Plant Imaging Consortium A new perspective on plants

What do we do?

The NSF-funded Plant Imaging Consortium (PIC) brings together experts in plant biology, radiochemistry, phenomics, imaging, and computational biology to apply high-throughput phenotyping and molecular imaging techniques to the study of plant stress biology. High-throughput phenotyping (HTP) allows breeders to screen large populations of plants quickly and efficiently, and to quantify numerous complex traits that are not obvious to the naked eye. Molecular imaging (MI) techniques such positron emission tomography (ie. PET scans) utilize radioactive, fluorescent, or luminescent probes to elucidate the physiological processes that govern stress tolerance or susceptibility in plants. Together, these bioimaging technologies have transformative power to link genotype to phenotype and identify genetic sources of stress tolerance for crop improvement.

High-throughput phenotyping (HTP)
Arkansas State University

Molecular imaging (MI)
Washington University

Latest News »

  • 4/25/2017 - Congratulations to Dr. Suxing Liu, post-doctoral associate working with Dr. Argelia Lorence at Arkansas State University on his recent award at the MCBIOS 2017 Conference. Dr. Liu won second place for the Young Scientist Excellence Award based on the research he presented at the conference.
  • 4/21/2017 - Dr. Argelia Lorence’s lab was well-represented at Create@State 2017: A Symposium of Research, Scholarship and Creativity. Lucia Acosta-Gamboa and Nirman Nepal, PhD students working on Models 1 and 3 for PIC, gave oral presentations in the Life Sciences, Plant and Animal session, and Erin Langley, undergraduate student working with Acosta-Gamboa, presented during the College of Sciences and Mathematics poster session. Acosta-Gamboa won the award for Best Oral Presentation for her division. Congrats to all of these students for their hard work and excellent presentations!
  • 4/07/2017 - Lucía Acosta Gamboa and Nirman Nepal, two PhD students working with PIC, participated in A-State's 2nd annual DNA Day and taught local junior high school students about the important of vitamin C and the different pathways it can be transported in plants and animals!
  • 2/20/2017 - Fiona Goggin, a PIC faculty member at the University of Arkansas, and Chris Topp, a PIC affiliate from the Danforth Center, were interviewed recently in a Nature article featuring the implementation of new technologies in high throughput phenotyping. Check out the Nature article and a follow-up article in Scientific American!

Our Goals

  • Make infrastructure for HTP and MI accessible to plant biologists throughout Arkansas, Missouri, and beyond
  • Develop new protocols and analysis tools to use HTP and MI to study the spatial and temporal dynamics of plant stress responses
  • Promote community standards for the design, analysis, and reporting of HTP, MI, and other bioimaging experiments
  • Strenghten education and workforce development in biology, chemistry, and computational science


Plant Imaging Consortium (PIC) was initiated in August 2014 with funding from the National Science Foundation's EPSCoR Track-2 Research Infrastructure Improvement Program. Its mission is to apply new imaging technologies to advance research and education in plant biology, and to combat crop losses to sources of plant stress such as drought, poor soils, insects and diseases. The consortium brings together expertise and facilities for high- throughput phenotyping and molecular imaging that are located throughout Missouri and Arkansas, and supports interdisciplinary collaborations between the two states. PIC also promotes education in science and technology by providing teaching modules to local schools, and is creating linkages with private industry through internship programs and seminar series.

Principal Investigators: Gail McClure (Arkansas Science and Technology Authority) and John Walker (University of Missouri, Columbia), state EPSCoR directors for Arkansas and Missouri.

Co- Principal Investigators: David Braun (University of Missouri, Columbia), Fiona Goggin (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville), Silvia Jurisson (University of Missouri, Columbia), Argelia Lorence (Arkansas State University), and Yuan-Chuan Tai (Washington University, St. Louis).

External Advisory Board: Steve Borleske, chair (University of Delaware/Dupont), Glenda Gillaspy (Virginia Tech University), Edgar Spalding (University of Wisconsin), Richard Ferrieri (Brookhaven National Laboratory), Drew Weisenberger, (Thomas Jefferson Lab National Accelerator Facility), Joan Peckham (University of Rhode Island).


Member Institutions

National Science foundation awards #1430427 and #1430428: Collaborative Research on Plant Stress Response through Innovations in Phenomics and Molecular Imaging Technologies
Developed By:
The Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies