The North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC)

ICAR 2021 Virtual Logo for MASC page

January 2021 updates on ICAR 2021-Virtual- Program Overview Below Updates

FIRST UPDATE: Apply for Funding to have your registration fee waived, or reduced to $50 USD. Deadline to apply, with all components: 15 March 2021

2 steps to apply:

(a) Provide applicant information via this google form (preferred) or if google form is inaccessible, provide information via email by downloading this document (DOC) or plain textfilling it out, and email it as an attachment, with required components (CV, statement as described) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ensure you receive a confirmation that your application was recieved wihtin 3 days of emailing it in. If you didn't recieve the confirmation, please submit it again.)

(b) Have your advisor email a letter of recommendation/support on your behalf by the deadline of 15 March to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Note- faculty and category 3, financial need program applicants, do not need to submit a letter of recommendation. For full details on the categories and who is eligible, see the conference website OR read about the 3 categories of funding in this funding document: Word Doc, or Plain Text versions.

Recommendation Letter/ Letter of Support for ICAR 2021

(Below are some common components in a letter of support; please address at minimum, items 1-3 in your letter. Addressing additional items may strengthen the letter)

  1. Required- briefly introduce yourself (letter writer), your relationship to the applicant, and how long you’re known them
  2. Required- applicant's achievements and contributions to a field
  3. Required- why is attending ICAR 2021 important to the applicant’s career stage? e.g. is the applicant preparing to secure their first postdoc or faculty position? Is the candidate ready to share new research results? Is the candidate early in their career and seeks a way to connect with the research community?
  4. Recommended- what will the candidate contribute to attending ICAR 2021?
  5. Recommended- describe the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as related to the conference award
  6. Recommended- quantify and compare the applicant’s abilities with respect to other scientists you have mentored (some areas may include: research strength, leadership, writing ability, oral communication, teamwork, teaching ability)
  7. Recommended- specific examples of achievements (or anecdotes or stories to illustrate strengths)

SECOND UPDATE: We seek 4 new proposals in areas that are not already represented at ICAR 2021. We especially seek proposals from colleagues in Asia (e.g., China, Japan, South Korea, India, etc.) - Deadline to apply: 1 March

Deadline to apply: 22 February 1 MARCH (extended for lunar new year) 2021, via Survey Monkey Form (preferred) or via Email (see instructions, below)

  1. We can add 4 additional community-proposed mini-symposia to the program. Our focus is on topics that aren't already in our program. We will accept topics that may be related to existing sessions (e.g. a new session on hormones) but you should describe how your session complements existing sessions.

  2. We will review and select from proposals submitted by the deadline across several metrics including: complementary topic that adds new depth or breadth to the program; diversity in proposed speakers by gender, institution, and career stage, diversity in proposed sub-topics; and organizers will seek to balance proposal selection by these same metrics.

  3. Details: Mini-symposium Session Structure: Proposers have 55 minutes to allocate to speakers and there will be a 20 minute live group discusison, summing to 75 minutes total per session. Session chairs or someone they designate will moderate the live discussion/Q&A. All talks will be pre-recorded/self-recorded in advance (e.g., via Zoom), played during ICAR, followed by the live Q&A/discussion. Standard session format: is 2-4 invited talks (10-15') and 3-7 short talks (5 minutes each), summing to 55 minutes..

  4. How to apply: First, review the existing 32 session descriptions at the conference website OR in this word document or this plain text document (titles listed below.) We seek proposals on NEW topics and we especially seek proposals from colleagues in Asia

  5. Be sure to apply by no later than the deadline either via the Survey Monkey Form (preferred) or via emailing the completed application as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (applications are linked in 7, below) 

  6. All proposals must be in English.

  7. Please read the application document for all details before applying. Incomplete applications, or those that miss the deadline, will not be reviewed.

