Below is the current program for SIVB 2021: In Vitro OnLine

The SIVB 2021: In Vitro OnLine Program will be presented in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) which is four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time/GMT (UTC−04:00). To compare Eastern Daylight Time to your current time zone, please see the time the converter below. 

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This program is subject to change.

Saturday, June 5


9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Grow with the Flow: Creative Changes on Advanced Flow Cytometry

Conveners: J. Pon Samuel, Corteva Agriscience, and Jeff Beringer, INARI
Sponsored by Beckman Coulter


​Get to the meeting bright and early on Saturday, June 5, 2021, to participate in this year’s Advance Flow Cytometry Workshop. In continuation of the success of Flow Cytometry workshops over the last four years, this year’s “Grow with the Flow” workshop will focus on various advanced areas in flow cytometry with specific biological applications currently in the decade of 2020, and beyond. Experts will present and be available for discussions on these advance areas with a key emphasis on sorting using advanced instruments such as the bench top sorter, update on single cell and nuclei characterization using flow cytometry. Also, presentations on technology updates and Flow Cytometry best practices will be discussed. During the workshop, a panel would help with the tips on flow data with the world expert who invented the high speed sorting. The highlight of the workshop is the demonstration of single cell sorting using the bench top sorter.  Following the workshop, experts will be available to answer questions on the capabilities of the technology and the equipment in addition to hands on training on the characterization of plant single cells and nuclei and any other relevant information at the exhibition hall during the rest of the conference.



9:00 am - 4:30 pm

15th International Conference on Invertebrate and Fish Cell Culture: Emerging Technologies and Future Directions

Organiziers: Lucy Lee, University of the Fraser Valley; Cynthia L. Goodman, USDA, ARS, BCIRL; Guy Smagghe, Ghent University; Kavita Bitra, BASF Corporation; and Jessica Monserrate, BASF Corporation

Creating a Future for Seafood Where the Ocean Thrives
Brandon Chen, Finless Foods
Robust Development of Muscle and Fat Cell Lines from Fishes for Food Applications
Lauran Madden, BlueNalu Inc.
Using Zebrafish to Optimize Cellular Agriculture
David Stachura, California State University Chico
Use of Fish Cell Lines to Assess the Toxicity of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO)
Niels Bols, University of Waterloo
The Quest for a Marine Invertebrate (Sponge) Cell Line: Lessons Learned
Shirley Pomponi, Florida Atlantic University
Insect Midgut Cell Cultures to Study and Optimize Cellular Uptake of dsRNA for RNAi-mediated Pest Control
Guy Smagghe, Ghent University
Cell Culture System: Production of an Infectious Clone of Dicistrovirus and Iflaviruses
Kavita Bitra, BASF Corporation
Glycoengineered Baculovirus-insect Cell Systems for Diverse Biomedical Applications
Donald Jarvis, University of Wyoming
Genetically Modified Insect Cell Lines: An Invaluable Platform for Fundamental and Applied Research Programs
Jacob Corcoran, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Biological Control of Insects Research Unit


Invertebrate and fish cell culture systems serve as valuable tools for the development and production of agricultural and biomedical products, as well as the screening of environmental contaminants. This symposium will focus on emerging technologies that are applicable in both research settings and industrial processes. Cellular agriculture is a rapidly growing area of advancement that involves the implementation of in vitro systems in place of whole plants or animals to produce agricultural products. A variety of these systems and potential products will be explored. We will examine the benefits of aquaculture, including the practical potential of selected marine products. The establishment of marine invertebrate cell cultures, which are linked to the discovery and development of novel pharmaceutical compounds, will be examined. We will review the use of fish cell lines to accurately assess the impact of potential toxins on the aquatic environment. Novel pest management strategies for field crops will also be investigated. The cloning of insect RNA viruses via cell lines will be outlined as a tool to generate more effective biological control agents. We will consider the use of cell cultures to optimize dsRNA uptake to increase the potency of RNAi-based insecticides. State-of-the art molecular approaches important to the development of novel cell culture systems for biomedical and agricultural research will be reviewed. We will end with a roundtable discussion to synthesize/summarize the ideas brought forward and discuss how these new technologies will point towards a future that will support the development of sustainable agriculture, improved stewardship of our environment (including the oceans), and enhanced systems for biomedical discoveries.

Sunday, June 6


9:00 am – 11:00 am

Crossing Kingdoms: Developing and Applying Editing Tools in Animals and Plants

Conveners: Michael J. Fay, Midwestern University, and Aaron Hummel, Pairwise

Use of Short Homology for Targeted Integration in Zebrafish
Jeff Essner, Iowa State University
Base Editing Strategies for Consumer Traits in Fruits and Vegetables
Bill Kim, Pairwise
Targeting RNA Regulation with Programmable Technologies
Bryan Dickinson, University of Chicago

Recognizing the significant progress genome editors are making in diverse kingdoms of life, this session will explore editing tool development and applications in mammals, other vertebrates, and plants.  Topics will include development of new tools, applications and challenges specific to each kingdom as well as specific considerations for crossing kingdom boundaries with editing tools and using the unique aspects of different cell or organismal systems to accelerate tool development.



11:15 am - 1:15 pm

Leadership and Best Practices in Commercial Labs

Conveners: Reid Robinson, Sierra Gold Nurseries, and Carolyn Sluis, Tissue-Grown Corp

Plant Info Flow: Lessons Learned in Interdepartmental Communication
Jonathan Jasinski, Microplant Nurseries Inc.
Leadership Focus on Applied Research in Plant Tissue Culture: Transitioning Research Employees from Academic to Commercial Labs
Alexandre Bosco de Oliveira
, Tissue-Grown Corp
Leadership in New Technology Development, Assessment and Implementation – Aligning with the Needs of Micropropagation Laboratories
Jeffrey Adelberg, Clemson University

Why do some labs struggle to make plants efficiently despite good technical know-how? What are the pit-falls common to all labs? Join us as we discuss with a number of industry professionals their own personal experiences. From navigating employee relationships, interdepartmental communication, and a good dose of technical how-to, learn what you can do to improve any laboratory.


