December 2018/January 2019 CAPS Newsletter

January 3, 2019

Center for Applied Plant Sciences

December 2018 and January 2019 Newsletter


Happy Holidays! We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and we are looking forward to everything that 2019 has to offer. Safe travels and we will see you next year!

CAPS 2018 Snapshot



CAPS Scientific Team Applications Open
CAPS is looking for Scientific Teams to create novel solutions for critical problems! CAPS seeks to bring together the wide-ranging expertise available at OSU to bridge basic and applied research largely by catalyzing formation of interdisciplinary teams from across the university. Teams are expected to be between 3-8 members, and should tackle a practical challenge. Initial project periods are anticipated to be 2-4 years in duration.
Proposals should be submitted by February 3, 2019 in a pdf form to and conform to all application requirements.
Please click here for further information! Download the pdf application here.
2019 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship Program Applications Open 
The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship program honors female scientists at a critical stage in their careers with grants of $60,000 each. Since 2003, L’Oréal awarded 75 postdoctoral women scientists nearly $4 million in grants. L’Oréal is seeking five exceptional female scientists looking to advance their research and serve as role models for the next generation of girls in STEM.
Candidates are selected from a variety of fields including the life and physical/material sciences, technology (including computer science), engineering, and mathematics. Candidates must have completed their PhD and have started in their postdoctoral position by the application deadline.
The application and more information about the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program can be found at
Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Rachel Pacifico at Thank you for considering this fellowship opportunity and for your help in advancing the role of women in science!
2019 OSU Plant Sciences Symposium
The Ohio State University Plant Sciences Symposium is hosting their 2nd annual event “Enhancing Plant Sciences through Technology, Communication, and Innovation”. All undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty and visiting scholars are invited to participate in this symposium! Please see the attached flyer for more information.
For graduate students, please submit your abstracts to be considered as student speakers by January 11, 2019. Selected student speakers will receive a $500 award!
General registration and poster submission will be accepted through February 28, 2019. Undergraduates are welcome and highly encouraged to participate in the poster competition. Prizes will be awarded to the top poster presenters! *Separate prizes will be awarded to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs/staff.
Date: March 29th-30th, 2019
Location: The Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
Follow this link for more information, free registration, and abstract/poster submission:



U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program
Being selected as a DOE Scholar offers the following benefits:
  • Stipends starting at $600 per week for undergraduates and $650 per week for graduate students and post graduates during the internship period
  • Limited travel reimbursement to/from assigned location
  • Direct exposure to and participation in projects and activities in DOE mission-relevant research areas
  • Identification of career goals and opportunities
  • Development of professional networks with leading scientists and subject matter experts
  • Be a U.S. citizenship
  • Be an undergraduate, graduate student, or recent graduate of an accredited institution of higher education majoring in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and related areas.
  • Must be pursuing a degree or have received a degree within 5 years of their starting date in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) discipline or have demonstrated interest or experience in a STEM field that supports the DOE mission.
How to Apply
Application deadline: December 17
For more information: Visit
$44,000 in Scholarships Available from Ohio Soybean Council Foundation
Scholarships are available to students pursuing studies related to the soybean industry and the field of agriculture. The deadline to apply is January 11, 2019 by 5:00 pm. Applications are available at
Graduate scholarships:
•    Three scholarships of up to $5,000 each
Graduate Eligibility: Students must be enrolled as full-time graduate students at an Ohio college or university. Applicants must be conducting research in bioproducts, biotechnology, biobased materials, bioengineering, biopolymers or a related field, and must be focused on advancing the soybean industry. Applicants must have proof of legal residency in the U.S.



February 1, 2018 - Ullas Pedmale, Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
We are pleased to share that Ullas Pedmale, Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will be speaking at the CAPS seminar series on Friday, February 1st. Ullas will be in Wooster from the afternoon of Wednesday, January 30th until the morning of Thursday, January 31st, then comes down to Columbus in time for lunch. He is a great speaker and his research has direct ties to agricultural improvement that will certainly interest CAPS and TPS (see Abstract below). Aman Husbands is scheduling meetings in both locations, so please email your time preferences. He is also filling slots for dinner in Wooster on January 30th and lunch/dinner/breakfast in Columbus.
Abstract: When shade is cast by neighboring vegetation, plants initiate a characteristic shade avoidance response (SAR). SAR leads to a rapid shoot growth (stem and petiole elongation) to maximize sunlight capture. But, this comes at a cost: reduced yield and plant productivity as well as poor root growth. SAR is an enormous obstacle for farmers, as it forces them to tradeoff between crop density and the limited availability of arable land. Ullas’ lab studies the molecular mechanism underlying the shoot-to-root communication mediating SAR, i.e., how the above ground shoot that senses changes in light then signals to the distant below ground roots. Recent results from his lab using a combination of genomics, genetics and biochemical approaches suggest that roots activate stress responses in the shade to slow down its growth by diverting resources to the shoot.



