Special Newsletter of the International Society for Root Research

Joint Virtual Meeting of ISSR11 (11th Symposium of the International Society of Root Research) and ROOTING2021 (9th International Symposium on Root Development)

May 24-28, 2021

By Bob Sharp and Malcolm Bennett, on behalf of the Organizing Committees 


Due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic on travel, the previously announced collaboration between ISRR11 and ROOTING2021will now be a joint, entirely virtual meeting – “Root Biology Never Sleeps”. The joint meeting is being co-organized by the Interdisciplinary Plant Group at the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, and the University of Nottingham, UK. Full details are available at the joint meeting website.

This joint meeting will bring together the global root research community to foster exchange and discuss new discoveries, developments, and challenges in root biology. The meeting will address root research across different scales from the molecular- to the ecosystem-level in agricultural and natural systems.

An updated schedule for the joint meeting has been arranged to maximize opportunities for live engagement by participants from around the world. The provisional program, which presents the schedule in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), British Summer Time (BST), and US Central Daylight Time (CDT), with each also referenced to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), is available here. All talks will be pre-recorded, but will be presented according to the scheduled times and followed by a live Q&A session with the speaker.

Similarly, multiple poster sessions have been arranged to accommodate the different time zones of participants from around the globe. Posters will be accompanied by short pre-recorded talks, and the poster sessions will include opportunities for live interaction with presenters.

The joint meeting will feature a single registration that provides access to all talks, posters and other activities:

-          Faculty/PI/Industry: US$150

-          Postdoctoral Fellows: US$100

-          Graduate & Undergraduate Students: US$50

-          Developing Country Participants: free (https://unctad.org/topic/least-developed-countries/list)


The opening of the joint meeting will feature the Trends in Plant Science Plenary Lecture by Amelia Henry (International Rice Research Institute, Philippines) and the ISRR Award Presentation and Lecture by Wendy Silk (University of California-Davis).

The program will also feature additional plenary speakers (in order of the program):

  • Tiina Roose (University of Southampton, UK)
  • Jonathan Lynch (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
  • Joseph Dubrovsky (UNAM, Mexico)
  • Xavier Draye (UCLouvain, Belgium)
  • Ross Sozzani (North Carolina State University, USA)
  • Yusuka Uga (Institute of Crop Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Institution, Japan)
  • Caroline Gutjahr (LMU Munich, Germany)
  • Malcolm Bennett (University of Nottingham, UK)
  • Steve Tyerman (University of Adelaide, Australia)

Scientific session themes and invited keynote speakers include (in order of the program):

  • Hormones and Root System Architecture. Karin Ljung (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences-Umeå, Sweden) - Frontiers in Plant Science Lecture
  • Root Morphogenesis.Bert de Rybel (Ghent University, Belgium) - EMBO Young Investigator Lecture
  • Water and Nutrient Relations. Anna Amtmann (University of Glasgow, UK)
  • Food Roots.(To be determined)
  • Root Stress Biology.Melissa Mitchum (University of Georgia, USA)
  • Root Ecosystem Services / Perennial Root Systems. Tim Crews (The Land Institute, USA)
  • Responses to Abiotic Constraints.Christa Testerink (Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands)
  • Modelling of Root and Rhizosphere Processes.Andrea Schnepf (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany)
  • Technologies to Image Root Functions. Steven Siciliano (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Root-Microbe Interactions.Yang Bai (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Root and Root System Development.Phanchita Vejchasarn (Ubon Ratchathani Rice Research Center, Thailand)
  • Root Biotic Interactions. Gabriel Castrillo (University of Nottingham, UK) - The Plant Journal Keynote Lecture
  • Grafted Root Systems and Intra-Plant Communication. Charles Melnyk (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences-Uppsala, Sweden) - Frontiers in Plant Science Lecture
  • Root-Soil Interface.Colleen Iversen (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA)
  • Underground Communication.Ulrike Mathesius (Australian National University, Australia)
  • Root Phenotyping Approaches Spanning Lab to Field. Chris Topp (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, USA)

Each session will include several additional talks, which will be selected from submitted abstracts.

The final day of the meeting will feature coordinated Root Phenotyping Workshops, which are being organized by Darren Wells (University of Nottingham, UK) and Larry York (Noble Research Institute, USA). There will also be a Poster & Speaker Awards Ceremony.

Continuing the tradition established at the 2015 ISRR meeting, a pre-symposium “Graduate Student & Postdoc Ambassador Program” will be held in conjunction with the joint meeting. The Ambassador Program will provide root research and training opportunities for approximately 20 early career researchers from around the world. Activities will include the publication of a meeting report in New Phytologist, which is providing generous support for the program. The Ambassador Program is being organized by Chris Topp (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, USA) and Allison Miller (St Louis University, USA) together with graduate student and postdoc members of the organizing committee. Further details, including application procedures and deadlines, are provided on the website.

There will be special issues of several journals with content from both meetings:

  • Frontiers in Plant Science – Root Development. Co-Editors: Anthony Bishopp (University of Nottingham, UK); Charles Melnyk (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences-Uppsala, Sweden); Phanchita Vejchasarn (Ubon Ratchathani Rice Research Center, Thailand)
  • Physiologia Plantarum – Abiotic/Biotic Stress. Co-Editors: Gabriel Castrillo (University of Nottingham, UK); Ari Sadanandom (Durham University, UK); Bob Sharp (University of Missouri, USA)
  • Plant, Cell & Environment – Root Phenotypes for the Future. Co-Editors: Anna Amtmann (University of Glasgow, UK); Malcolm Bennett (University of Nottingham, UK); Amelia Henry (International Rice Research Institute, Philippines)

The Co-Editors welcome enquiries from authors to write a review for these specially-themed issues. We also encourage authors to submit original research papers to be considered for publication as part of these special issues. Please see the meeting website for the latest details.

Registration for the joint meeting is now open. Registration details, abstract submission procedures and deadlines, and meeting updates are available at the joint meeting website.

Also follow the meetings on Twitter and Facebook:


We look forward to welcoming you to the joint meeting of ISRR11and ROOTING2021!  

On behalf of the Organizing Committees,