Marine Invertebrate Cell Models: Applications and Implications for Research

Convener: Shirley A. Pomponi, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute – Florida Atlantic University

Ephydatia muelleri – a Sponge Model for Evolutionary Biology and Beyond
Scott Nichols, University of Denver
In Vitro Cell Culture: A Powerful Tool for Cnidarian-Dinoflagellate Symbiosis Studies
Stephanie Barnay-Verdier, Sorbonne Universite

Marine Invertebrate Stem Cells
Baruch Rinkevich, Israel National Institute of Oceanography
Sea Urchin Cell Cultures
Andrea Bodnar, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute


Vertebrate, insect, and plant cell lines are important tools for research in many disciplines, including human health, evolutionary and developmental biology, agriculture, and toxicology. Although cell lines have been established from freshwater invertebrates (e.g., Hydra), attempts to establish cell lines from marine invertebrates have been unsuccessful until recently, when nutrient medium optimization resulted in the establishment of cell lines from several marine sponges.  Most research on marine invertebrate cells has been conducted on primary cultures.    This session will focus on three research areas using marine invertebrate cell models: evolutionary and developmental biology, symbiosis, and adult stem cell research. Sponges are ideal models to study animal evolution: they evolved hundreds of millions of years ago, and despite their simple body plan, they share many genes and molecular pathways with more structurally complex animals—including humans.  We will review recent research using sponge cells to elucidate the molecular foundations of early animal evolution and development.    Recent advances in understanding cellular mechanisms of marine invertebrate symbioses, particularly sponge-microbe and cnidarian-dinoflagellate, will also be reviewed.   Adult stem cells in multicellular organisms are crucial for tissue homeostasis, repair and regeneration. Although the properties of stem cells are well studied in vertebrate and terrestrial invertebrate models, very little is known about marine invertebrate adult stem cells (MISCs). MISCs are key participants in many unique processes that occur in marine organisms.  Research in progress on MISCs, particularly in tunicates, will be addressed.   The session will conclude with a panel discussion to summarize and synthesize the research presented, and to discuss applications of the technologies to address issues of societal importance, e.g., human health (including better understanding of disease processes, and discovery and development of novel pharmaceuticals), habitat restoration, and effects of climate change.


Variables Controlling Successful Gene Editing in Plants/New Tools

Conveners: Mohammed Oufattole, Benson Hill, and Yiping Qi, University of Maryland – College Park
Student Convener: Jishnu Bhatt, Pennsylvania State University

Overcoming Bottlenecks in Editing Plant Genomes
Daniel Voytas, University of Minnesota
Establishing an Efficient Base Editing System for Tomato
Joyce Van Eck, Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI)
Optimizing CRISPR-Cas Systems for Efficient Multiplexed Genome Engineering in Plants
Yiping Qi, University of Maryland, College Park
Genome Editing in Soybean (G. max) with Cas12a
Robert Gaeta, Bayer U S. – Crop Science

Plant gene editing has been harnessed as a new research tool for reverse genetics as well as a new breeding tool to advance agriculture. Thanks to immense interest and investment in the field, the CRISPR-Cas gene editing toolbox is under rapid evolution with constant addition of new tools, from novel Cas nucleases to base editors and prime editors. These new tools have greatly benefited gene editing in plants. However, successful implementation of these tools depends on many variables, including design of the guide RNA, means for in planta guide RNA processing, method of delivery (e.g. Agrobacterium, biolistic, virus, nanoparticles etc.), promoters of choice for the Cas and guide RNA, codon and nuclear localization signal (NLS) optimization for the Cas, strategies for multiplexed editing, temperature regime, etc. In this session, invited speakers will present recent advances relevant to these aspects. The information will give the audience and users a timely update on the state-of-the-art of these exciting tools and how to best utilize them for specific precise gene editing outcomes in plants.



1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Challenges in Establishment and Micropropagation of Woody Plant Species Under In Vitro Conditions

Conveners: Maria M. Jenderek, USDA-ARS, and Sylvia A. Mitchell, University of the West Indies
Student Convener: Hossam Mahmoud Kamel Mohamed, Bayer Limited Egypt

Overview on Micropropagation of Horticulture Crops
Yongjian Chang,  North American Plants, Inc.
Micropropagation of Woody Plants and the Challenges of Maintaining True-to-type Commercial Scale Production in Trees
Javier Castillon, Duarte Nursery Inc.
From Populus Molecular Networks to Transgenic Field Phenotypes
Amy Brunner, VIrginia Tech
Challenges in Micropropagation of Musa Tissue Culture
Maria M. Jenderek, USDA-ARS

Micropropagation of fruit and nut trees has become an essential technique for horticultural industry. It has been greatly developed in last decade and is widely used for almost all orchard crops. In vitro techniques support elimination of pathogens and selection for tolerance to environmental stressors such as e.g. salt and drought tolerance. Mass tissue culture production provides quality nursery material in an accelerated way but faces also challenges that require research solutions.


Models of Viral-Host Interactions: from In Vitro to In Vivo

Conveners: Michael K. Dame, University of Michigan Medical School, and Addy Alt-Holland, Tufts University

Investigating Enterotropic Virus Infections in Human Intestinal Organoids
Christiane Wobus, University of Michigan
“Living The Sweetest Life” – A Preferential Recognition of SARS-CoV-2 to 3-O Sulfated Heparan Sulfate
Vaibhav Tiwari, Midwestern University
Hello Gorgeous, You’re Just My Type: Using Pseudotyping Technology to Elucidate HSV-1Entry
Ekaterina Heldwein, Tufts University School of Medicine


The global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought the study of viral-host interactions to the forefront of in vitro-guided research with a significant urgency. This session will highlight current studies of several viruses that profoundly threaten public health and economic stability worldwide, SARS-CoV-2, HSV-1 and the gastrointestinal noroviruses and astroviruses. The three presentations in this session will discuss the use of novel experimental tools and methods across multiple scientific disciplines to investigate the modes of host cell entry, replication, and exit of these viruses, as well as their tenacity for escaping the host immune response. As quickly as new vaccine targets for therapies are identified, more sophisticated in vitro and in vivo models for viral-host interactions are required to accurately access, understand, and translate these finding to improve human health. Advances in deciphering the preferential recognition of viruses to specific receptors for host cell entry, as well as high-resolution cryogenic-electron microscopy for capsid reconstructions and in situ imaging underlie further discoveries and innovations in this field of research. Furthermore, the use of three-dimensional patient-derived intestinal organoids as viral hosts provide the opportunity for never before pre-clinical understanding. Together, these tools, and the important insights they provide, have significant implications for critical viral disease prevention and the design of novel treatments.

Plant Genome Engineering – From Lab to Consumers

Conveners: Jyoti R. Rout, GreenVenus LLC, and Harold N. Trick, Kansas State University

Genetic Improvement of Potato Using Innate® and GE Technology in a Challenging Landscape
Jeffrey Habig, J. R. Simplot Company
Consumers Attitudes Toward Gene Editing
Brandon R. McFadden, University of Delaware

To date, advances in agricultural biotechnology via Ag biotechnology / genetic engineering (GE) predominantly have focused on improving Agronomic traits.  Most successes with developing products targeting consumers using GE platform have been limited to few examples viz high Oleic acid soy, non-browning apples and potatoes and omega-3 enriched soy.  Although, consumer awareness of GE platform seems to have increased over the last decade, however, the acceptance of food derived using GE platform has been painfully slow.  Today we are surrounded by consumers living in an era where introduction of “fast products” and “constant disruptions” of the marketplace with new products are a new norm.  In these changing times, what is crucial for Ag biotech industry is to reinvent itself for delivering products faster – based on innovation, speed to market with agility / rapid scale-up provisions and addressing consumer sentiments at a continuous pace. Product development via gene editing offers advantages for speed breeding by bypassing conventional long process of bringing products to the marketplace. This session will cover topics relating to speed to market and consumer acceptance related issues.



3:15 pm – 5:30 pm

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Symposium

Keynote Speaker:
Optimizing CRISPR-based Technologies For Targeted Gene Editing
J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD, Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology, Desmond and Ann Heathwood Research Scholar, and a Pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School

RNA-guided CRISPR gene-editing nucleases have had transformative impacts on biological research and hold great promise for applications in agriculture and human therapeutics. Newer CRISPR-based editing platforms such as base editors and prime editors offer higher precision while minimizing the introduction of double-stranded DNA breaks. In my talk, I will provide an overview of my group’s recent efforts to advance and optimize these various technologies as well to develop improved methods to more comprehensively define unwanted “off-target” effects of these strategies.

J. Keith Joung is a leading innovator in the field of gene editing. He is the Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology, Desmond and Ann Heathwood Research Scholar, and a Pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a member of the Center for Cancer Research and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at MGH. Dr. Joung has been a pioneer in the development of important technologies for targeted gene editing and epigenetic editing of human cells. He has received numerous awards including an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Project R01 Award, the MGH Research Scholar Award, an NIH R35 MIRA (Maximizing Investigators Research Award), election into the American Association of University Pathologists, and designation as a “Highly Cited Researcher” in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics. He serves on the editorial boards of Genome Biology, Human Gene Therapy, and Trends in Biotechnology. He has co-founded and advises multiple biotechnology companies including Editas Medicine, Beam Therapeutics, Pairwise, and Verve Therapeutics. Dr. Joung holds a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and an A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard College.


5:45 pm - 7:45 pm

RNA-Sequencing and Machine Learning: Experimental Design, Sample and Library Preparation, Sequencing and Data Analysis

Conveners: Evan M. Hill, University of Michigan, and Alperen Ozturk, Nigde Omer Halisdemir University

What Every Biologist Needs to Know About Artificial Intelligence
Lyle Burgoon
, Raptor Pharm & Tox
Navigating the Next Generation Sequencing Transcriptomics Landscape
Rance Nault, Michigan State University

RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is the state-of-the-art technique for transcriptome analysis that uses high-throughput next generation sequencing NGS) on a broad scale. RNA‐seq enables a wide range of applications including novel gene discoveries, differential expression and functional gene analyses, and quantification of gene transcripts. The typical workflow consists of experimental design, sample and library preparations, sequencing, and data analysis. This workshop aims to provide students with the pertinent information to make the best decisions while designing their RNA-seq experiments, including the basics of NGS, different methods and commercial products, and new and emerging technologies, including single-cell RNA-seq.

