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Special Sessions​

​​​The following Special Sessions will take place during Plant Health 2021 Online.

Session schedule and speaker details will be posted as details are finalized.


  • Advances in Point-of-Care Detection of Forest Diseases

    Advances in Point-of-Care Detection of Forest Diseases

    Learning Objectives

    Attendees will be able to:

    • Deploy tools for point-of-care, rapid and field-based detection of plant disease in natural and urban landscapes, without the need of external diagnostic laboratories.
    • Identify constraints and opportunities for deploying advanced technologies in field environments

  • Capturing TAL Effector Variation at the Pathogen-Host Molecular Interface to Anticipate Pathogen Emergence

    Capturing TAL Effector Variation at the Pathogen-Host Molecular Interface to Anticipate Pathogen Emergence

    Learning Objectives

    Attendees will be able to:

    • Gain understanding of the role of TALEs in plant disease and the processes governing their evolution
    • Become familiar with state of the art technologies and assembly methods for Xanthomonas genome sequencing and analysis
    • Learn concepts and discuss key questions surrounding the use of population and temporal scale TALE sequence inventories to - reconstitute past evolution of TALEs - monitor TALE effector recombination during epidemics - anticipate and assess the potential for new, TALE-adapted, resistance-breaking or host-jumping strains to guide development and deployment of disease management tools

  • Current Topics in Virus Taxonomy

    Current Topics in Virus Taxonomy

    Learning Objectives

    The session aims to bring awareness about recent changes in virus taxonomy to plant virology community and evaluate/discus their impact in “real life” (i.e. policy making, plant quarantine lists, certification and movement of plant materials, edit​orial work, etc.) through an open discussion with attendees of the Plant Health 2021 Meeting ​of the American Phytopathological Society.​


  • ‘Fighting Virus with Virus’: Using Plant Viruses for Disease Solutions

    ‘Fighting Virus with Virus’: Using Plant Viruses for Disease Solutions

    Learning Objectives

    • Attendees will learn new techniques and tools about how to generate or deliver novel therapeutics with use of plant viruses for major plant (and human) diseases
    • Attendees will gain better insight into molecular characteristics of plant virus-host interactions.
    • After the session, attendees will be able to learn new techniques, ideas, or tools to adopt to their own work

  • From the Top Down: How Microbial Predators Mediate Plant Disease

    From the Top Down: How Microbial Predators Mediate Plant Disease

    Learning Objectives

    ​After participating in this session, conference attendees will have a greater awareness of multitrophic interactions, specifically those between predators and prey, and how they can impact disease outcomes in plants. They will be able to identify methodologies and collaborators to help them address these issues in their own work. The goal is to excite the audience about a rapidly growing area of research that has already reshaped our understanding of plant pathology. In addition, the organizers plan to feature the topic and the work of the Session speakers in a Perspectives article for the journal Phytobiomes, with targeted publication date within a few months of the Special Session.

  • The Future of Agricultural Antibiotics in the Face of Bacterial Resistance in Agricultural and Medical Settings

    The Future of Agricultural Antibiotics in the Face of Bacterial Resistance in Agricultural and Medical Settings

    Panel Discussion

    Learning Objectives

    Obtain broader knowledge regarding the potential spread of antibiotic resistance across industries and how this may impact the future of antibiotic usage in plant agriculture


  • GMOs in the Public Discourse: Better Communication for a Better World

    Panel Discussion

    Learning Objectives

    Attend​ees will be able to objectively judge a contentious subject such as GMOs and educate their colleagues, family and friends using a language that resonates. Both inside and outside the walls of our laboratories, the APS scientific community has a responsibility to better communicate these issues.