CAPS Annual Report
Our annual report is finished! Please visit this link to see all the programs that CAPS supports. Thank you for your participation!
Dr. Enrico Bonello receives a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. Enrico Bonello, professor of molecular and chemical ecology of trees in the College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has received a $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation! Dr. Bonello's research utilizes aerial drones to scout, track, and hopefully prevent crop diseases. Read the full article here!
Using the ‘fear of missing out’ to my advantage in science by Priscila Marie Rodríguez García
Priscila is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics at The Ohio State University (OSU). She recently attended a conference called SACNAS and wrote a story about her experience on her website. The story got the attention of an online magazine called Stories in Science and they asked Priscila to expand on it and publish it through them. Priscila's experience displays our ever-growing need for scientific communication skills.
Employment Opportunities - TPS, Rightmire Hall, ABRC
  1. The Translational Plant Science (TPS) Graduate Program is looking for a student to assist in the administration of the Translational Plant Science Graduate Program, including scheduling meetings, communicating with faculty and graduate students, preparing documents, gathering and organizing application materials, creating and editing promotional material, data collection related to program participation and policies, assist with recruitment strategies, maintain website and social media content, coordinate campus visits and travel. Interested? Click here to apply.
  2. Rightmire Hall, within the College of Arts and Sciences, seeks a Rightmire Student Assistant to join our team. This student will work with tools to make repairs, maintain mechanical equipment by performing preventative maintenance, clean condenser and evaporator coils, and other duties as assigned. They will also be on a computer helping with asset and key management. No experience is needed as the supervisor will be able to teach these skills to the student. This position should have someone who is well organized and willingness to learn. Interested? Click here to apply.
  3. Student to work at the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC) starting as soon as possible. ABRC collects, preserves, and distributes resources for research on Arabidopsis thaliana and other plant species. Responsibilities include: Retrieving and replacing materials in cold room, labeling, transferring seeds from storage to distribution vials, operating Seed Aliquoting Robot, data entry and retrieval in Filemaker Database, planting, watering and, harvesting Arabidopsis plants in greenhouse and growth chambers, and washing laboratory dishes. Require a minimum of 10 hours a week during our regular operating schedule, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm. Student will need excellent organizational skills/attention to detail and will need to be comfortable with working in both cold rooms and greenhouses. Click here to apply.



January Seminar Opportunity and Congrats to Ashley Yates!
In December, the Translational Plant Sciences Graduate Studies Committee will select a handful of applicants to visit the Columbus and Wooster campuses for the annual, two-day TPS candidate interviews. On Monday, January 7th all invited candidates will give 15 minute seminars highlighting their research experience. Details will be shared as the event draws nearer. We hope you will consider attending these special seminar presentations.
We would like to extend our congratulations to TPS Fellow Ashley Yates-Stewart for two recent awards. In October, Ashley won third place for her presentation in the PhD session at the Ohio Valley Entomological Association. In November, Ashely won first place in the student competition at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting.



Bharat Bhushan cited in Tech Explorist for his research on the stingers of wasps and honeybees and discovered that they have a softer tip that is harder to detect when it is initially inserted. This research gets the ball rolling for the development of painless needles
Anne Dorrance cited in Ohio's Country Journal for her recommendations about sampling for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations in the fall!
Liva Rakotondraibe cited in Ohio State News for his contributions to One Health for the development of a plant-based compound designed to control mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus.
Enrico Bonello cited in WFMJ for overseeing a study to find out more about the disease that is killing trees in Northeast Ohio. "There's no similar forest tree disease that we are aware of anywhere... It's really a black box."
Yael Vodovotz cited in AgriPulse for her research on functional foods and their promise for fighting diseases.



  • December 21 - No Seminar (Happy Holidays!)
  • December 28 - No Seminar (Happy Holidays!)
  • January 4 - No Seminar (Winter Break)
  • January 11 - No Seminar
  • January 18 - Mike Sovic
  • January 25 - Andrea Gschwend
We are looking for future seminar speakers for 2019!
As a reminder, we host external speakers and the cost of the visit including airfare, accommodation and meals will be covered by CAPS. Nominate someone here!
If you are interested in speaking at a CAPS seminar, please email