    1. Application Word Document

    2. Application Plain Text Document

  8. Timeline for Selection: 

    1. 1 March- New Session proposals due 

    2. 5-8 March- announce 4 selected new sessions

Current titles of accepted mini-symposia (full descriptions in documents at item 4, above)

1. Active Learning and CUREs in Undergraduate Plant Science Education
2. Arabidopsis Informatics
3. Arabidopsis Transposable Element Biology
4. Encoding Calcium Spikes, Waves, and Oscillations in Arabidopsis
5. Exploring Brassicaceae Diversity
6. Exploring the Single-cell Landscape of Arabidopsis
7. Feeling Stressed? Environmental Adaptation in Extremophyte Relatives of Arabidopsis
8. From Molecules to Organs: Quantitative Imaging in Plant Biology
9. Getting More Power From Your Flower: Multi-functional Flowers Improve Plant Fitness
10. How Do Plants Sense and Respond to Elevated Carbon Dioxide, Ozone and Drought?
11. Impact and Application of Basic Research to Sustainable Agriculture Improvement.
12. Leveraging Natural Variation to Understand Immune Functions
13. Metabolite-mediated Regulation of Plant Growth and Development
14. Molecules on the Move (MOM): Plant-microorganism Communication
15. Quantitative Development in the Digital World
16. Plant Hormones
17. Plant Memory: Environmental Information Integration Within and Across Generations
18. RNA Modifications-mechanism and Biology
19.Sensing the Cell Wall: Mechanical Signals and Downstream Responses

20. Social Media and Science Communication
21. Stochasticity and Robustness in Plant Development
22. Stress Granules in Plants as Novel Mechanism in Stress Signaling
23. Technological Innovations to Jumpstart Biological Discovery
24. The Arabidopsis Algorithm: Mathematical Modeling in Plant Biology
25. The Cell Cycle in Plant Growth, Development, and Stress Responses
26. The Role of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins in Plant Biology
27. Translational Regulation of Gene Expression
28. Using Evolutionary Novelty to Understand General Principles of Plant Biology
29. When Development Meets Stress- Integration of Plant Growth and Defense

30. Running a Research Group in the Next Generation.

31. Utilizing Arabidopsis in the Classroom: Empowering Students and Your Research Program

Keynotes and Plenary Speakers- Confirmed

Monday 21 June
7 - 8 am Pacific Time
Keynote Seminar

Plenary #1: 8:30 - 9:30 am Pacific Time
Post-transcriptional Mechanisms of Gene Regulation
Hongwei Guo, Southern China University of Science and Technology, China
Steven Spoel, University of Edinburgh, UK

Plenary #2: 9:45- 11:45 am Pacific Time
Systems Approaches to Understanding and Engineering Plant Biology
Nicola Patron, Earlham Institute, UK
Naomi Nakayama, Imperial College London, UK
David Savage, UC Berkeley, USA
Elizabeth Sattely, Stanford University, USA

Tuesday 22 June
Plenary #3: 7 - 8:30 am Pacific Time
Intercellular Communication
Ji-Young Lee, Seoul National University, South Korea
Sota Fujii, University of Tokyo and NAIST, Japan
Tessa Burch-Smith, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

Plenary #4: 8:45- 10:15 am Pacific Time
Plasticity of Plant Development In Response to the Environment
Yuling Jiao, IGDB- CAS, China
Miltos Tsiantis, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany
Kathleen Donohue, Duke University, USA

Wednesday 23 June
Plenary #5: 7 - 8:30 am Pacific Time
New Frontiers in Plant-Biotic Interactions
Ken Shirasu, RIKEN, Japan
Xin-Li, University of British Columbia, Canada
Noah Whiteman, UC Berkeley, USA

Plenary #6: 8:45- 10:15 am Pacific Time
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Cell Differentiation and Intracellular Signaling
Katie Dehesh, UC Riverside, USA
Roger Deal, Emory University, USA
Mary Gehring, MIT-Whitehead, USA

Thursday 24 June
8:30- 9:30 am Pacific Time
Keynote Seminar

Plenary #7: 10- 11:30 am Pacific Time
Translating Research Into Impact
Vi Shukla, Gates Foundation, USA
Tim Kelliher, NCSU and Syngenta, USA
Pam Ronald, UC Davis, USA

ICAR 2021 Program Overview

ICAR 2021 Program Overview Options

October 2020 Update on ICAR 2021-Virtual 

The 31st International Conference on Arabidopsis Research has been postponed to 2021, due to Covid pandemic. ICAR 2021 will be converted to an online format: 21-25 June, 2021