  • New Products and Services​

    New Products and Services

    Learning Objectives

    Attendees will be informed and educated on the newest products available to them in both technology and disease control, and will be given a platform to answer any questions about these products.​


  • Plant-Pathogen Evolution in a Rapidly Changing World

    Plant-Pathogen Evolution in a Rapidly Changing World

    Learning Objectives

    Attendees will be able to:

    • Describe how specific characteristics of plant-pathogen systems can drive pathogen emergence and disease dynam​ics
    • Critically evaluate the assumption that fitness tradeoffs between environments limit the spread and emergence of novel plant pathogens, ​and understand when evolution can resolve fitness tradeoffs
    • Recognize the ability of fungal ​pathogens to repeatedly evolve pathogenicity and the genetic changes that lead to this evolution​
  • Plant Pathologists of the Future: Showcasing Graduate Student Presentation Winners from APS Division Meetings​

    Plant Pathologists of the Future: Showcasing Graduate Student Presentation Winners from APS Division Meetings

    Learning Objectives

    Attendees will learn about a diversity of award-winning research that is being conducted and presented by our top graduate students competing in the APS Division meetings. Many previous Division graduate competition winners gone on to have very successful careers in plant pathology and been engaged with APS.


  • Postharvest Technologies at the Forefront of Combatting Food Loss and Food Insecurity

    Postharvest Technologies at the Forefront of Combatting Food Loss and Food Insecurity

    Learning Objectives

    The attendees will become more aware about the current challenges in preventing food loss and food waste and better approaches to prevent them. Attendees will increase their knowledge in the state of the art of the research being conducted in postharvest pathology. Researchers, i.e. junior scientists and students, will have the opportunity to apply the learned science in their research programs to develop novel approaches aimed to reduce food loss. Other attendee will be more aware of the role of science in providing safer and higher quality produces. Overall, the session will foster cross-disciplinary projects between scientists conducting research in postharvest pathology.​


  • A Retrospective Look at Emergency Responses to Emerging Plant Diseases - Evaluating the Shifts in our Risk Perception

    A Retrospective Look at Emergency Responses to Emerging Plant Diseases - Evaluating the Shifts in our Risk Perception

    Learning Objectives

    During this session, the attendees will appreciate the layers of complexity associated with responding to emerging pathogens. ​The attendees will assess the necessary transdisciplinary knowledge, collaboration, and communication between stakeholders and policymakers during emergency responses aimed at securing plant health.



  • Technology Transfer: From The Lab To The Diagnostician’s Bench

    Technology Transfer: From The Lab To The Diagnostician’s Bench

    Panel Discussion

    Learning Objectives

    After attending this session, participants will be able to:

    • Become aware of the different environments in which diagnostic essays are performed.
    • Gain a better understanding of the implementation challenges across different plant pathology diagnostic sectors.
    • Assess opportunities for collaboration for verification and validation.
    • Develop sustainable technology transfer by incorporating the knowledge gained in the session when developing new diagnostics tools.​

  • Tropical Plant Pathology: The Challenges and Advantages of Working in the Tropics​

    Tropical Plant Pathology: The Challenges and Advantages of Working in the Tropics

    Learning Objectives

    This special session will showcase successful projects on tropical plant pathology in multiple countries. The attendees will be able to witnes​s the opportunities, challenges, and rewards of working with a multidisciplinary subject with a diverse and multicultural group of scientists in different parts of the world. Considering the impacts of climate change, this special session will offer the attendees from temperate regions a unique opportunity to​ think in different ways to manage diseases under constant shifts in weather patterns. Our goal is that this exchange of experiences will increase research collaborations across disciplines and countries and inspire a creative and innovative approach to manage plant disease worldwide.​


  • Why Do Plant Pathogenic Fungi Produce Mycotoxins? Potential Roles For Mycotoxins In The Plant Ecosystem

    Why Do Plant Pathogenic Fungi Produce Mycotoxins? Potential Roles For Mycotoxins In The Plant Ecosystem​

    Panel Discussion

    Learning Objectives

    After attending this session, participants will be able to:

    • Understand diversity of toxins produced by fungi and their ecological roles.
    • Learn about potential host jumps and consequences for mycotoxin production.
    • Learn how toxins contribute to success of plants and fungi in the phyllosphere/rhizosphere.



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