The French minister of research and universities, Valérie Pécresse, visited UPSC on the 16th of october, to discuss with french scientists, after she attended the informal meeting of the Competitiveness Ministers that was held in Umeå on 14-16 October.
The Swedish Research Council Formas has chosen a UPSC-lead research consortium as one of the seven new "Strong Research Environments". The consortium, which consists of 11 scientists from Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, will share 25 miljon SEK during the five years' period 2010-2014. The project is called "Bioimprove-Improved biomass and bioprocessing properties of wood", and it is lead by Hannele Tuominen.
For his contributions to the development of UPSC Professor Mark Stitt has been named honorary doctor at the faculty of science and technology at Umeå University. He will formally receive the high honour at the annual ceremony on 18 October.
Åsa Strand has been awarded a Research Fellows position from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. This year the Academy offered 12 research fellow posts. The aim of this initiative is to create the best possible conditions for exceptionally gifted researches to carry out their research in Sweden.
In human genetics, association mapping is a method used to identify the genes behind different traits. In the last issue of Genetics, UPSC researchers show that the same technique can be used to identify the genetic basis of important traits in a tree (aspen, Populus tremula). In addition, the resolution of the mapping is higher than in the case of humans so the genetic differences potentially can be mapped down to the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), due to the low linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the Populus genome.
Professor Göran Sandberg and Assistant Professor Karin Ljung at UPSC, has together with colleagues from USA, France, and Argentina been able to identify a gene called TAA1 (Tryptophan Aminotransferase of Arabidopsis) that is directly involved in the synthesis of the plant growth hormone Auxin. The gene is specifically activated during the shade avoidance syndrome, when plants in response to changes in light quality, redirects growth from leaf expension and branching, to stem elongation and flowering. The results are published in the scientific journal Cell: e-link
On August 30, UCFB (UPSC Centre for Forest Biotechnology), a Berzelii centre jointly financed by VINNOVA, VR, SLU, UmU and Industrial partners was inagurated by, among others, the General director of Vinnova and the Vice Chancellers of SLU and UmU. The official center homepage (www.ucfb.se) was also opened up.