The Next US-based ICAR is 21-25 June, 2021, and is being organized by NAASC, who will serve as the main conference organizing committee with input from an international External Advisory Board (EAB)

Click to see ICAR 2020/21 EAB members

NAASC representatives to MASC (Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee): Joanna Friesner (NAASC Executive Director)

 Current NAASC Members:

  1. Roger Innes, Indiana University (2016 - 2021) NAASC President
  2. Peter McCourt, University of Toronto (2016 - 2021)
  3. Sean Cutler, University of California, Riverside (2017 - 2022)
  4. Jennifer Nemhauser, University of Washington, Seattle (2017 - 2022) NAASC Vice-President
  5. Federica Brandizzi, Michigan State University (2018 - 2023)
  6. Anna Stepanova, NC State University (2018 - 2023) NAASC Secretary
  7. Siobhan Braybrook, UCLA (2019 - 2024)
  8. Keith Slotkin, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center & Univ. of Missouri-Columbia (2019 - 2024) NAASC Assistant Secretary
  9. Cris Argueso, Colorado State University (2020 - 2025) NAASC Treasurer
  10. Adrienne Roeder, Cornell University (2020 - 2025)

**Immediate Past NAASC Members**

  1. Jose Dinneny, Stanford (2015 - 2020) 
  2. Elizabeth Haswell, Washington University- St. Louis (2015 - 2020) 
  3. Rick Vierstra, Washington University- St. Louis, (2014 - 2018)
  4. Doris Wagner, University of Pennsylvania, (2014 - 2018)
  5. Sarah Assmann, Penn State University, (2013 - 2018)
  6. Erich Grotewold, The Ohio State University, (2013 - 2018)

Click here to see ALL past serving NAASC members

NAASC Staff: Joanna Friesner (Executive Director, NAASC) has served as the NAASC staffperson since 2006, including four years as MASC Coordinator. She can be reached at [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]. NAASC is primarily composed of U.S. researchers, and typically at least one Canadian researcher, all of whom are elected to five year terms of service by the North American Arabidopsis community. Current and Past NAASC Members are listed at the bottom of the page.

Click here to see full NAASC Structure and Subcommittee Descriptions

  1. NAASC- 10 elected members of the North American Arabidopsis community; serve 5 year terms; 2 new members elected annually
  2. DEILC- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Committee, includes NAASC members, leads of other subcommittees, and Executive Director. Objective: to ensure NAASC uses a lens of social and racial equity and inclusion in its activities.
  3. Inclusivity Scholars Subcommittee (ISS) (formerly NAASC Minority Affairs Committee, MAC). Objective: to increase the presence of historically under-represented ethnic and racial groups in the fields of Arabidopsis research, education, and outreach, as well as to collaboratively address issues they face as plant scientists and in society.
  4. (new, in development) Early Career Scholars Subcommittee (ECSS), Objective: to ensure that Early Career Scholars (ECS) have representation in NAASC activities and to provide a forum where we can collaboratively address issues specific to ECS.
  5. future subcommittees: NAASC is open to developing new subcommittees to represent communities or projects. Contact us to discuss your proposal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

August 29, 2017 Update to NAASC Term of Service: To provide better continuity and shared knowledge for NAASC-organized ICARs, current NAASC agreed, by consensus, to increase the term from four to five years. Current members will opt-in to a 5th year, while all NAASC elections beginning with fall, 2017, will designate 5 year terms for new NAASC members.

ICAR 2020/21 External Advisory Board

  1. Adan Colon-Carmona, USA, University Massachusetts- Boston
  2. Adrienne Roeder, USA, Cornell University
  3. Andrew Leakey, USA, University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign
  4. Beronda Montgomery, USA, Michigan State University; MSU/DOE Plant Research Laboratory
  5. Blake Meyers, EAB Liaison to NAASC, USA, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  6. Caroline Dean, UK, John Innes Centre
  7. Hiroshi Maeda, USA, University of Wisconsin- Madison
  8. Kirsten Bomblies, UK, John Innes Centre
  9. Magdelena Benzanilla, USA, University Massachusetts- Amherst
  10. Magnus Nordberg, Austria, Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
  11. Miltos Tsiantis, Germany, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
  12. Ottoline Leyser, UK, Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge
  13. Susannah Tringe, USA, DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI)
  14. Yuichiro Tsuchiya, Japan, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University
  15. Zachary Nimchuk, USA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

NAASC Activities

NAASC Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion spans back to at least 2004 with consistent efforts to secure federal funding to enable broader participation

Key Focus Areas include:

include increasing participation by, and representation of, women, members of under-represented racial and ethnic groups in STEM, early-career researchers, and additional identities that span the full diversity of the human experience and our plant biology communities.


