WHAT: The Genomics of Energy and Environment Meeting brings together researchers from around the world with an interest in how genomics applies to bioenergy and environmental issues. The Meeting agenda and a registration link are available at http://1.usa.gov/JGI-UM7
WHO: Researchers from around the world will convene in Walnut Creek, California for the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute's 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting. Since 2005, the DOE Joint Genome Institute has focused on the application of genomics to bioenergy and environmental issues. Many of the projects are related to clean energy generation and focus one of three key aspects: the development of biofuel feedstocks; the identification of enzymes that can effectively break down plant fibers into sugar; and the development of processes to ferment plant-derived sugars into liquid biofuel.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 2012-Thursday, March 22, 2012
WHERE: Marriott in Walnut Creek, California
Below are advance summaries of selected talks and poster presentations from the DOE Joint Genome Institute's Genomics of Energy and Environment Meeting. Reporters who wish to avail of free media registration to the Meeting or to schedule an interview with one of the presenters should contact DOE JGI Public Affairs Manager David Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Selected Talks from the DOE JGI 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting:
On the Genome Beat
A reporter's perspective on how rapid developments in genome sequencing are influencing the way it is being presented by the media.
Presenter: Carl Zimmer, New York Times (keynote)
When: 5:00 p.m., March 20, 2012
What does spikemoss tell us about plant evolution?
The spikemoss sequence fills in plant evolution gaps, and offers insights in lignin development and its' potential modification for biofuel production
Title: The Genome of Selaginella, a Remnant of an Ancient Vascular Plant Lineage
Presenter: Jody Banks, Purdue
When: 8:30 a.m., March 21, 2012
Orange you glad?
Gmitter will focus on an overview of citrus genomic resources, and how they can be used to improve and protect one of the most widely grown and economically significant tree fruit crops produced in the world.
Title: Applications of Genome-based Science in Shaping the Future of the World's Citrus Industries
Presenter: Fred Gmitter, University of Florida
When: 9:00 a.m., March 21, 2012
Fungus among Us
Fungi are the main source of enzymes used by industry for a myriad of applications, and as they're crucial to breaking up wood and leaf litter on forest floors, cellulosic biofuels researchers are interested in identifying the cellulases and other enzymes that might be involved in breaking down plant biomass. Two Meeting talks focus on fungi being studied to improve both cellulase characterization and production at an industrial level.
Talk Title 1: Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidiomycetes
Presenter: David Hibbett, Clark University
When: 10:30 a.m., March 21, 2012
Talk Title 2: Systems Biology Approaches to Deciphering Plant Cell Wall Deconstruction by a Model Filamentous Fungus
Presenter: N. Louise Glass, UC Berkeley
When: 2:00 p.m., March 22, 2012
Sunny side up
The sunflower is an important oilseed crop and, now that a draft of its genome sequence is available, a strong candidate for cellulosic biomass production.
Title: The Sunflower Genome and its Evolution
Presenter: Loren Rieseberg, University of British Columbia
When: 11:00 a.m., March 21, 2012
Ancient Human Genomes for Understanding Human Migration Patterns
Combining ancient human hair from museum samples of human populations with next generation sequencing allows researchers to generate complete genomes of extinct populations, providing insights on how humans spread out over the planet.
Title: Understanding Historical Human Migration Patterns and Interbreeding Using the Ancient Genomes of a Palaeo-Eskimo and an Aboriginal Australian
Presenter: Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen
When: 2:45 p.m., March 21, 2012
The digital demands of mega-genomics
Sequencing technologies and other advances have led to increasing demands on computer processing and analysis. Scalable computer systems and computer algorithms are being developed to handle large-scale genome assembly, transcription analysis, etc.
Title: Entering the Era of Mega-genomics
Presenter: Michael Schatz, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
When: 4:30 p.m., March 21, 2012
Microalgae as a candidate bioenergy feedstock
A third generation biofuel source, algae are already being blended into fuels used by the military. To optimize algal oil production even further, researchers are applying transgenic strategies from omics and biodiversity surveys.
