2021 Synapsis Symposium: Cultivation & Culture

Virtual symposium: April 23, 2021

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Banu Subramaniam – University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Delores Piperno – Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Dawn Nagel – University of California Riverside
  • Katherine Denby – University of York
  • Sue Rhee – Carnegie Science
  • Elliot Heffner - Corteva Agriscience

See full schedule, below.



The theme for the 2021 symposium is “Cultivation & Culture.” Since this year is our 10th anniversary, the 2021 theme will be a combination of topics addressing where plant breeding has been and where it may go in the future, while highlighting historically underrepresented plant breeders and geneticists, native and diverse plant species, and underutilized cultivation methods.

To accomplish this, we will be splitting the day into 3 sub-themes around the Past, Present, and Future of Plant Breeding.

  • The Past: The Roots of Breeding
  • The Present: Culture of Plant Breeding
  • The Future: Where does our field go in the digital age?

Our goal is to spread the wealth of knowledge generated by these sources, so that plant breeders and geneticists can use this in ongoing and future efforts to combat the challenges we face in plant breeding.

Additionally, we are soliciting applications for Graduate Student Speakers. Download the 2021 Cornell Corteva Plant Breeding Symposium Graduate Student Speaker Application


8:30am ‐ 8:45am: Welcome and Introduction

  • Taylor Ferebee & Aimee Schulz, Symposium Chairs
  • Jason Rauscher, Corteva Agriscience

8:45am ‐ 9:45am: Katherine Denby

  • The Value of Networks in Plant Breeding

9:45am ‐ 10:00am: Faith Njeru

  • Nanobody Mediated Resistance to Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus in Maize Plants

10:00am ‐ 10:30am: Coffee Break & Breakout Rooms

  • 10:05am ‐ 10:20am: Breakout Rooms with Katherine Denby, Faith Njeru, and Jason Rauscher

10:30am ‐ 11:30am: Banu Subramaniam

  • Cultivating a Decolonial Botany

11:30am ‐ 12:30pm: Sue Rhee featuring Yanniv Dorone & Steven Boeynaems

  • A Journey Through Biophysics, Seed Physiology, and Ecology to Discover a Water Sensing Molecule that Controls Seed Germination

12:30pm ‐ 12:45pm: Moshen Yoosefzadeh Najafabadi

  • New Technology Coupled with Old Traits for Improving Yield in Soybean

12:45pm ‐ 1:45pm: Lunch & Breakout Rooms

  • 12:50pm ‐ 1:05pm: Breakout Rooms with Banu Subramaniam, Sue Rhee, Yanniv Dorone, Steven Boeynaems, and Moshen Yoosefzadeh Najafabadi

1:45pm ‐ 2:45pm: Dawn Nagel

  • Understanding the Impacts of Heat Stress on Clock Gene Regulation in Arabidopsis

2:45pm ‐ 3:45pm: Elliot Heffner

  • The Present Culture of Plant Breeding: an Industry Perspective

3:45pm ‐ 4:00pm:: Coffee Break & Breakout Rooms

  • 3:45pm ‐ 3:55pm: Breakout Rooms with Dawn Nagel, Elliot Heffner, and Delores Piperno

4:00pm ‐ 5:00pm: Dolores Piperno

  • The Past (and Future?) of Our Crop Plants in Changing Global Environments

5:00pm ‐ 5:15pm: Closing remarks

  • Taylor Ferebee & Aimee Schulz, Symposium Chairs

2021 Committee members:

  • Co-Chairs: Taylor Ferebee and Aimee Schulz
  • Sarah Jensen
  • Savanah Dale
  • Marlie Lukach
  • Ruth Epstein


  • Contact Aimee Schulz: ajs692 [at] cornell.edu