Specific areas we monitor for our activities have, so far, included: % female and/or early career stage invited speakers to ICARs.

Newer efforts will collect data on racial & ethnic identities and gender pronouns to enable us to gauge participation and effects of specific efforts on increasing representation and comfort level/"belongingness" of additional members of our community that have often been less/in-visible, and/or minoritized or excluded.

ICAR2021RaceICAR2021GenderICARGender 2ICAR 2017 2021 ECR speakers 


DiversifyPlantSci Database


  1. NAASC is committed to promoting a global plant sciences community that reflects the true diversity of all its members.
  2. To further this mission, members of the NAASC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force have created the DiversifyPlantSci online resource, a list of plant scientists from under-represented groups (see below) to reference as you seek speakers, reviewers, and participants for career or mentorship opportunities.
  3. This list (and database) is intended to highlight the diversity within the global plant science community.
  4. We hope to increase diversity and inclusion by making it easy to expand invitations past one’s personal networks.

How to Join and Use DiversifyPlantSci:

  1. Nominate yourself if you are a plant scientist who: identifies as a woman; identifies as LGBTQIA+; has a disability; and/or is a member of an under-represented ethnic or racial group (As defined by the US National Science Foundation: Women, persons with disabilities, and three racial and ethnic groups—blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives—are underrepresented in US STEM; we also include Filipino.
    1. You may also self-nominate if you otherwise belong to an underrepresented or minoritized group in academia (by your definition).
    2. You may include in the database and entry form any other unlisted identities that you wish to, that represent the unique you.
  2. Please do not nominate others, we allow self-registration only.
  3. However we strongly encourage you to forward the form to others that you know and invite them to consider signing up for inclusion.
  4. You may self-nominate by filling in the DiversifyPlantSci Self-Nomination Form
  5. We've used some language from the DiversityEEB list, and here's their reference:
  6. Please do NOT use this database to "spam" many (or all) members as part of a broad or unfocused approach to reaching under-represented plant scientists. Use the list judiciously and keep in mind that a personal email is much more effective than a mass mailing. If you do send an email to more than one person, please use the 'bcc' option to reduce the likelihood of an annoying "reply-all" chain.
    1. For broad announcements, please instead make use of the NAASC [@DiversifyPlants] ( Twitter account to *broadly* announce, for example, career positions, award opportunities, or seminar announcements that aren't aimed at individuals you have *individually* identified as highly relevant to your activity. The intent of this database is to help enable "real" new connections and expand networks in meaningful ways. This will be accomplished being intentional and thoughtful about reaching out to folks on the list. 

DiversifyPlantPubs Logo

#DIVERSIFYPLANTPUBS to highlight and promote plant scientists whose identities diversify our community


NAASC #DiversifyPlantPubs is simple and straight-forward. The NAASC DiversifyPlantSci Twitter account [@DiversifyPlants] ( re-tweets scientific articles, including pre-prints, written by scientists who self-identify as plant science researchers with diverse identity(ies). 

We want to promote, lift up, and disseminate the research of plant scientists whose identities diversify our community. We don't want to wait for the plant science community to increase its diversity and representation to make these contributions more visible.

This DiversifyPlantSci DiversifyPlantPubs initiative is inspired by, and modeled after, the EEB Papers of Color initiative from our colleagues in Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior (EEB); check them out @ EEB_POC and

NAASC Statement on Racial Justice and Equity (June 3, 2020)

The events of the past week provide another searing reminder that we have a great deal of work to do before we realize a world where everyone has a full, healthy life and the opportunity to fulfill their potential. 

