Organising Tissue Cell Polarity and Growth in Plants

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Cell and Develop Biology

Abstract

Unlike most things that we manufacture, like cars and phones, the biological structures we see around us are generated through growth: a tree grows from a seed and a human child grows from a microscopic fertilised egg. This growth is not guided by an external hand but is self-organised, coordinated by internal rules. Complex structures can arise from this process because growth and deformation occur at varying rates over tissues and preferentially in particular directions. A major challenge is to understand how this process of self-construction through growth operates. Answering this question may allow us to modulate growing structures in a predictive way and thus enable us to exploit, manage and interact with living systems more effectively.

A major block to achieving this goal is that we currently understand little about how orientations are specified and coordinated within growing tissues. Our best working hypothesis is that this process depends on each cell having a polarity, like an internal compass, but how this polarity is propagated and coordinated across a tissue remains unclear. This project aims to address this problem by studying polarity coordinated in plants and how it may lead to tissue growing out in particular orientations. Plant cells are surrounded by walls which impede direct communication from one cell to another. Polarity coordination is therefore thought to operate indirectly, mediated by small molecules, such as the plant hormone auxin, that can diffuse through the cell wall. We have recently developed a general hypothesis for how this process may lead to coordinated polarity across tissues and a major aim of this project is to test this and other hypotheses through a combination of experimental and computational methods.

To understand the mechanism of polarity coordination, we aim to switch on genes that have been implicated in polarity control in patches of cells within growing leaf tissue. By activating these genes in small patches of tissue we hope to see how the polarity of the surrounding tissue is affected and how this affects the growth of the cells, which we can follow in detail with bioimaging. These experiments will be conducted in normal plants and also plants in which certain polarity components have been removed through mutation. We also intend to develop computational modelling systems that will allow us to determine whether particular hypotheses can account for the observed patterns of polarity and growth change. This will involve developing new software to deal with both the cellular nature of tissues and the way they grow and deform. Taken together these experimental and computational approaches should enable us to arrive at a new and deeper understanding of how polarity and growth are coordinated and thus advance our ability to manage and exploit biological systems.

Technical Summary

Although many genes contributing to tissue cell polarity have been defined, it remains unclear how these components interact and organise polarity over extended domains. We propose to address this problem in plants through a combination of experimental and modelling approaches that build on recent experimental and theoretical findings. Hypotheses for polarity coordination will be tested by generating sectors with a heat-shock inducible Cre-lox system in which candidate organiser genes and polarity components are expressed in ectopic patches in growing leaves. These genes include CUC, LAX and auxin biosynthesis genes which have been implicated in polarity coordination and are expressed in predicted organiser regions. They also include PIN and PID genes that are likely involved in polarity determination and propagation. Ectopic patches of gene activity will be marked by fusions to fluorescent proteins and induced by heat shocking entire seedlings or individual cells. The effects of induced ectopic patches of these genes on growth and local polarity will then be determined in wild-type and mutant backgrounds that carry polarity markers. Detailed dynamics will be extracted by tracking polarity, expression and morphogenetic changes at the cellular and tissue level over time as the tissue grows. In parallel, computational methods will be developed to allow cell polarity mechanisms to be implemented within growing and deforming tissues, applicable to 2D sheets and 3D volumes. Hypotheses will then be evaluated by creating models and determining whether they account for the observed interactions, growth, expression and polarity dynamics. Models will be further tested by combining sectors within the same plant in different mutant backgrounds. The results should provide major new insights into the mechanism of polarity coordination in plants and also provide modelling and theoretical frameworks that could be extended to tissue polarity in other systems.

Planned Impact

This project will benefit non-academic beneficiaries, in the following ways:

1. Breeders will benefit from knowledge that will facilitate the selection of candidate genes for improving crop growth and yield by conventional or transgenic approaches. For example, leaf angle is a key determinant of yield in cereals and depends on formation of an outgrowth (the ligule). By identifying the mechanism and genetic control of outgrowths, it may be possible to tailor leaf angle to increase yield. The expected time frame for this beneficial impact will be 10 years after the start of the project.

2. Designers will benefit by being exposed to new ways to manipulate structures - through changes in local rules of growth and deformation rather than through design of the final product. The expected time frame for this beneficial impact is 10-20 years.