Title: Tapping the Molecular Potential of Microalgae to Produce Biomass
Presenter: Richard Sayre, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
When: 10:00 a.m., March 22, 2012
Smallest genomes are in the sea
If the marine environment can best support large organisms such as the blue whale, why does it also contain the organisms with the smallest genomes? In studying marine bacterioplankton, the genome streamlining theory suggests that minimalism allows for large bacterial populations to efficiently use nutrient resources.
Title: The Evolution of Streamlined Genomes in Ocean Bacteria
Presenter: Stephen Giovannoni, Oregon State University
When: 10:30 a.m., March 22, 2012
Omics in the Arctic
Last year DOE JGI, Berkeley Lab and US Geological Survey researchers published a study on the microbial response to the thawing permafrost, which has the potential to release billions of tons of trapped greenhouse gases. To learn more about the impacts of rising global temperatures upon the Arctic, and in turn, upon the planet, the Department of Energy is funding a collaborative effort between researchers at several national laboratories known as the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (http://ngee.ornl.gov/).
Presenter: Stan Wullschleger, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
When: 2:30 p.m., March 22, 2012
Genomics of Energy and Environment
The adage "you can't move forward without looking back" is being applied to understand how the Earth and its biosphere have co-evolved. Through paleogenetics, the genome sequences of genes and proteins from extinct organisms are being studied and linked back to various records of life to understand interactions between species, environments and ecosystems.
Presenter: Steven Benner, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (keynote)
When: 4:15 p.m., March 22, 2012
Selected Posters from the DOE JGI 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting:
Mining Microbial Communities to Break Down Biomass
Breaking down plant cellulose currently involves an ionic-based pretreatment process. Most enzymes are sourced from microbes, which can't tolerate ionic liquids. Researchers are studying microbial communities from salt ponds to find alternative enzymes that are tolerant of ionic liquids to improve the efficiency of the current biofuels production pipeline.
Presenter: Nicholas Ballor, Joint BioEnergy Institute
Kbase: DOE's Open-Source, Cloud-Based Database for Plants, Microbes and Microbial Communities
Multiple posters discuss the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (Kbase), a free, open-source and cloud-based database project funded by the DOE's Genomic Science program. Kbase is a collaborative effort driven by researchers at several national labs, with the goal of providing researchers with access to data models and simulations to improve our general understands of plants, microbes and microbial communities.
Presenters: Adam Arkin and Paramvir Dehal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
Folker Meyer, Argonne National Laboratory
Tom Brettin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Doreen Ware, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory
Mummified Seals of McMurdo Dry Valleys
Mummified seals found in the McMurdo Dry Valleys can provide a more hospitable microenvironment for microbial communities found in this snow-free region of Antarctica. The data suggest that predicting how microbial communities respond to climate change can be influenced by the presence of these seal carcasses.
Presenter: Craig Cary, University of Waikato, New Zealand and University of Delaware
Gut Microbial Community of the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae
The microbial community in the gut of the mosquito that causes malaria is crucial for many life functions, including its ability to reproduce. A study of the gut microbial community after a mosquito has had a blood or sugar meal helped researchers pinpoint the microbes and genes that are involved in these traits.
Presenter: Jiannong Xu, New Mexico State University
Contributions of a Fungus from an Acid Mine Drainage Biofilm to Carbon Cycling and Biomass Deconstruction
One of the DOE JGI's first metagenomic studies involved microbial communities found in an EPA Superfund acid mine in Northern California. Researchers studied the genome of the dominant fungus in the acid mine drainage biofilms to understand its role in the ecosystem's carbon cycle. Enzymes from this same fungus may also have industrial applications such as breaking down plant biomass for biofuel production.
Presenters: Annika Mosier, UC Berkeley
Supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science, the DOE JGI's Community Sequencing Program enables scientists from universities and national laboratories around the world to probe the hidden world of microbes and plants for innovative solutions to the nation's major challenges in energy, climate, and environment. Follow the DOE JGI on Twitter and Facebook.
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