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and David McAtee are only the most recent and most violent examples of what Black Americans experience every day. While it might seem to some that academia and the sciences provide a space of refuge, racism is prevalent within the academy, and it is hurting valued members of our community. We acknowledge that for many of us, including our mentees, it may not be possible–or even appropriate–to focus on science right now.

As a group elected to represent the community of Arabidopsis researchers in North America, we:

  1. Express our anger, sadness, and disgust at current events, including the violent response to peaceful protesters by police and the inflammatory language of many in leadership roles. NAASC strongly rejects racism and discrimination in any form.
  2. Reach out to our Black colleagues, trainees, and students to express support and solidarity and empathy. We stand with the Black community, and extend our love and concern to other communities that experience injustice. 
  3. Will continue our efforts to raise up and center minoritized voices. This includes using DiversifyPlantSci ( as one of several resources for identifying potential speakers for seminars, meetings and candidates for leadership roles, and sponsoring focused activities to support, mentor, and promote the advancement of under-represented minorities.
  4. Reiterate that anti-racism work is explicitly part of NAASC’s mission, and should be for all scientists. We reaffirm our commitment to doing the work needed to break down structural inequities. In this article, we provide some resources for those with privilege. We commit ourselves to providing more resources in the future. 

We call on our colleagues who are not themselves in marginalized communities to reflect on what specific actions you can take to support those in the Black community. In addition, we ask our entire NAASC constituency to provide feedback for how we might better serve and support you.

NAASC Committee for Diversity and Equity

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RCN: Arabidopsis Research and Training for the 21st century (ART-21)

You can view a brief overview of this activity as presented at PAG 2016 at:

June 2015: NAASC member Siobhan Brady (PI, UC Davis) and NAASC Executive Director Joanna Friesner (co-PI, UC Davis), with contributions from several project Steering Committee members, were awarded 5 years of funding from the US National Science Foundation to support community engagement and activities focusing on research and training needs for Plant Biology in the 21st Century.

Project's Three Main Objectives:

  1. Identify emerging technologies where using Arabidopsis as a model organism will provide fundamental discoveries and enable translational research in crop species
  2. Enhance interdisciplinary training of scientists for academia and extra-academic careers
  3. Increase diversity of Arabidopsis research scientists using targeted mechanisms

Major Project Activities

    1. Annual Focus Groups in each of 4 years (primarily involving North American plant biologists and several international community members) on three main topics:
      • Computational training of biologists for academia and industry in the 21st Century
      • Genomic experimental biology techniques for academia and industry in the 21st Century
      • Interdisciplinary Training and Cross-training for 21st Century Careers
      • *Wrap Up, Evaluation and Assessment and Write-Shop*
    2. Enabling Participation of US Scientists to attend ICAR (2015-2019):
      • US Early Career Researcher (ECR) travel awards
      • US Under-Represented Minority (URM) travel awards for historically under-represented groups in US science
    3. Community activities at each ICAR (2015-2019):
      • Community workshops on each year's theme (matching the Focus Group)
      • Interactive programs for community workshops involving early career researchers
      • ICAR 2017 included an expanded list of activities involving research and training needs, aimed primarily at early-career researchers. These activities were made possible by the ART-21 RCN award from the NSF to NAASC, and through sponsorship and partnership with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC) in St. Louis.
    4. Expanded ICAR 2017 Activities That Took Place in St. Louis, Missouri

Pre-Meeting Hands On Workshops for early career applicants.

      The workshop content focused on emerging bioinformatic and computational skills and emerging genomics technologies. Activities included an full day workshops: Data Carpentry; phenotyping hackathon, and ATAC-seq lab:
    • Data Carpentry: This event was an example-driven workshop on basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data. Short tutorials alternated with hands-on practical exercises, and participants were encouraged both to help one another, and to try applying what they have learned to their own research problems during and between sessions.
    • ATAC-seq hands-on workshop on mapping chromatin accessibility and TF footprints: Instructor: Professor Roger Deal (Emory University)- This workshop introduced attendees to the ATAC-seq process including isolation of nuclei, preparation of ATAC-seq libraries, and analysis of the resulting data to identify open chromatin regions and TF footprints. This lab workshop included both wet-lab and computational components.
    • Hackathon for high-throughput phenotyping: Designer: Cody Markelz (University of California, Davis). On-site Instructors: Malia Gehan and Noah Fahlgren (Donald Danforth Center). Many plant biologists are not formally trained to perform tasks needed to piece together their own image processing phenotyping pipeline. The hackathon focused on expanding on the introduction to genomics data and data management and analysis for genomics research provided in the Data Carpentry workshop.
    • New Sessions: Quantitative and Computational Biology; Emerging Genomics Technologies.
    • Special Community Workshops: URM career-development workshop abd ECR career-development workshop

