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Drought experts present at InterDrought III

InterDrought III

(L-R) Drs. Mel Oliver, Robert Sharp, and Henry Nguyen

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Drs. Robert Sharp, Henry Nguyen, and Mel Oliver presented invited talks at InterDrought III, the Third International Conference on Integrated Approaches to Improve Crop Production under Drought-Prone Conditions, held in Shanghai, China, from October 11-16, 2009.

Sharp, a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences, presented on "Root growth at low water potentials: complexity and coordination of cellular responses." Sharp is internationally recognized as an expert on root growth regulation under water deficits.

Henry Nguyen, professor in the Division of Plant Sciences and Director of the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology, presented on "Transcriptomics and proteomics of root responses to drought in soybean." Prof. Nguyen also served as a member of the conference's organizing and program committees.

Oliver presented on "Exploiting the genomes of dehydration/desiccation-tolerant species in crop improvement strategies." Oliver is a supervisory research geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct professor in the Division of Plant Sciences.

Sharp and Nguyen also gave talks at a satellite workshop titled "Rice and Drought," which was held on October 17 and organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Sharp's talk focused on the physiological complexity and genetic diversity of root growth under water deficits, while Nguyen gave a comparative analysis of drought-responsive genes.

The InterDrought conferences serve as a platform for scientists and researchers to present and debate the latest findings and strategies for increasing crop yield and stability under drought. InterDrought III follows InterDrought I, held in France in 1995, and InterDrought II, held in Italy in 2005.

Sharp, Nguyen, and Oliver are all members of the MU's Interdisciplinary Plant Group. The IPG is a professional community of MU faculty, students, and professionals from a range of scientific disciplines who are pursuing novel, creative and transformative ideas in the field of plant biology. More information about the IPG can be found at