PSNA News Page 1 March 2005 PSNA News Phytochemical Society of North America Sociedad Fitoquímica de América del Norte Société Phytochimique de L 9Amerique du Nord Volume 44, Number 1 March 2005 In this Issue: The Return of the PSNA News and website 2004 PSNA Annual Meeting Report Farewell to Neil Towers 2005 PSNA Meeting Update PRESIDENT 9S LETTER What does the future hold for the PSNA? Without question, it is an exciting time to be a plant biochemist. We have access to full or partial genom- ic sequences of Arabidopsis, and rice, and expressed sequence data for many more.
Proteomic technol- ogy is improving rapidly, thus pro- viding added value to genomic se- quence databases. Modern imaging techniques make it possible to map the location of proteins within a liv- ing cell, and recent advances have led to similar localization studies on metabolites themselves. Advances in mass spectrometry continue at a break-neck pace, enabling the iden- tiScation and quantiScation of plant metabolites in numbers that would have been inconceivable only a few short years ago.
If these are such exciting times, then why does the PSNA struggle as a society? Our membership is down, attendance at recent meetings has been Tagging, and it is becom- ing increasingly difScult to identify members who are willing to work on behalf of the society. I believe that there are a number of factors that have led to this situation, some of which I will outline here.
A num- ber of these issues have already been ... more.
identiSed in previous President 9s Letters [PSNA News 41 (2) and 43 (2)]; however, it is well past time that we come to grips with them as a so- ciety. Not all of you will agree with my point of view, nor does this letter represent the viewpoint of all of the members of our Executive Commit- tee. Nevertheless, we need to deal with the issues facing our society, or else face its lingering demise.
First, we must recognize that our society is well below critical mass. How can this situation be remedied, and from what sources can we re- cruit additional members? When I mention the Society to colleagues from around the country, few have even heard of it, and those that have assume that the society 9s interests are restricted to natural products chemistry.
Many of these scientists and their students could make out- standing contributions to our meet- ings if only they could be convinced to attend. In fact, when I have asked these same individuals whether they would enjoy being members of a society whose focus was plant bio- chemistry, their responses have been a unanimous cYes! d.
They have all agreed that plant biochemistry is poorly represented at other meetings including that of the American Soci- ety for Plant Biology. Thus, I believe that the PSNA has so far missed the opportunity to broaden itself in order to capture new membership. There is an opportunity for the PSNA to become the home society for plant biochemists if we are willing to modestly redeSne our society.
Second, we must deal with the fact that our society is cfactional- ized d, a term Srst used by past-presi- dent Rick Dixon to describe the al- ternating chemical and biochemical nature of past meetings, and their attendees. This is, or course, re- grettable in a time when interdisci- plinary studies will be increasingly important in solving problems that require the integration of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data. I suspect that the inconsistency of our meeting topics has been an important factor in the decline we have seen in both membership and meeting atten- dance.
I see two potential solutions to this problem. One would be to move the society toward plant bio- chemistry in general and away from PSNA News Page 2 March 2005 CONTENTS PSNA mebership Drive & 3 PSNA Mission Statement & 3 The Return of the PSNA News and website & 3 Farewell to Neil Towers & 4 2004 PSNA Annual Meeting Report & 5 2005 PSNA Meeting Update & 3, 12 Recent Advances in Phytochemistry Series &14 PSNA Membership Application &16 PSNA EXECUTIVES President Clint Chapple Department of Biochemistry Purdue University West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA 765-494-0494 (phone) 765-496-7213 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org Past-President Daneel Ferreira NCNPR, School of Pharmacy The University of Mississippi University, MS 38677, USA 662-915-1572 (phone) 662-915-7062 (fax) email@example.com President Elect Secretary Mark A. Berhow USDA, ARS, NCAUR 1815 N.
University St. Peoria, IL 61601 USA 309-681-6347 (phone) 309-681-6524 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Charles L. Cantrell Natural Products Utilization Research USDA-ARS P.O.
Box 8048 University, MS 38677 662-915-5898 (phone) 662-915-1035 (fax) email@example.com Editor-in-Chief John T. Romeo Department of Biology University of South Florida Tampa, FL 33620, USA 813-974-3250 (phone) 813-974-3263 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org ADVISORY COUNCIL Margaret Essenberg (2004) Felipe Vazquez-Flota (2004) Vincenzo De Luca (2005) Joe Chappell (2005) Johnathan Gershenzon (2005) Richard Dixon (2005) Upcoming Annual Meetings 2005 July 30- August 3 San Diego, California 2006 2007 The Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA) is a nonproSt sci- entiSc organization whose member- ship is open to anyone with an in- terest in phytochemistry and the role of plant substances in related Selds. Annual membership dues are U.S.
$40 for regular members and $20 for student members. Annual meet- ings featuring symposium topics of current interest and contributed pa- pers by conference participants are held throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. PSNA meet- ings provide participants with expo- sure to the cutting-edge research of prominent international scientists, but are still small enough to offer in- formality and intimacy that are con- ducive to the exchange of ideas.
This newsletter is circulated to members to keep them informed of upcoming meetings and developments within the society, and to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas. If you would like additional information about the PSNA, or if you have material that you would like included in the newsletter, please contact the PSNA Secretary. Annual dues and changes of address should be sent to the PSNA Treasurer.