3. Biotech industries will benefit from our work in the long term, through the greater fundamental understanding of processes that underlie tissue properties in plants and animals. This may open up new avenues to exploit and manipulate growing tissues. They will also benefit from the tools developed in the project such as integrating computational methods with bioimaging approaches that may become applicable to their research and development programmes. The time frame for this type of impact is expected to be 10-20 years.

4. The general public and school children will benefit directly from this project through the proposed hands-on training events and through dissemination of latest research findings in an accessible way via media routes like YouTube videos, press articles and the Inner Worlds website. They will also benefit in the longer term because of the contribution that this project will make to maintaining and developing forward-looking scientific research that provides the foundations of a modern healthy and growing economy.
 
Description Tissue-wide polarity fields, in which cell polarity is coordinated across the tissue, have been described for planar organs such as the Drosophila wing and are considered important for coordinating growth and differentiation. In planar plant organs, such as leaves, polarity fields have been identified for subgroups of cells, such as stomatal lineages, trichomes, serrations, or early developmental
stages. We showed that ectopic induction of the stomatal protein BASL (BREAKING OF ASYMMETRY IN THE STOMATAL LINEAGE) reveals
a tissue-wide epidermal polarity field in leaves throughout development. Ectopic GFP-BASL is typically localized toward the proximal end of cells and to one lobe of mature pavement cells, revealing a polarity field that aligns with the proximodistal axis of the leaf (base to tip). The polarity field is largely parallel to the midline of the leaf but diverges in more lateral positions, particularly at later stages in development, suggesting it may be deformed during growth. The polarity field is observed in the speechless mutant, showing that it is independent of stomatal lineages,
and is observed in isotropic cells, showing that cell shape anisotropy is not required for orienting polarity. Ectopic BASL forms convergence and divergence points at serrations, mirroring epidermal PIN polarity patterns, suggesting a common underlying polarity mechanism. Thus, we have show that similar to the situation in animals, planar plant organs have a tissue-wide cell polarity field, and this may provide
a general cellular mechanism for guiding growth and differentiation. These results were published in Current Biology.

Organ morphogenesis involves two coordinated processes: growth of tissue and increase in cell number through cell division. Both processes have been analysed individually in many systems and shown to exhibit complex patterns in space and time. However, it is unclear how these patterns of growth and cell division are coordinated in a growing leaf that is undergoing shape changes. We have addressed this problem using live imaging to
track growth and cell division in the developing leaf of the mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Using subsequent computational modelling, we propose an integrated model of leaf growth and cell division, which generates dynamic distributions of cell size and shape
in different tissue layers, closely matching those observed experimentally. A key aspect of the model is dual control of spatiotemporal patterns of growth and cell division parameters. By modulating parameters in the model, we illustrate how phenotypes may correlate
with changes in cell size, cell number, and organ size. These results were published in PLoS Biology.

In addition to this work, we have developed a computational framework for modelling morphogenesis in 3D (published in Open Biology) and evidence in favour of tandem alignment models for polarity coordination (published in eLife).
Exploitation Route Not applicable at this time
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Our PLoS Biology paper on spatiotemporal control of leaf growth received wide interest on social media channels and we also released a youtube video explaining its findings to a wide audience.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Title Computational modelling of growth and development 
Description We have developed the first comprehensive computational framework that integrates cell and tissue level behaviours of deforming polarised sheets. This provides a new general tool for understanding and modelling morphogenesis. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2011 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We have been selected for the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2016 to illustrate our work on modelling. 
URL http://cmpdartsvr3.cmp.uea.ac.uk/wiki/BanghamLab/index.php/Software#Quantitative_understanding_of_gr...
 
Title Computational modelling of growth and development 
Description A general method for simulating morphogenesis of tissues and cells. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact Mainly on basic research on development. 
URL http://cmpdartsvr3.cmp.uea.ac.uk/wiki/BanghamLab/index.php/Software#Quantitative_understanding_of_gr...
 
