Meetings & Conferences


Post-Docs’ SkypeSkype

The next Skype meeting is not yet arranged. (Skypes are usually held on a Tuesday at: 17:00 BST, 9:00 PDT, 11:00 CDT, 12:00 EDT)

Past activities

SynSym 4th Annual Meeting in Granada, Spain, Sept. 2017

The 4th SynSym Annual Meeting was an opportunity to welcome new Project Leader Maren Friesen, Washington State University to the project. This means SynSym has seven labs involved, based in six institutions across USA and UK.

logo20icnf20th ICNF in Granada, Spain, Sept. 2017

SynSym was well-represented at this congress with Project Leaders John Peters, Phil Poole, Michael Udvardi, Jean-Michel Ané all giving talks.

Talks were given by post-docs:

  • Min-Hyung Ryu: Systematic analysis of nitrogen fixation cluster transfer to plant-associated bacteria
  • Ponraj Paramasivan: Engineering rhizopine-mediated trans-kingdom signalling in rhizosphere for synthetic plant-microbe associations

Posters were presented by post-docs:

  • Barney Geddes: Engineering synthetic communication between plants and bacteria
  • Lia Kouri: Towards synthetic nitrogen fixation in grasses: Characterizing and increasing C-export and ammonium uptake by the partner plant

SynSym 3rd Annual Meeting in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 2016

ENFC-2016, Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 2016.

Post-docs from SynSym project presented the following:

  • Barney Geddes (oral presentation): Discovery of a novel rhizopine synthesis pathway paves the way for synthetic symbioses and nitrogen fixing cereal crops.
  • Florence Mus (poster): Influence of glutamine synthetase adenylylation on nitrogen assimilation and nitrogen fixation in Azotobacter vinelandii.
  •  (poster and short oral presentation): Engineering a biased plant rhizosphere to establish synthetic symbioses in cereals.
  • Kevin Garcia and Min-Hyung Ryu (poster): Production of Nod factors by the Gamma-Proteobacterium Pseudomonas protegens.

In addition, SynSym project leaders Jean-Michel Ané, Giles Oldroyd, Phil Poole and Michael Udvardi gave plenary lectures.

crestSynSym Project Leaders get together at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Oct. 2015

Phil Poole visited Jean-Michel Ané in Madison and gave a seminar entitled ‘Differentiation of rhizobia into nitrogen-fixing bacteroids’ in the Division of Bacteriology, Distinguished Lectures in Microbiology series.

Seminars in Frontiers on Genomics, Centro de Ciencias Genomicas (CCG) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Mexico, Oct. 2015


Phil Poole gave a talk entitled ‘Transition of Rhizobium from free-living organism to ammoniaplast’ on 13th Oct. 2015. While the talk was given at UNAM Campus in Cuernavaca, it was broadcast live to participating institutions around Mexico.

During Phil’s visit to CCG he spent a day with undergraduates on the Program in Genomic Sciences giving two additional seminars and holding one-to-one discussions with students.

ICNF_logo_110113singletrunc19th ICNF, Asilomar Oct. 2015

The SynSym Project was well represented at this conference with talks and posters from Jean-Michel Ané, Lia Kouri, Giles Oldroyd, John Peters, Phil Poole, Min-Hyung Ryu and Chris Voigt.

Tackling the nitrogen crisis; what are the solutions? Oxford Martin School, Oxford, 18th Sept. 2015

Sixty academics, students and funders attended this symposium organised by Phil Poole to discuss biological nitrogen fixation together with the broader problems of nitrogen in the environment, agricultural policy, food consumption and social issues, in the context of finding solutions. Speakers included the SynSym Project Leaders Jean-Michel Ané, Giles Oldroyd, John Peters and Michael Udvardi.


SynSym 2nd Annual Meeting, Sept. 2015

Synthetic Symbioses 2nd Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the mid-term meeting of the Nitrogen Ideas Lab Projects, Burnham Beeches, UK on 15th-16th Sept. 2015. Report of the meeting and the scientific presentations by post-docs available for SynSym members.



Nitrogen: Improving on Nature, Grantholders’ Workshop, Burnham Beeches Hotel, Burnham, UK. 15th-17th Sept. 2015

collated BurnhamBeeches

All members of SynSym project were invited to the mid-term workshop for grants funded as part of the ‘Nitrogen: Improving on Nature’ initiative. Along with Synthetic Symbioses, other projects funded were Nitroplast: A Light-Driven, Synthetic Nitrogen-Fixing Organelle, Oxygen-Tolerant Nitrogenase and Designing Nitrogen Fixation in Oxygenic Photosynthetic Cells.

postdocs in sun

BBSRC Senior Executive hears directly about SynSym project, Nov. 2014

BBSRC CEO Prof. Jackie Hunter led a small group of senior BBSRC personnel on a visit to Dept. of Plant Sciences, Oxford on 21st November 2014. On visiting Phil Poole’s lab the group heard a presentation by SynSym’s Barney Geddes.

