On Monday 19th of November, our 5th user committee meeting took place. This meeting marked our halfway point, we are now two years underway with the NWO/TTW VIDI-funded project on pest-killing plants.
Compared to previous meetings, the Vidi team had decreased a bit in size, Setareh Mohammadin has gone on maternity leave, Gabriella Bukovinskine Kiss went to work full time at the Laboratory of Genetics, and visiting PhD student Xiuji Wang returned to China. Luckily, several students are joining our team in the coming weeks and a new research and education assistant is being recruited at the moment.
Representatives of all companies in the user committee were present and gave good feedback on our results. We were also happy to see the addition of Klaas Bouwmeester to our committee. Klaas has a strong background in phytopathology and is now a researcher in the Biosystematics group.
Niccolò and Lotte presented their work of the last 7 months. Niccolo showed his work on screening a population of Brassica rapa for egg-triggered necrosis. With the help of many lab members a Brassica rapa population was screened for Large Cabbage White egg-triggered necrosis. Niccolo has also improved methods to perform automated imaging, segmentation and quantification of lesion size. His work will continue using this method to map the response in B. rapa. Lotte presented work on the identification of the elicitor of the egg-triggered response. She was able to zoom in on the compound that triggers the response in plants. In the coming months, both parts of the project promise to give exciting results. @LotteCaarls
On Monday 23rd April 2018 we had our 4th meeting in Wageningen presenting updates to the users and researchers involved in the NWO/TTW Vidi project. Niccolo and Lotte gave presentations and all members of the team including the Aspasias Setareh and Eddie and MSc student Jeroen were present. A lot of experiments are currently ongoing and therefore we expect more conclusive results in the next meeting in November 2018.
An interesting symposium was held at Koppert Biological Systems in Berkel and Rodenrijs on 'New techniques for better biocontrol: next-generation sequencing, genotyping and experimental evolution in insects and mites'. Guest speakers like Richard Stouthamer and Jack Werren came all the way from the U.S. It was a long day starting from 6 am at Radix building with a bus tour to Koppert, ending at 22:30 after a delicious dinner in an Italian restaurant.
Vidi team at Netherlands Entomology Annual Meeting
Traditionally, the Dutch Entomology meeting is on a Friday just before the Christmas vacations. We heard lots of nice talks and debates on the alarming declines in insect biodiversity/biomass shown in many recent studies. Eddie presented a poster and Niccolo gave a nice presentation but more plant than insect focused...too much for the entomologists?
Four more years to go
The Vidi project is running now for a year. We conducted a couple of experiments since Lotte is back from maternity leave. Thus, we had lots of nice data to present, a fruitful discussion and a delicious lunch. Most of the users and experts came and participated. Our team increased with two new members, Setareh Mohammadin and Cindy Wang. So hopefully, until our next progress meeting, end of April 2018, we are another step further toward our goal!