Monday, June 7


9:00 am – 11:00 am

Advanced Biological Tools for Biotechnology Applications

Conveners: Prakash P. Kumar, University of Singapore, Lori Marcum, Corteva Agriscience, and Richard Heller, University of South Florida

Synthetic Biology Research Direction at the Joint Genome Institute
Nigel J. Mouncey, DOE Joint Genome Institute
Cell Free Expression Systems for Synthetic Biology
Krishna Madduri,
Corteva Agriscience
Extruded Collagen Graft Integration with Biphasic Gene Electrotransfer in a Subcutaneous Small Animal Model
Anna Bulysheva, Old Dominion University
Nanosecond Pulsed Electric Field Stimulation: From Small Pores to Big-time Applications
Andrei Pakhomov, Old Dominion University

Utilization of biological approaches is greatly expanded into a rapidly growing interdisciplinary area that incorporates engineering principles. This has included design-build-test cycles to synthesize entire new biological organisms or parts. The ability to introduce complex multi-gene pathways into organisms has found many applications in plant biotechnology to generate novel, favorable phenotypes and for production of valuable molecules in plants (vaccines and biofuels are only a few examples). Gene editing and the manipulation of mammalian cellular membranes or tissues has opened up new avenues of research to understand cellular processes or the development of new therapeutic approaches. This session will focus on the use of various biological tools that have been used to manipulate plant and animal cells and organelles. The possibility to perform analysis on single cells and subcellular compartments like plastids in plant cells and membrane and subcellular compartments such as the mitochondria in mammalian cells has considerably expanded the potential for biotechnology applications. The session will also focus on various aspects of cell manipulation and precise metabolic engineering and how these advanced tools can be used to develop new products and approaches.


11:15 am - 1:15 pm

Application of Stem Cell Technology to the Development of Tissue-specific Organoids

Conveners: Daysha Ferrer-Torres, University of Michigan School of Medicine, and John W. Harbell, JHarbell Consulting, LLC
Student Convener: Evan M. Hill, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Organoid Modeling the Development and Stem Cells of the Upper GI Tract
Jianwe Que, Columbia University
Microphysiological Models of Peripheral Nerve: Promise and Practice
Michael J. Moore, Tulane University and AxoSim, Inc.
Human Intestinal Enteroids: Transformative Tools to Understand the Pathophysiology of GI Diseases
Nicholas Constantine Zachos, Johns Hopkins University

Three dimensional organoid constructs are a culmination of decades-long goal of in vitro cell biologists to produce quantities of functional organs for research and regenerative medicine. While the 2D monolayer systems contributed much to our understanding of cells in culture and serve many important areas of research, they also showed us the limitations of working with primary cultures which lack the organ-specific substrate, spatial arrangement, supporting cell types and specific hormone/growth factor milieu. Methods to isolate and expand cultures of tissue-specific stem cells lead to some of the early successful organoid constructs such as skin or intestine where exposure to the air-liquid interface provided an essential stimulus to epithelial differentiation. However there are many tissue types from which stem cell isolation have shown only limited success, and that are difficult to obtain (i.e., central nervous system, lung, and other non-tumor tissues). The world of tissue culture changed radically with the introduction of methods to produce iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell) cultures from differentiated somatic cells. Creation of iPSCs was based on selectively inducing the expression of four transcription factors in the target cells. Subsequent refinement in the technology has eliminated the need for viral integrations which is a boon for use of these cells in regenerative medicine and interrogation of developmental biology. This symposium will focus on tissue-specific organoid constructs starting with the development of iPSC cells and progressing through the 3D construct and its application to research and potential for use in regenerative medicine.

Plant Biotechnology Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition

Moderator: Carlos H. Garcia, CTC Genomics

To support the Society’s vision to encourage education and scientific informational exchange and recognize outstanding post docs, the Plant Biotechnology Section is pleased to announce the 2021 Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition. Post-Doctoral Candidates wishing to participate in this competition should submit a copy of their abstract with its title and submission ID number to Carlos Hernandez-Garcia ( and check that option when they submit their abstract. Competition finalists will be selected based on the quality of the abstracts. The abstract should address the following: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions. Where appropriate, the methods section should include a description of how reproducible results were ensured. The abstract must not include references. The abstract text must not exceed 1800 characters. A panel of judges will evaluate the presentations at the meeting. Criteria for the evaluation include experimental design, data analysis, proper interpretation of the results, originality of the study, technical difficulty, appearance and ability of the post-doctoral candidate to present it. Winners will be presented with a certificate and a cash award at the meeting. Please note that the DEADLINE to submit your abstract for the SIVB Oral Presentation Competition is January 29, 2021.

Plant Biotechnology Student Oral Presentation Competition

Moderator: Alexandre da SIlva Conceicao, Calyxt, Inc.

To support the Society’s vision to encourage education and scientific informational exchange, the Plant Biotechnology Section is pleased to announce the “Plant Biotechnology Student Oral Presentation Competition” at the 2021 World Congress on In Vitro Biology being held from June 5-9, 2021 in Norfolk, VA. Students wishing to participate in this competition should submit a copy of their abstract with its title and submission ID number to Alex da Silva Conceicao ( and check that option when they submit their abstract. Student competition finalists will be selected based on the quality of the abstracts. The abstract should address the following: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions. Where appropriate, the methods section should include a description of how reproducible results were ensured. The abstract must not include references. The abstract text must not exceed 1800 characters. A panel of judges will evaluate the presentations at the meeting. Criteria for the evaluation include experimental design, data analysis, proper interpretation of the results, originality of the study, technical difficulty, appearance and ability of the student candidate to present it. Winners will be presented with a certificate and a cash award at the meeting. Please note that the DEADLINE to submit your abstract for the SIVB Oral Presentation Competition is January 29, 2021.


