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Early Career Members

Membres en début de carrière

Message from the New CSPB ECR Rep

Dr. Mark Minow

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Georgia

CSPB Student & Postdoc Representative

I recently had the honour of being elected by the CSPB student and post-doctoral body to serve on the executive board as the Student/Post-doctoral representative. While on the board, I aim to be an open liaison between CSPB student/post-doctoral members and the executive. Like many of you, I completed my Graduate studies in Canada. I obtained my Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Colasanti at the University of Guelph and have a great passion for plant biology. I am currently working as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Robert Schmitz’s lab at the University of Georgia, but I want to remain aware of the Canadian specific issues and hurdles that CSPB students and post-docs face. One of my main reasons for running for this position was to remain in touch with the Canadian plant science network, and I very much want this to extend to the CSPB student/post-doc body. I want the CSPB to help provide support to all plant biology trainees, both during their training and while they look for job placements. For this reason, I am inviting all CSPB student/post-doctoral members to please email me (studentrep@cspb-scbv.ca) to outline any struggles or concerns you are facing in your graduate or post-graduate work. I am hoping to identify common challenges, allowing for us to lobby for solutions to these hurdles, both within the CSPB and at other institutions if necessary. I will amalgamate these issues and bring them to the attention of the CSPB board, so that the CSPB can work towards improving the experience of all Canadian plant biology trainees.

I also want to take this opportunity to invite submissions for the CSPB’s “budding ideas” column. The budding ideas column is meant to be a place for graduate students and post-docs to share their thoughts on science, plants, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), or any other similar topics. This is an excellent opportunity to improve and demonstrate your non-academic scientific communication skills. We are currently soliciting submissions for the Spring 2023 bulletin, of which two will be printed. To submit your “budding idea” please email your column piece to admin@cspb-scbv.ca. Please note the deadline for submissions is always included at the end of the most recent CSPB bulletin.


Budding Ideas


Adrian Monthony

PhD Student Université Laval

The Budding Ideas column is an early career member contribution to the CSPB Bulletin which was initiated in Fall 2021. This column was created after the EDI Committee’s most recent survey brought to light that our Society could do more to engage with early career members at the graduate student and post- doctoral level. This column is one way to give graduate and post-doc members an opportunity to engage with the society, by sharing their interests, research and musings on topics touching STEM and plant biology, in short and sometimes unorthodox ways. The column is currently edited by EDI Committee member Adrian Monthony. Please email admin@cspb-scbv.ca with questions. 

Read Current Articles:

Ukraine: The world's breadbasket and a valuable contributor to plant biology

Adrian Monthony, ULaval

Read Past Articles:

Do you know what 'first-gen' means?

Andreea Bosorogan, UoT

Biomass, biofuels, and big mistakes?

Harley Gordon, UVic

Dear Auxin: An ode to the master hormone 

Sonhita Chakraborty, UoT

Minimizing lab waste through sustainable lab practices

Praveen Khatri, UWO

Featured New Faculty

Dr. Lauren Erland, University of the Fraser Valley

Dr. Lauren Erland joined the Agriculture Department at the University of the Fraser Valley as Director of Berry Horticulture Research in the Summer of 2022. Dr. Erland has had a multi-disciplinary research journey and looks forward to bringing this experience to both her research and trainees. Dr. Erland completed her BSc & MSc research at UBC Okanagan in Dr. Soheil Mahmoud’s lab and joined Dr. Praveen Saxena’s lab at the UoGuelph for her PhD where she used quantum dot microscopy, analytical chemistry and plant tissue culture to discover the cellular localization and role of melatonin and serotonin in plants. Her postdoc work with Dr. Susan Murch led her back to fieldwork, which COVID-pivoted to a discovery of the possibilities of metabolomics and establishment of a new field of untargeted hormonomics. Her new lab, the Berry Environmental Resilience Research & Innovation (BERRI) Lab aims to improve sustainability and resilience of berry horticultural systems and ecosystems. The initial focus of the lab will be in characterizing environmental resilience and the role of phytohormone networks in Vaccinium species including cranberry, blueberry and huckleberry. Dr. Erland is passionate about effective science communication and building inclusive, equitable and collaborative environments where all ways of knowing are celebrated and science can thrive. You can keep in touch through social media @plantdrlauren or the BERRI Lab website www.berrilab.com

Dr. Thomas DeFalco, Western University

Dr. Thomas DeFalco joined Western University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology in September 2022. His research seeks to understand how plants perceive and respond to their environment at the molecular level. Tom started his ca- reer in the lab of Wayne Snedden at Queen’s University before completing his PhD with Keiko Yoshioka at the University of Toronto. Following his PhD, Tom joined the lab of Cyril Zipfel at The Sainsbury Laboratory (Norwich, UK), where he worked on receptor kinases in the context of plant immunity and was awarded a European Molecular Biol- ogy Organization (EMBO) Long-Term Fellowship. In 2018, Tom moved with the Zipfel group to the University of Zurich (Switzerland), where he was subsequently an NSERC PDF and led several projects characterizing the plant immune system. His new lab uses a variety of genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches to interrogate receptor sig- nalling pathways, with a long-term goal of engineering improved crop resilience.

Dr. Yang Xu, University of Guelph

Dr. Yang Xu is an Assistant Professor in plant lipid biochemistry and biotechnology in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Food Science from Northwest A&F University (2006- 2010) and South China University of Technology (2010-2013), respectively, with a research focus on oil chemistry and oil enzymatic modification. She then pursued her PhD in Plant Science under the supervision of Dr. Randall Weselake at the University of Alberta (2013- 2017), where she expanded her research horizons and developed research interests in plant oil biotechnology. After completing her doctoral studies, she joined Dr. Guanqun Chen’s laboratory at the University of Alberta as a postdoctoral fellow (2017-2020) and worked on oil metabolism in microalgae. She later joined the laboratory of Dr. Christoph Benning at Michigan State University as a postdoctoral research associate (2020-2021). There, she extended her research focus to chloroplast membrane lipid metabolism in photosynthetic organisms. She was awarded the 2021 Carl Douglas Prize from the CSPB/SCBV. In Jan 2022, Dr. Xu started her own research lab at the University of Guelph. Her new research group focuses on studying acyl lipid assembly and trafficking in plants and developing bio- technology strategies to produce designer oils for food, fuel and renewable materials.

Featured New Faculty & Postdocs

Read full bios of our featured members to learn more about their research!

Previously featured early career members can be found here or check out their features in our past bulletins!

Know an Early Career Researcher you would like to see featured? Contact the communications director communications@cspb-scbv.ca

Past Student Presentation Award Winners

 If you have any suggestions of information you would like to see listed here please contact the CSPB student and post-doctoral representative studentrep@cspb-scbv.ca

Si vous avez des suggestions ou d'information que vous voulez voir ici SVP contactez representative étudiant et postdoc à studentrep@cspb-scbv.ca

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