Joachim Messing Memorial Symposium

April 27, 2023

 Rutgers University, Selman A. Waksman Auditorium
190 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway NJ 08854

Sponsored by the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and hosted by Dr. Andrea Gallavotti and Dr. Pal Maliga. The Joachim Messing Memorial Symposium is an opportunity to engage with plant science, industry, and academic leaders to examine the state of life sciences and collectively search for the next breakthroughs while honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Joachim Wilhelm Messing. Within the symposium will be the Inaugural Messing Lecture by Dr. Marja Timmermans, the first of an annual lecture series generously supported by The Endowment of the Messing family.


10:00 am

Opening Remarks
10:15 am

How I Remember Jo Messing
Brian Larkins (University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ)

10:45 am

Coffee Break
11:00 am

Inaugural Messing Lecture: 
Drawing a straight line; pattern formation by small RNA morphogens
Marja C.P. Timmermans (University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany)

12:00 pm

Lunch - provided to all registrants

1:00 pm

Genomes gone wild: A tribute to Jo Messing
Ralph Bock (MPI-MP, Potsdam, Germany)

1:30 pm

The Gene Balance Hypothesis: How regulatory gene stoichiometries affect expression, the phenotype, and evolutionary processes
James A. Birchler (University of Missouri, Columbia, MO)

2:00 pm

Transgenic and non-transgenic reverse genetic tools for wheat functional genetics studies and their application to dissect a novel photoperiod pathway in wheat
Jorge Dubcovsky (UC Davis, Davis, CA)

2:30 pm

Coffee Break

3:00 pm

Secondary siRNA Pathways as Key Regulators of Male Reproductive Development in Plants
Blake Meyers (Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO)

3:30 pm

Engineering Rubisco for Climate Change
Maureen Hanson (Cornell, Ithaca, NY)

4:00 pm

The T2T completely assembled genome of maize
Jinsheng Lai (China Agricultural University, Beijing, China)

4:30 pm

Final Remarks

Location Details

Selman A. Waksman Auditorium
Waksman Institute Rutgers University

190 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway NJ 08854


Special Event Parking

Visitors may park in Lots A, B & C . Guests must use the link below to register for the event. Until this process is completed their vehicles are not registered and your guests may receive a citation. Special event parking and special event permits are only for visitors to the University, which does not include free metered parking. Faculty, Staff, and Students must park only in lots they are authorized to park in and should not register under the special event parking link.




Speaker Bios

Brian Larkins

Dr. Larkins received his BSc and PhD (1974) from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, spent 12 years at Purdue University before becoming the Head of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona in 1988. At Arizona he was a Regents Professor, held the Porterfield Chair in Plant Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1996), ASPP/ASPB (1972), AAAS (2007) and the National Academy of Inventors (2013).

Brian Larkins, University of Arizona

Marja Timmermans

Dr. Timmermans completed her graduate fellowship at Waksman Institute in 1996 and established her independent group at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, USA, in 1998. There she was promoted through the ranks of Assistant and Associate Professor to become a Full Professor in 2009. In 2015, upon being awarded the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Prize, she became Professor in Developmental Genetics and Cell Biology and later the director of the Center for Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Tübingen. Dr. Timmermans is an elected member of EMBO, Heidelberger Academy of Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the recipient of several awards, including the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Award, the L. Stadler Award, the Demerec-Kaufmann-Hollaender Fellowship, and the Perkin Fellowship for Women in Science.

Marja Timmermans, MPI for Biology

Ralph Bock

Bock is a Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. Since 2005, he has also been an honorary professor at the University of Potsdam and since 2016 at the Hubei University, Wuhan in China. Dr. Bock uses a wide range of cutting-edge biochemical, physiological, and genetic techniques to investigate plant cell organelles, with interests ranging from organellar physiology and gene expression to metabolic and genetic interactions between organelles and other cellular compartments. In 2010, Bock became a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 2021, he became a fellow of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.

Ralph Bock, Max Planck Gesellschaft

James Birchler

Birchler has served on the editorial boards of Genetics, The Plant Cell, BioMed Central Plant Biology, Tropical Plant Biology, Genomic Insights, Journal of Genetics and Genomics, Molecular Biotechnology, GM Crops, Maydica, Annual Reviews of Plant Biology and Annual Reviews of Genetics. Birchler has been an elected member of the Maize Genetics Executive Committee and the Council of the American Genetics Association. He was the 2017 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Professor of the Year and the recipient of the 2020 Barbara McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genomics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Einstein Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the St. Louis Academy of Science, the American Society of Plant Biologists, elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (2011), and the National Academy of Inventors.

James Birchler, University of Missouri

Jorge Dubcovsky

Dr. Dubcovsky is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California Davis and a Researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is member of the National Academy of Science of the USA and in 2014 received the Wolf world prize in Agriculture.  He has developed multiple publicly available genomic resources, including ESTs, SSR and SNP markers, BAC libraries and more recently a database including 15,000,000 sequenced mutations in the wheat gene coding and promoter regions. His wheat breeding program has released 17 commercial pasta and bread wheat varieties and 60 germplasm. He has trained 38 graduate students, many of whom are leaders in wheat research and breeding. His laboratory has published ~260 scientific papers that have been cited >34,000 (Google Scholar).

Jorge Dubcovsky, UC Davis

Blake Meyers

Meyers is a Member & Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, and he is a Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He formerly held the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg professorship in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware, where his research group was from 2002 to 2015. With over 260 published research articles that have been cited nearly 30,000 times, Meyers is a prolific scientific author and among the most highly cited plant scientists. Among his many leadership contributions, Meyers currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for The Plant Cell, a leading journal in the field. In 2022, he was elected as a member to the US National Academy of Sciences. 

Blake Meyers, Danforth Plant Science Center

Maureen Hanson

Hanson is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics. She received a B.S. degree at Duke University and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. After completing an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, she joined the faculty of the Biology Department at University of Virginia. She moved to Cornell as Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor in 1991. She is presently a member of the graduate Fields of Genetics and Development, Plant Biology, and Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology. She has previously served as Associate Director of the Cornell Biotechnology Program and Director of the Cornell Plant Science Center. She is currently Director for the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease. In 2021, she was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.

Maureen Hanson, Cornell University

Jinsheng Lai

Jinsheng Lai is a Plant Genetics and Breeding Professor at the State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and the National Maize Improvement Center of China at China Agriculture University (CAU) in Beijing. He earned his Ph.D. in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from CAU, followed by post-doctoral work with the late Dr. Joachim Messing at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology. His research focuses on insect and herbicide gene resistance, genetic engineering, endosperm gene imprinting, and molecular breeding. Dr. Lai serves on the Executive Committee for MaizeGDB. He also serves on several journal editorial boards, including the Journal of Integrative Plant Biology and The Plant Cell. His awards include China's National Science and Technology Award for outstanding contributions to the implementation plan, China's "Thousand Talents Plan" for Technological Innovation Leading Talent, a Dupont Young Professor Award, and New Century Excellent Talents Fund recipient.

Jinsheng Lai, China Agricultural University (农大)