2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition

Moderators: Addy Alt-Holland, Tufts University, and Kolla Kristjansdottir, Midwestern University


The In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Section (IVACS) of the Society for In Vitro Biology is pleased to announce the 2021 Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition during the SIVB meeting in Norfolk, VA. This competition encourages the exchange of scientific information between the presenters, attendees and judges. Additionally, it provides an invaluable opportunity for students and post-docs to practice and improve their presentation delivery and public speaking skills. Students and post-docs who wish to participate in this competition should check that option during the submission of their abstract to the 2021 SIVB’s meeting. Applicants should also e-mail a copy of their complete abstract and submission ID number to the session moderators, Dr. Addy Alt-Holland ( and Dr. Kolla Kristjansdottir ( The top three finalists will be selected for this competition based on the quality of their abstracts, as well as the merit of their research and scientific findings. The text of the abstract should include the following sections: Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions. Where appropriate, the Methods section should include relevant statistical analysis. The abstract text should not exceed 1800 characters and should not include references. The oral presentations will be discussed and graded by a panel of expert judges. Evaluation criteria will include experimental design, data analysis, proper interpretation of the results, originality of the study, technical difficulty, professionalism and ability of the finalist to explain the research and answer questions, and importantly, adherence to the allocated time for the presentation. The Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition session serves to recognize and reward the research and achievements of outstanding students and post-docs. The three finalists will be presented with a certificate and a cash award during the meeting. The DEADLINE for abstract submission for the Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition is January 29, 2021. Should you have any questions, please contact the SIVB office or the session moderators. We are looking forward to review your abstract!


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Factors Affecting Successful Transfer of In Vitro Plantlets to Ex Vitro Condition

Convener: Sylvia Mitchell, University of the West Indies

A Review of Factors Affecting Successful Hardening of Tissue Cultured Plantlets, Including Experiences with Tropical Plants, so as to Acclimatize Them to Ex Vitro Conditions
Sylvia Mitchell, The University of the West Indies
Laboratory Changes for Greenhouse Success
Angela Labrum, Bailey Nursery
Transplanting Tissue-cultured Banana Plants in Field
Maria M. Jenderek, USDA-ARS

What’s in a name? Whether you call it acclimatization or hardening, this stage (known as micropropagation stage 4, the prior stages being initiation, multiplication and rooting) is going under the microscope in this session. Acclimatization is the process or result of becoming accustomed to a new climate or to a new condition. Hardening is less well defined, and is considered as the process of making something harder or hardier. On their own, neither term adequately summarizes this step by which plantlets are transferred from in vitro conditions (in glass vessels at high humidity) back to ex vitro conditions (having a higher light intensity but lower humidity); but together, these terms explain the process. In agriculture, the process of exposing transplants (seedlings or plantlets) gradually to outdoor conditions ‘hardens’ them thus acclimatizing them to the new more adverse conditions. It enables your transplants to withstand the changes in environmental conditions they will face when planted outside in the garden. In this session, we will be discussing methods we have found that affect this process.

Organoids: Understanding and Developing Human Disease Models

Conveners:  Durga Attili, University of Michigan Medical School, and Michael K. Dame, University of Michigan Medical School
Student Conveners: Caroline McCarthy, University of Michigan Medical School, and Kateryna Karpoff, University of Michigan Medical School

Scott T. Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Visualizing Cell Competition and Occult Tumorgenesis Ex Vivo
Joshua C. Snyder, Duke University School of Medicine
Modelling Neuropsychiatric Disorders Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Brain Organoids
Annie Kathuria, Harvard Medical School

Organoids provide a versatile 3D culture model with the ability to self-organize and recapitulate the phenotypic characteristics of the derived tissue. They can be used to study disease modelling by genetically modifying them to reflect the disease conditions, test potential therapeutics, and develop personalized medicines. In this session, three speakers will be presenting data based on their diverse research using organoid systems. The first speaker uses organoid models to study intestinal stem cell (ISC) properties, demonstrating their self-renewing abilities and multipotency. The second speaker will discuss his use of mouse intestinal organoids to study the leucine-rich G protein-coupled receptor (LGR5) and its regulation via internalization and trafficking, hoping to learn more about LGR5 expression in various cancers. Finally, the third speaker will discuss her use of iPSC derived cerebral organoids to analyze gene expression patterns in bipolar disorder patients, implementing the organoid model to study a disease for which there is currently no good alternative cell line or animal model. The implications of these various organoid models are highly promising, and should advance our understanding in a wide variety of human diseases.


Recent Advances and Applications in Single-Cell Technologies

Conveners: J. Pon Samuel, Corteva Agriscience, and Yiping Qi, University of Maryland – College Park

Plant Cis-regulatory Elements at Single Cell Resolution
Bob Schmitz, University of Georgia
Transcriptional and Imprinting Complexity in Arabidopsis Endosperm at Single Nucleus Resolution
Mary Gehring, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Single Cell Processing and Analysis: Sample Preparation, Enrichment, and Engineering of the Minimal Representative Unit of Life
Abraham Lee, University of California-Irvine

The regulation of gene expression ultimately determines the type and function of cells and tissues of higher eukaryotic hierarchical architectural organization with the complexity from the single cells to the whole plant or animal. Due to a lack of technologies, past research often had to rely on measurements in bulk populations of cells within tissues to study gene expression, cell function, and tissue physiology. However, recent advances in single-cell technologies are becoming essential tools to unmask the heterogeneity of cell functions within a tissue. Until recently, most of our scientific knowledge generally stemmed from population data where we consider cells belonging to the same subtype as a single unit where the members that compose the class are, by definition, homogeneous and identical. This concept represents an extreme simplification of reality, which can be attributed both to the necessary simplification required to understand the global picture and also to the lack of past technologies and data analysis techniques that allow more granular investigations. The lack of technologies for studying single cells has had the most significant impact on the analysis of cells that occur as a minimal fraction of the initial population: such as stem cells. Recent advances in single-cell technologies are now allowing the study of single cells or cell types for different phenotypic markers simultaneously. In plants, individual gametophytic cells are reprogramed to produce haploid embryoids that can be doubled to generate di-haploids. This technology has helped plant breeders accelerate improving many of the food crops. In the recent past, the protoplast system enabled the plant biologist to edit to generate new clonal lines of commercial value by domesticating a few underexploited crops. In mammalian systems, these new single-cell technologies are transforming our fundamental understanding of how individual cells play unique roles within the tissue and is heralding many breakthroughs in the area of human health. In this session, we will showcase a few examples of single-cell techniques powering fundamental research on the cell heterogeneity of tissues and the application with the analytical power to create value to the scientific community.