Description Article STEMM Champion: Sam Fox 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor article about Sam Fox (Coen Lab) as a STEMM Champion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.techcorridor.co.uk/articles/tech-corridor-women-in-steam-the-scientists/
 
Description Bringing the 'Self-made Shape' exhibit to 'Science Uncovered 2016' at the Natural history museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An exhibition stand called 'Self-made shape', which communicated research findings on how form and pattern develop in different plants, was created. The stand was very interactive, consisting of a very visual display of carnivorous plants, two computer games, a video, a shrinking plastic activity and a cellophane activity. The stand was exhibited to the general public at the 'Science Uncovered 2016' event at the Natural History Museum, London, on the 30th September 2016, an event that attracted 5,789 visitors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Bringing the 'Self-made Shape' exhibit to Norwich Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An exhibition stand called 'Self-made shape', which communicated research findings on how form and pattern develop in different plants, was created. The stand was very interactive, consisting of a very visual display of plants and pottery- combining science and art to explain research findings, two computer games, two videos, a shrinking plastic activity, a cellophane activity and a carnivorous plant section. The stand was exhibited at the first ever Norwich Science Festival (18th-30th October, 2016). The stand was one of two main attractions visited by 1409 students and 109 teachers from 36 high schools during the initial four 'Learning Days' alone, and by many more members of the general public throughout the rest of the festival. Members of the Coen Lab were interviewed about the Self-made Shape exhibit by Anglia News, Mustard TV, BBC Radio Norfolk and the Young Communications Team at the Forum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news/2016/11/celebrating-norwich-science-festival/
 
Description Bringing the 'Self-made Shape' exhibit to the Royal Society 'Summer Science Exhibition' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An exhibition stand called 'Self-made shape', which communicated research findings on how form and pattern develop in different plants, was created. The stand was very interactive, consisting of a very visual display of plants and pottery- combining science and art to explain research findings, two computer games, two videos, a shrinking plastic activity, a cellophane activity and a carnivorous plant section. The stand was exhibited to the general public at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London for a week (4th-10th July) . The event attracted 14,371 visitors, including 2,697 students, 328 teachers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGgLfRUhW3Y
 
Description Chelsea Flower Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 157 000 attendees at the Chelsea Flower Show had the opportunity to Engage with our research at our Silver Award Winning Exhibition at the Chelsea flower show.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://genetics.org.uk/news/centenary-garden-exhibit-at-chelsea-flower-show-2019/
 
Description Created 'Self-made Shape' YouTube video 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This YouTube video explains scientific findings in relation to growth, polarity, form, pattern and the development of different morphologies to a lay audience. The video currently has 1353 views (15.02.17).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGgLfRUhW3Y&t=4s
 
Description Engagement with Industry: Collaboration with Intel for the Women of the Future Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Samantha Fox collaborated with Intel for the Women of the Future Conference. The collaboration ensured that a high quality educational event was delivered.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Engagement with Industry: visit by Robert and Charlotte Carter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Samantha Fox participated in a visit from Robert and Charlotte Carter about her role as Youth Aspiration Champion for JIC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description ITV Anglia Evening News Broadcast: Women of the Future Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An ITV Anglia Evening News Broadcast was made with Samantha Fox reporting on the Women of the Future Conference 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2015-04-23/conference-aims-to-attract-more-women-into-science/
 
Description Interview article in school science magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Sam Fox was interviewed for an article in a school magazine on the 7th March 2018. The interview was about her job as a plant scientist and the route educationally she took to get into that role.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited talk: training delivered at summer school 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact An invited talk took place at the ERASynBio/OpenPlant summer school on synthetic biology, titled: Unlocking the secrets of plant growth and shape - Using Goldengate modular cloning and synthetic biology to reengineer Cre-Lox constructs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Lead organiser of the Women of the Future Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Samantha Fox was the lead organiser of the 'Women of the Future Conference' in 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://nextgenstemm.org.uk/
 
Description Mid-Year Conference of the Youth STEMM Award evening with James Wong 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Samantha Fox took place in a mid-Year Conference of the Youth STEMM Award evening with James Wong which aimed to encourage and inspire young people into taking up science as a future career.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Norwich Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Engagement activities with Norwich Science Festival on how genetics influences how plants grow and plant form
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Press article and video to publicise the involvement of Year 10 students in a publication to identify a toxic mushroom species 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A press article and video were released in the Eastern Daily Press and YouTube to publicise the involvement of Year 10 students in a publication to identify a toxic mushroom species.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/education/video_students_win_plaudits_from_science_world_after_solving_p...
 