BBSRC_visit to Oxford1_cropped2

PLs’ Skype



In Sept. 2017there was a PLs’ meeting held in conjunction with the 20th ICNF conference in Granada, Spain. Minutes available here.


There were Skype meetings for all SynSym PLs in November 2014, April 2015 and June 2016. Minutes available here.

In Sept. 2015 there was a PLs’ meeting held in conjunction with the Nitrogen Ideas Lab mid-term meeting at Burnham Beeches, UK. Minutes available here.

Post-Docs’ Skype Forum

June 2017, Florence gave a talk: Effect of deregulation of GS activity in Azotobacter vinelandii on ammonium assimilation and nitrogen fixation

June 2017, Amaya gave a talk summarising recent work; A. vinelandii has two Rnf complexes and one Fix complex

May 2017, Ponraj gave a talk; Engineering Rhizopine Biosynthesis in Cereals

April 2017, Kevin gave a talk; Engineering synthetic symbiosis between plants and bacteria to deliver nitrogen to crops

March 2017, Kyle gave a talk; Engineering Rhizobia as a Synthetic Biology Chassis

Feb 2017, Lia  gave a talk; Characterize and optimize ammonium uptake by the roots of wild-type Setaria and maize

Jan 2017, Barney gave a talk; Engineering rhizopine synthesis and perception in bacteria and plants.

Nov 2016, Min-Hyung gave a talk; Engineered Nitrogen Fixation in Cereal-associated Bacteria

June 2016, Florence gave a talk; Strategies for increased ammonium production and nitrogen fixation in free-living or plant associated nitrogen fixing bacteria. In addition, Amaya gave a talk; Electron flow balance to nitrogenase and respiration.

May 2016, Ponraj gave a talk;  Engineering Rhizopine Biosynthesis in Cereals.

March 2016, Kevin gave a talk; Engineering synthetic symbiosis between plant and bacteria to deliver nitrogen to crops.

February 2016Kyle gave a talk; Rhizosphere-specific genetic switches.

January 2016, Lia gave a talk; Ammonium Transporters (Setaria and barley).

November 2015Barney gave a talk; Characterising rhizopine synthesis, regulation and catabolism for transfer to synthetic symbiosis.

October 2015, Min-Hyung gave a talk; Engineering Platforms for nif Transfer across Species.

June 2015, everyone gave a quick update on recent progress.

May 2015, Florence gave a talk; Strategies for increased ammonium production and nitrogen fixation in free-living or plant associated nitrogen fixing bacteria.

April 2015, Ponraj gave a talk; Engineering lipochitooligosaccharide (LCO)-inducible rhizopine biosynthesis for synthetic symbiosis in cereals.

March 2015, Amaya gave a talk; Forging the blueprint for engineering nitrogen fixation in aerobes.

February 2015, Lia gave a talk; Metabolite analysis in roots and exudates from S. viridis and maize.

January 2015,  Kevin gave a talk; Engineering synthetic symbiosis between plant and bacteria to deliver nitrogen to crops.

December 2014, Barney gave a talk; Engineering synthetic symbiosis: characterizing rhizopines and developing tools.

October 2014,  Min-Hyung gave a talk; Creation of large part libraries for the development of Synthetic Symbiosis.

ENCF-2014, Tenerifegeneral-floating-menu-logo-regular

SynSym was well represented at the European Nitrogen Fixation Conference with all six project leaders giving talks. In addition, five posters were presented by the post-doctoral scientists describing work on the project.

SynSym 1st Annual Meeting, Tenerife Sept. 2014

The first annual Synthetic Symbioses meeting was held on Saturday 6th September 2014, prior to ENFC-2014 at Costa Adeje Palace Hotel. Timetable for this one day meeting: SynSym Sept2014 programme.


Cereals Engineering Workshop, Norwich May 2014

Members of the SynSym research project were invited to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded ENSA-C4RICE-RIPE-Cereal Engineering Workshop held at Dunstan Hall, Norwich, 27th-29th May 2014. After a series of talks covering the latest developments in cereal engineering, the workshop was followed by a day of training in Golden Gate cloning at JIC, Norwich.


Nitrogen Ideas Lab , San Franscisco Feb. 2014

The inaugural meeting of the Nitrogen Ideas Lab Projects was held at the Marriot Hotel in San Franscisco from 27th February – 1st March 2014.



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