5:15 pm - 6:15 pm

In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Contributed Paper Session

Moderator: Mae Ciancio, Midwestern University

In Vitro Contributed Paper Session

Moderator: Maria M. Jenderek, USDA-ARS

Plant Biotechnology Contributed Paper Session

Moderator: Nagesh Sardesai, Corteva Agriscience


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Transformation of Recalcitrant Crops Using Morphogenic or Growth-stimulating Genes

Conveners: Bill Gordon-Kamm, Corteva Agriscience, and Kan Wang, Iowa State University

Immature Embryo Transformation of Recalcitrant Maize Inbreds Using WUS/BBM
Kan Wang, Iowa State University
Leaf Transformation Methods for Maize and Sorghum
Bill Gordon-Kamm, Corteva Agriscience
GRF-GIF: A New Transformation Technology That Improves Regeneration Efficiency of Genome Edited Plants
Juan Debernardi, University of California, Davis

Plant morphogenic or growth-stimulating genes can be used to improve genetic transformation of recalcitrant cereal varieties.  In this workshop, we intend to share our protocol details and tips for WUS2/BBM-mediated maize inbred transformation.  We will show video to demonstrate the step-by-step protocol for Agrobacterium-mediated immature embryo transformation.  This procedure has been successfully reproduced by researchers with minimum maize transformation training.  Following the video (with discussion), a presentation on maize/sorghum leaf transformation focus on critical steps in the protocol and contrast differences between immature embryo and leaf methods.   Recently, use of GRF/GIF genes have also been showing exciting promise for improving transformation of difficult crops.  Use of GRF/GIF to transform both wheat and citrus will be presented, including recalcitrant varieties. 

Tuesday, June 8


9:00 am – 11:00 am

Epigenetics: Mechanisms and Implications

Conveners:  Raj Deepika Chauhan, Pairwise, and Bradley Ferguson, University of Nevada, Reno

Characterizing Novel BRD4-dependent Nuclear Proteins in the Heart
Matthew Stratton, The Ohio State University
Epigenetic Regulation of Genomic Stability during DNA Replication
Yannick Jacob, Yale University
Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms Associated with Neural Cell Specification
Hehuang Xie, Virginia Tech

The term epigenetics is used to refer to the heritable changes in gene expression due to epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, altered chromatin structure, RNA based mechanisms, altered DNA accessibility and histone modification. Epigenetic change can be caused by a variety of factors especially environmental stimuli in response to stress. In plants and animals, epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in the regulation of the stress response, adaptation, disease, senescence and other processes. It is important to understand the factors and the mechanisms that causes these changes in order to eliminate deleterious effects of epigenetics. Deeper insights and recent advances in understanding mechanisms of epigenetics and its implications in both plants and animals will be presented in this session.                                                             


11:15 am - 1:15 pm

DOE and Quality Control in Research and Commercial Micropropagation

Conveners: Randall P. Niedz, USDA-ARS, Jeffrey W. Adelberg, Clemson University, and Uyen P. Cao Chu, Corteva Agriscience

Supervised Machine Learning Techniques Utilized in Plant Tissue Culture Research
Melekşen Akin, Iğdır University
Process Optimization
Scott Burgmeyer, Creative Solutions Group
The DOE Approach to Experimentation and Quality Control
Randall P. Niedz, US Department of Agriculture

Quality might be considered the overarching principle of in vitro research and commercial plant production. Quality has many definitions that depends on the specific situation and objectives. For research, quality largely means the production of new knowledge through experimentation. The design of experiments (DoE) is a system of principles and methods for conducting experimentation. For commercial plant production, quality encompasses all products, services, systems, and processes that affect a company’s stakeholders. Six Sigma are the principles and methods to improve any process and includes defining and quantifying the problem, and then measuring and analyzing to improve that process. The session will discuss some methods and quantitative tools used for experimentation, quality control, and process improvement that are relevant for in vitro research and commercial plant production.

Modulating the Gut Microbiota: Application of Prebiotics and Probiotics for Human Health

Convener: Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Midwestern University

The Pleiotropic Effects of Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) on Gut Physiology and the Microbiome
M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Emodin Attenuates Pathological Cardiac Remodeling: Is There a Role for the Microbiome?
Bradley Ferguson, University of Nevada, Reno
Individual Variation in Prebiotic Response
Lawrence David, Duke University

​The gut microbiota has become increasingly appreciated for its role in human health and disease. For example, gut microbes have been implicated in the development of various gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and cardiovascular disease. Consequently, extensive efforts have been made to understand the usefulness of probiotics and prebiotics in modulating the gut microbiota to prevent the development of disease and promote health. The goal of this session is to describe the state of pro- and prebiotic research and provide key examples of their effective use in curbing human disease.  

