Plant Imaging Consortium A new perspective on plants

Using Plant Phenotyping, RNA Sequencing, and Metabolomics to Identify Drought Tolerance Mechanisms in Tomato

  • PI: Stephen Grace | University of Arkansas Little Rock
  • Description:
    The major objective of this project is to use high throughput phenotyping (HTP) and plant imaging in combination with global gene expression and metabolite profiling to characterize the genetic, biochemical, and physiological mechanisms of drought tolerance in tomato (Solanum lycopersicon). To do this, we are comparing the effects of short term water stress in a drought sensitive tomato cultivar (M82) and a drought tolerant wild relative (Solanum habrochaites) using a multifaceted approach. The project has four specific aims that are to be carried out over a two year period.

A Cre-ative approach of imaging stress responses at the molecular level: amplifying gene expression in response to stress

  • PI: Vibha Srivastava | University of Arkansas - Fayettville
  • Description:
    Examining site-specific recombination vectors for imaging stress resistance in rice and Arabidopsis

PlantCV Extension and Expansion for Plant Imaging Consortium Compatibility

  • PI: Noah Fahlgren | Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO
    Co-PI: Malia Gehan | Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Description:
    PlantCV is an suite of open-source image analysis tools for high-throughput phenotyping. In this project, researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, who developed PlantCV, will work with collaborators at Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas, and the Washington University in St. Louis to expand PlantCV for compatibility with PET and Scanalyzer HTS imaging. New modular functions for color correction, machine learning algorithms for identification of stress symptoms, and multi-plant imaging will also be developed for PlantCV. Upgrades will also be made to maintain the stability of PlantCV. This research project will streamline the integration of multi-scale datasets and allows for standard image metadata to be more easily incorporated.

Graft junction formation: a dynamic investigation using PET and confocal imaging

  • PI: Margaret Frank | Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO
    Co-PI: Christopher Topp | Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO
    Co-PI: Daniel Chitwood | Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Description:
    Identify the functional and anatomical timing of xylem and phloem reconnection during graft junction formation using PET and confocal imaging.

A Role for Transport in Nitrogen Stress Tolerance

  • PI: Benjamin A. Babst | Assistant Professor | University of Arkansas at Monticello
    Co-PI: Fei Gao | University of Arkansas at Monticello
  • Description:
    Our overarching goal is to improve our understanding of nitrogen distribution from leaves to other parts of the plant, and develop novel ideas that would allow growers to reduce nitrogen fertilization of agricultural and tree crops. In collaboration with Dr. Argelia Lorence at Arkansas State University, we will determine how several key nitrogen transport-related genes in Arabidopsis impact plant growth and physiology using high throughput phenotyping. We will also contribute to translation of knowledge from Arabidopsis to a biomass crop tree, poplar, focusing on several genes that we suspect are involved in nitrogen recycling. In Dr. Yuan-Chuan Tai’s lab at Washington University in Missouri, we will determine the effects of the target genes on nitrogen transport dynamics in small poplar trees, exposed to short-day photoperiod to stimulate the onset of dormancy, a well-regulated set of processes that prepare trees survive freezing temperatures over winter.

To promote the adoption of MI and HTP in plant stress biology and broaden participation in the consortium, PIC initiated a Seed Grant Prgram. In October 2015, the PIC's Seed Grant Program invited scientists throughout Arkansas and Missouri to:

Awards ranged from $20,000-$50,000 for over a 2-year period. To promote workforce development, applications were accepted from postdoctoral associates, as well as from faculty or other lead scientists. Preference was given to proposals that involved student participation and collaboration between the two states, and to institutional and demographic diversity among the awardees.
View the initial call for proposals.

Member Institutions

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