Also check the PSNA website at www. psna-online.org for regular updates. The Phytochemical Society of North America PSNA News Page 3 March 2005 more traditional phytochemistry, a topic that is also served by meet- ings such as those organized by the American Society of Pharmacog- nosy, for example.
This seems un- necessary, counter-productive, and against the traditions of the Society. A far better solution would be to embrace the diversity of our mem- bership and organize meetings on less-specialized topics, with paral- lel sessions organized to address the speciSc interests of the attendees, an approach successfully employed by the International Society for Chemi- cal Ecology at our joint meeting in Ottawa this past year. This strategy would build interest and member- ship in the long term, and lead to more consistent meeting attendance from our members year after year.
Finally, I think that it is time that we ask ourselves whether the Society is due for a name change. As Depart- ments of Botany across the country are changing their name to Depart- ments of Plant Biology in an effort to sound more appealing (and a little less dusty!) to potential undergradu- ate and graduate students, we need to ask ourselves whether the name of our Society accurately reTects the interest of our members. Would a name such as The North American Society for Plant Biochemistry be more appealing to individuals who are currently not members of our society?
Could such a name change boost our membership without dis- enfranchising our more traditional phytochemical colleagues? I don 9t know the answers to these questions, but I know that they are questions worth asking. Clint Chapple Department of Biochemistry Purdue University West Lafayette IN 47907 email@example.com PSNA Membership Drive The PSNA Executive Committee would like to invite all members of the society to participate in our Srst membership drive.
In order to main- tain a vibrant society, we must all get involved and encourage those inter- ested in the society to join. You may be surprised to Snd those working around you that are not aware of the PSNA and its mission. The annual PSNA membership dues remain re- markably low when compared to those of similar societies, so please encourage your friends and col- leagues to join the PSNA!
The PSNA Mission Statement The objectives of the society shall be to encourage and stimulate re- search into the chemistry and bio- chemistry of plant constituents, their effects upon plant and animal physiology and pathology, and their industrial importance and utiliza- tion, and to encourage and stimulate communication of these interests among members by providing a fo- rum for the presentation, discussion and publication of scientiSc research for the advancement of science and promotion of the common welfare. Please photocopy the membership application enclosed in this newslet- ter and distribute it directly to those interested parties, individuals, de- partments, and groups. Info on the 2005 PSNA Meeting A proposed schedule can be found on page 12.
The meeting details are being worked out and as soon as they are available they will be posted on the PSNA website. We hope to have registration, abstract submission and hotel details available soon. For cur- rent info contact Mark Berhow or Chales Cantrell The Return of the PSNA Newsletter and Website Mark Berhow PSNA Secretary First of all, I want to thank my predecessor, Dr.
Peter Facchini, for all the work he did in this position for the past years. This is a rather thankless job, that most folks (in- cluding myself) take for granted, un- til we stop getting the regular news- letters and mailings. He has done a great job in updating the newsletter and has set a standard I hope to be able to meet.
Thanks Peter for a job well done. I agreed to volunteer for this job back at the 2003 Peoria meeting, and it has taken a while for me to get all the pieces gathered and Snd the time to work out the details of transfer- ring and updating the website to cre- ate a newsletter template from which to publish. As usual, life and work has interfered with my time manage- ment, so I am now Snally getting all the things set up and ready to go.
However, it has been a year since the PSNA membership has received a newsletter. I hope with this issue to get back on track and get out a news- letter on a regular schedule. Owing to the costs (and labor) involved in mailing a hard copy, I propose to continue Peter 9s lead of printing and mailing one hard copy of the newsletter a year, which will have the yearly membership and meet- ing information.
I would like to pro- duce three other newsletters a year in electronic format, which can be emailed to our members and posted on the website. Vince DeLuca has volunteered to help me prepare and edit the newsletters. What we need now are regular submissions from our membership.
Research develop- ments, events, meeting reports, job opportunities, and career summaries are all fair game for submission. PSNA News Page 4 March 2005 Please consider providing Vince and myself with regular updates if you can. One of the things I needed to do was overhaul the website to update it and making more visually appealing.
I have Snally Snished that update and will be adding revised text and pages that I hope will be of beneSt to both our membership and to the phytochemical research community. I had to move the site to private web hosting organization, as I could not host the site on our USDA server. I chose what appears to be a Sne out- St called fatcow.com, which offers a generous space package for a rea- sonable yearly fee.
I have moved the old web site to the new host and up- dated some of the material. You can access the website at wwww.psna- online.org. I still need to transfer the old text over to the new design, and I hope to replace the old design with the new by the end of January.
Meanwhile the old design at the new site is up and running. I will try to keep the site up to date with meet- ing information and key links. One of the things we will explore is using paypal credit card services to accept membership renewals and book pur- chase right on our website.
I would also like to see an extensive post- ing of job opportunities on our site. Again, I would encourage members to send me job postings, job links, meeting links, and interesting re- search updates/links to post on the PSNA site. The more we contribute the more we all beneSt!
Please send me you input as to what you would like to see posted on the web. I am reluctant to post a membership list, just to prevent you from getting even more junk mail and spam email, but if folks want that I can do it. Again, I apologize for taking so long to get this all up and running.
But, hopefully from here on out we can stay in regular touch with our membership. We learned of the sad news that Dr Neil Towers, Professor Emeritus, from the University of British Co- lumbia died quietly in his sleep on the morning of Monday, November 15, 2004. Those of us, who knew Neil, were aware that he had expe- rience