Regulation, Commercialization, and Adoption of Gene Edited Crops

Convener: David D. Songstad, Songstad Consulting

Contributions of Transformation and Genome Editing in Maize to Global Agriculture
Albert P. Kausch, University of Rhode Island
Is it CRISPR? – Detection of Genome Edits
Raymond Shillito, BASF Corporation
Regulatory Environment for Gene Editing
Daniel Jenkins, Pairwise, and Chloe Pavely, Calyxt, Inc.

Genome editing has received considerable attention recently in scientific literature, popular press and public television, including recent coverage on “60 Minutes”. This has been highlighted by the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier for the discovery of CRISPR.  A Special Issue of In Vitro – Plant to be published in 2021 highlights genome editing of plants and covers a variety of topics.  Three of the areas covered in this Special Issue will be discussed in detail and will represent the spirit and effort of all the contributions to this issue of In Vitro – Plant.   The topics discussed in this session include the regulatory status of gene edited plants, methods for detecting gene editing events and the current status of genome editing of maize.


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Advances in Cannabis Regeneration Systems and Biotechnology

Conveners: Sadanand A. Dhekney, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Hemant Lata, University of Mississippi
Student Convener: Tej Man Tamang, Kansas State University

Development of a Tissue Culture-based Agrobacterium-mediated Transformation System for Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana)
Janesse Holmes, Simon Fraser University

Plant biotechnology has several applications in genetic improvement and cultivation of medicinal plants. The medicinal properties of Cannabis along with the diverse health and industrial applications for hemp have evoked significant interest among the general public and the scientific community. Genetic improvement of Cannabis and industrial hemp have been limited to breeding by private individuals and entities due to the federal restrictions imposed on these crops for a long time. The recent formulations of regulations for industrial hemp production along with state legislation permitting Cannabis production in certain states now makes it possible to apply techniques in plant biotechnology for crop improvement and enhancing production. Batch to batch consistency in useful secondary metabolite contents is utmost important for any biomass product of pharmaceutical interest. Cannabis is a dioecious and occasionally monoecious (hermaphrodite) plant, and therefore seed-derived plants make it challenging to maintain the chemical profile and cannabinoids content of produced biomass, especially when more several varieties are grown side by side. To avoid that, male plants are removed at the early flowering stage and vegetative cuttings of selected female plants are cultivated. Plant tissue culture is recognized as one of the key areas of plant biotechnology that plays a very important role in conservation and mass-propagation of valuable genetic resources. In this session, current developments on biotechnological approaches for Cannabis plant regeneration and future prospects for crop improvement will be discussed.

Building Partnerships and Resources to Address Transformation Bottlenecks

Conveners:  Annie Saltarikos, Bayer U. S. – Crop Science, and Joyce Van Eck, Boyce Thompson Institute

Annie Saltarikos, Bayer U. S. – Crop Science
Challenges That Hinder Progress of Genetic Engineering and Gene Editing
Joyce M. Van Eck, Boyce Thompson Institute

Raj Deepika Chauhan, Pariwise
William Gordon-Kamm, Corteva Agriscience
Javier Narvaez, Cibus US LLC
Nigel J. Taylor, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Kan Wang, Iowa State University

Bottlenecks that thwart achieving efficient genetic engineering and gene editing approaches in plants can come at various stages including plant regeneration, transformation, and recovery of quality (low copy number, desirable phenotype) modified lines. With the advent of gene editing technologies, tailor-made genetic modifications to help advance crop improvement can be realized and has resulted in a demand more than ever before for reliable, robust genetic engineering pipelines. Efforts to develop these pipelines are underway by researchers in both the public and private sectors; however, progress is often slowed due to several factors such as access to germplasm, limited funding, and lack of resources that include infrastructure and experienced personnel. The purpose of this session is to explore possibilities for building connections within and between public and private research organizations. Through two presentations that will present overviews of the issues, a panel discussion, and audience participation we intend to establish a foundation that will help us move forward by identifying where the greatest needs are and how we can collaborate as a community to address them.

Novel Applications of Biosensors as Readouts for Environmental Monitoring and Improving Human Health

Conveners:  Kolla Kristjansdottir, Midwestern University, and Addy Alt-Holland, Tufts University 

Engineering a Fluorescent Biosensor for the Herbicide Glyphosate
Shahir S. Rizk, Indiana University South Bend
Atomic Force Microscopy Combined with Machine Learning as a New Approach to Detect Cell Abnormalities: Towards Outeromics
Igor Sokolov, Tufts University
FBI – Weapons of Mass Destruction Detection and Response Capabilities
Joseph H. Altman, Federal Bureau of Investigations

Biosensors are analytical and innovative devices that are designed to unambiguously detect substances with exquisite sensitivity for the benefit of improving human health and environmental monitoring. These devices involve biological “sensing” elements, and can detect an incredible variety of analytes ranging from chemicals to proteins to microorganisms. Biosensors are routinely used in wide range of industries and applications for the benefit of improving human health and environmental monitoring. This includes the field of healthcare, biomedicine, diagnosis of infectious diseases, and drug discovery. Biosensors are implemented in monitoring of food processing, quality, safety and sustainability, as well as in different fermentation processes. Biosensors are applied in environmental monitoring, where they are used for rapid detection of pesticides and heavy metal pollution in order to prevent health hazards. Biosensors are applied in plant and marine biology, and they are critical component in biodefense and security applications for identification of bio-warfare agents of bacterial, viral and toxins origins. The method of analysis also varies widely and these devices can be divided into several categories based on their detection method and sensitivity. These include electrochemical biosensors, optical and fluorescent biosensors, silica, quartz and crystal biosensors, nanomaterials-based biosensors, and microbial biosensor technologies that are based on genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Our invited speakers in this session will focus on recent technological advances in biosensors and their applications in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and environmental monitoring.  