Description Press release: "How Snapdragons keep their colour: signposting trick reveals evolutionary mechanism" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact A press release was completed on the story and released to the John Innes Centre website with a link to collaborators and the paper. The story was also then promoted via the social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To promote the story further distribution platforms including 'Eurekaalert' (for a science specific audience) and 'Vuelio' (for a more general audience) were used. Own contacts were also followed up including local news reporters to ensure the paper and story was well publicised.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news/how-snapdragons-keep-their-colour-signposting-trick-reveals-evolutionary-...
 
Description Press release: "How Snapdragons keep their colour: signposting trick reveals evolutionary mechanism" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact A press release was completed on the story and released to the John Innes Centre website with a link to collaborators and the paper. The story was also then promoted via the social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To promote the story further distribution platforms including 'Eurekaalert' (for a science specific audience) and 'Vuelio' (for a more general audience) were used. Own contacts were also followed up including local news reporters to ensure the paper and story was well publicised. The press release led to the following articles:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/science/snapdragons-colors-genes.html

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/norwich-scientists-discovery-of-genetic-gymnastics-in-snapdragons-brings-new-insight-into-evolution-1-5294260

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/snapdragons-spanish-pyrenees

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171116142146.htm
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news/how-snapdragons-keep-their-colour-signposting-trick-reveals-evolutionary-...
 
Description Press release: "Leap forward in understanding plant organ growth" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact A press release was completed on the story and released to the John Innes Centre website with a link to collaborators and the paper. The story was also then promoted via the social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To promote the story further distribution platforms including 'Eurekaalert' (for a science specific audience) and 'Vuelio' (for a more general audience) were used. Own contacts were also followed up including local news reporters to ensure the paper and story was well publicised.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/press-release/new-model-is-a-leap-forward-in-understanding-plant-organ-growth/
 
Description Press release: "Leaves possess a molecular compass" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact A press release was completed on the story and released to the John Innes Centre website with a link to collaborators and the paper. The story was also then promoted via the social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To promote the story further distribution platforms including 'Eurekaalert' (for a science specific audience) and 'Vuelio' (for a more general audience) were used. Own contacts were also followed up including local news reporters to ensure the paper and story was well publicised.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news/leaves-possess-a-molecular-compass/
 
Description Press release: "Snapdragon enters the genomic age" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact A press release was completed on the story and released to the John Innes Centre website with a link to collaborators and the paper. The story was also then promoted via the social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To promote the story further distribution platforms including 'Eurekaalert' (for a science specific audience) and 'Vuelio' (for a more general audience) were used. Own contacts were also followed up including local news reporters to ensure the paper and story was well publicised.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/press-release/snapdragon-enters-the-genomic-age/
 
Description School visit: Invited speaker at Norwich High School for Girls Sixth Form 'Lunch and Learn' Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Samantha Fox was invited to speak at a local girls sixth form to discuss her research at JIC and life as a scientist.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Science Cafe Public talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Enrico Coen and Scott Boden gave a joint Science Cafe talk entitled 'Cereals and Snapdragons' to the general public in Oct 2018 as a part of the Norwich Science Festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Skype interview with MSc student from Central St Martins University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Discussions and advice on carnivorous plants, our research and scientific thinking for creation of an installation exploring plants in the environment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Smithsonian magazine coverage of modelling work on how plants make leaves 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Coverage of our Science publication on understanding how leaf shape evolved through the study of carnivorous plants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/deciphering-how-plant-genes-drive-weird-wonderful-dive...
 
Description Soapbox Science Norwich Science Festival: how plants shape their leaves 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On the 27th October 2018 Beccy Horn in the Coen Lab stood on a raised platform in Norwich City Centre and spoke to the genral public about their research that understands how the different shapes of leaves are formed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk at the Edinburgh Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A general talk on principles in systems biology was presented, in relation to the book Cells to Civilizations, short-listed for the Winton Book prize.

