". 

The Physiologia Plantarum Award, the prize of the organisation's journal, will go to Torgny Näsholm, because he is considered a scientist, who "has made outstanding contributions to plant science in the areas that are covered by the journal". Torgny Näsholm is PI at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology (SLU).

And Stefan Jansson, PI at the Department of Plant Physiology (UmU), will be awarded with the SPPS Popularization Prize, which is an award of honor "to encourage plant biologists to bring research results to the public".

More information about the prizes (webpage of the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society, SPPS

Press release of Umeå University (in Swedish)

Information about the scientists research:
Gunnar Öquist's contact information

(Picture by Ingrid Söderbergh; from left Torgny Näsholm, Nathanial Street, Stefan Jansson)

Agrisera Award 2014 Delphine Gendre20141216 webThe 2014 Agrisera prize is awarded to Delphine Gendre for her excellent scientific contributions involving highly skilled work looking at protein trafficking. This has lead to important publications in prestigious journals such as Plant Cell and PNAS. Delphine is also a very collegial and helpful person and has contributed to important dicussions about UPSC working conditions through her work on the UPSC board.

The award was presented by Greger Nordlund, Agrisera, on Tuesday, 16 December 2014, at UPSC.
(Picture: Joanna Porankiewicz-Asplund (Agrisera), Delphine Gendre, Greger Nordlund (Agrisera), Ove Nilsson)

SVD article bildDebate article in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, 2014-12-16

Åsa Strand and Stefan Jansson, both professors at Umeå Plant Science Centre, are two of the six leading scientists who criticize Swedish and EU politicians acquiescence to non-science based arguments to halt research on genetically modified plants (GM). Moving away from current rules based on scientific assessments is a step backwards, the scientists write in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet, SvD.

Article in Svenska Dagbladet, 2014-12-16 (in Swedish)