Wednesday, June 9


9:00 am – 11:00 am

Regulations & Transparency: Imperatives for Emerging Technologies

Conveners: Kenneth Kandaras, International Foundation for Ethical Research, Pierluigi Barone, Corteva Agriscience, and John W. Harbell, JHarbell Consulting, LLC

New Technologies as Game-changers in Drug Development and Safety Sciences
Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins Center for Alternative to Animal Testing
Gary Bannon, Benson Hill
Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis

The SIVB was founded around the emerging technology of cell and tissue culture which allowed for the study of plant and animal cells. Twenty plus years later, the isolation of restriction endonucleases ushered in the era of recombinant DNA and biotechnology. For the first time, functional genes could be created and inserted into cells and despite the value of its application it was soon apparent the opposition to its use from both the nonscientific community and a significant number of scientists. This view of genetically modified organisms unfortunately still pervades many political arenas. The potential of this technology might well have been lost had it not been for the scientific/corporate partnering with regulatory agencies to establish guidelines on how the technology could be applied and what safeguards would be required for product to be brought to market. In hindsight, some of these restrictions were excessive but they did allow genetically modified crops, recombinant human insulin, growth hormone, and clotting factor VIII to come to market and build a level of confidence in the public eye. A new technology is always perceived as a hazard and the risk associated with its use is a multifaceted concept that depend on the context: human, environmental, societal etc. This symposium will examine current emerging technologies associated with gene editing for application to traits modification in both plants and animals and in vitro systems for toxicological evaluation for the assessment of chemical safety (drugs, agricultural chemicals etc.). Bringing these emerging technologies constructively into the worldwide regulatory arenas will provide a path to move them into commercial development. The SIVB has played a significant role in the development all three technologies and can provide scientific guidance to agencies working towards their adoption. 


11:15 am - 1:15 pm

Emerging Companies: Bringing Innovative Ideas to Life

Conveners: Raj Deepika Chauhan, Pairwise, and Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Midwestern University

Making Healthier Easier: From the Lab to the Consumer
Mike Mann, Pairwise
Delivering Plant-based Innovations for a Better World
Alexandre Da Silva Conceicao, Calyxt
Annette Gilchrist,

Novel Methods in Plant Transformation Using Non-Agrobacterium Techniques a Gene Editing without Integrations of Transgene

Conveners: Shubha B. Subbarao, Bayer U.S. – Crop Science, and QingChun Shi, Pairwise

Somatic Transgene Excision Strategies for Gene Editing in Clonally Propagated Plants: Inducible Excision Performance in Transgenic Poplar
Steven H. Strauss, Oregon State University
DNA-free Genome Editing with Preassembled CRISPR/Cpf1 Ribonucleoproteins in Corn, Soybean and Canola
Ashok Shrawat, Bayer U. S. – Crop Science
Generation of Agrobacterium Strains that Introduce T-DNA into the Nucleus But Do Not Efficiently Integrate It into the Plant Genome
Lan-Ying Lee, Purdue University
Developing Ensifer-mediated Plant Transformation as an Alternative to Agrobacterium-mediated Transformation
Stanton Gelvin, Purdue University

Transgene-free transformation is an appealing strategy to introduce desired genetic change without the integration of unwanted foreign DNA. This is particularly relevant in plant species with economical or agricultural significance. It may save time for downstream procedures such as transgene removal via segregations and the costly screening effort. For clonally propagated plants where segregation-by-crossing is not feasible, integration-free transformation changes only targeted loci while preserving all other desired traits. In the era of gene editing, creation of deletion mutation (e.g. gene knockout) or point mutation (e.g. amino acid alternation by base editing) are often the outcome and these modifications assemble natural genetic exchanges or mutations by conventional breeding approaches. Hence gene edited plants can be arguably not subject to GMO regulation if integration-free transformation is used. This emerging area of research may include not only variants of Agrobacterium-mediated and biolistic transformation method, but novel delivery techniques such as by nanoparticles and ribonucleoproteins for non-integration gene editing. This session hopes to bring to its audience, the recent research progress on integration-free gene editing as well as the scope to implement the technologies in facilitating plant genome engineering. 

Scaling Up Cannabis Production

Convener: Max Jones, University of Guelph
Student Convener: Adrian Monthony, University of Guelph

Launching Cannabis Research in a Cell- and Molecular-Biology Lab
Bastiaan Bargmann, Virginia Tech
Optimizing Tissue Culture for Commercial Production
Ian Cole, Zenlabs
Coping with Hyperhydricity, Culture Decline, and Challenging Rooting in Hemp Micropropagation
Jessica Lubell-Brand, University of Connecticut

With the legalization of recreational Cannabis sativa L. in Canada in 2018 and hemp following the passage of the 2019 Farm Bill, Cannabis tissue culture has entered a rapid growth spurt.  These early years have been characterized by growing pains, as research groups establish tissue culture protocols for the growth and maintenance of germplasm and begin looking towards the application of plant biotechnologies in the species.  Researchers looking to establish roots in the field are faced with a multitude of challenges:  Existing literature on the tissue culture of Cannabis is limited;  existing micropropagation protocols are not easily replicated between different cultivars or lab environments; the highly polytypic nature of the cannabis genome has made development of basic growth and multiplication protocols challenging; furthermore the in vitro growth requirements for drug-type and hemp-type Cannabis are divergent. This session will bring together experts from industry and academia, covering both hemp and drug type Cannabis and will provide a forum for them to share their experiences weeding out some of the common problems faced in the early stages of Cannabis tissue culture.  This session will cover the lifecycle of tissue culture from the early struggles maintaining germplasm and selecting the appropriate growth conditions to approaches needed to scale up in vitro Cannabis production.

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