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sosCIIZROdw
 
Description Talk at the Norwich Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On the 24th October 2016 Enrico Coen gave a talk titled: "Why is a Snapdragon like a Fruit-fly?" to the general public at the Norwich Science Festival 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Taught on a Genetics Society Communicating Science Course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In April 016 Enrico Coen taught at a Genetics Society Communicating Science Course how to effectively disseminate your research to others.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Video released of the Women of the Future Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Intel produced a video of the women of the future conference to capture the impact on a group of girls from Flegg High school. The aim behind this project was to understand the misconceptions in STEMM careers and broaden their perspective to inspire the women of the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news/2015/07/inspiring-women-future/
 
Description Visit to home educated students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Science discussion with home educated school children
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Women of the Future 2017 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The 3rd Women of the Future Conference took place on Wednesday 29th November 2017. 170 young girls from 17 schools across Norfolk and Suffolk attended the unique event. The event is specifically aimed at Year 10 girls, and aims to raise aspirations, broaden horizons and facilitate engagement with world class scientists and leaders and promote careers in STEMM subjects.

The lack of women in STEMM careers continues to be a real cause for concern for employers.

At the John Innes Centre we are committed to promoting equality and diversity for all our staff and students and in addition recognise the importance of inspiring the next generation of female STEMM professionals.

Having first been launched in 2015, this year's event built on the success of the previous two conferences, giving the participants a great chance to meet and speak with more than 27 female role models and exhibitors from a diverse range of industries.

There was also fascinating line-up of speakers that included science author and presenter Dr Emily Grossman, Senior Advisor for Medical Applications at CERN Dr Manjit Dosanjh, and JIC Research Fellow Dr Philippa Borrill.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/blog/women-of-the-future-2017/
 
Description Women of the Future Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Women of the Future 2018 event took place with 200 girls from yr 10 (14-15 yr olds)

5 GEN female people involved:
-Speakers Jemima Brinton & Mikhaela Neequaye (Jemima is a researcher in crop genetics, Mikhaela is a Phd student in food nutrition). Science Chat on the Sofa with Speakers (Auditorium) -Chaired by Samantha Fox
-Closing Remarks - Samantha Fox
-Meet a professional session: Mikhaela Neequaye, Natalie Wager, Jess Hughes, Penny Hundleby
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/blog/the-story-of-women-of-the-future-2018/
 
Description Year 10 Science Camp 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We introduced year 10 science students to life as a scientist and working in our labs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/training-careers/work-experience/year-10-science-camp/
 
Description YouTube video created: Evolutionary Genetics of Snapdragons 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 'A Flying Visit to the Antirrhinum Hybrid Zone in the Pyrenees'
Take a tour through the hybrid zone in the Pyrenees where a population of magenta Antirrhinum pseudomajus on the east meets a yellow Antirrhinum striatum population to the west and form a rainbow of hybrid flowers over a 1km stretch. Read about how our study of this region revealed how small RNA helps maintain diversity in the region. The video creates interest and communicates to the general public the research that takes place in the Coen Lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muP7fSn1eaE&feature=youtu.be
 
Description YouTube video: movie explaining the relationship between growth and division in plants 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sam Fox (Coen Lab) and Ruby O'grady in our communications team created a video explaining the relationship between growth and division in plants after a new model was published. The video had 1587 views from the JIC tweet alone on 13.03.19 and another 250 on the JIC YouTube Channel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvXBYL7WUDA
 
Description Youth STEMM Award mid-term conference 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 80 students from 8 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk attended the Youth STEMM award mid-term conference on the 26th February 2019. There were 2 talks from John Innes Centre scientists and 10 interactive stands including the Coen Lab, who displayed a range of plants and research, explaining to the students what they do for their job. Feedback from the event indicated that 95% of those that completed a feedback form (53/80) felt the event was informative as it highlighted a range of different STEMM careers out there. 80% said the event had made them inspired to pursue a STEMM related career, or take a STEMM subject at higher education. ""This exhibit has inspired me to take a higher education level in biology or as a job."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Youth STEMM Mid Term conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact On the 6th March 12 schools with 146 students (aged 13-17) participated in the YSA midterm conference at the JIC Conference Centre. The event had a combination of science talks and interactive activities as a part of the STEMM showcase. The Coen lab exhibited their research on evolution, development of shape and form and genetics at the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018