Publications/ Information Sharing

Recorded Presentations from the "Seeds of Change: Using Plants to Broaden the Impact of Science in Society" Symposium held November 7 2018 at UC Davis, and organized by NAASC

The public symposium and the accompanying two day workshop were supported the US National Science Foundation* in an award to PI Siobhan Brady/Co-PI Joanna Friesner

These presentations can be found on the Plantae Website

*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. #1518280. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this event are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Click to see the ICAR 2020 Code of Conduct Summary

ICAR 2020 Code of Conduct

NAASC developed this code of conduct in 2019, for the 31st International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR) scheduled for July, 2020. ICAR 2020 was then postponed due to global Covid-19 pandemic, and converted to ICAR 2021-Virtual. This code of conduct includes on-site processes that became obsolete once the conference became a virtual meeting. However, as we have developed this document also as a resource for others that may wish to develop their own conference code of conduct, we share this information freely in its original form and invite people to use and/or adapt the document as you wish.

We ask that you do abide by the ICAR 2020 Code of Conduct References, Re-use and Acknowledgement Policy that is included preceding the citation list.

Summary of ICAR Code Expectations and Consequences of Violations
(1) Expected Behavior

(2) Examples of inappropriate conduct and behavior prohibited by the ICAR Code
Identity-based discrimination: written or verbal comments which have the effect of excluding people on the basis of membership of any specific group such as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender presentation, etc., as described in the Code.

(3) Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior/ Violations of ICAR Code
Following review as described in the ICAR Code, the consequences of violations will include one or more of the following actions:

  1. Warned/asked to stop
  2. Removed from meeting without warning or refund
  3. Prohibited from attending future ICARs
  4. Employer notified
  5. Reported to law enforcement​
  6. Retaliation for reporting harassment is also a violation of this policy. This provision extends to bystanders.

Full Document for Public Use/Adaptation (following re-use policy within)

NAASC History & Structure

During the first years of the Arabidopsis Genome Project, an ad hoc committee was formed to forge relationships and foster communication among the groups and countries world-wide who were involved in the genome sequencing effort. It was determined that the committee should be made up of three representatives from North America, two representatives each from continental Europe and the United Kingdom, and one representative each from Australia and Japan. These representatives would be elected by the groups that they would represent, and they would serve terms of three years. This committee was known as the Multinational Science Steering Committee. In February of 1992, in response to the need for elected North American representatives to the Multinational Science Steering Committee, Howard Goodman, Elliot Meyerowitz and Chris Somerville called for the formation of a North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC). In the first election, six North American Arabidopsis researchers were elected.

In its first year, the NAASC dealt with a number of issues including the decision to have a National Arabidopsis meeting in Ohio in 1993, determining who should represent North America on the Multinational Science Steering Committee, and advising the NSF and other funding agencies of the community's needs for database services.

It was additionally determined that the committee would consist of six members and that members would serve for three years. Two new members would be elected annually via the Arabidopsis Newsgroup , and two members would retire.

Since that time, the NAASC has evolved into the main organizing and fundraising body for the International Conference on Arabidopsis Research when it is held in North America. The conference is now held annually and rotates between North America, Europe, and Austral-Asia.

The NAASC also collaborates with MASC members that volunteer to host the annual ICAR. NAASC solicits funds to help North American junior scientists travel to these international meetings. Since 2004, the NAASC has applied for funding to allow underrepresented minorities, and scientists from Historically Black Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions in the United States to fully participate in the Annual Arabidopsis meetings. Additionally, the NAASC serves as a liaison between members of the community and government and not-for-profit granting agencies and provides representation of the community to service facilities.

In 2000, the members of the NAASC unanimously voted to amend the process of election and alter the term of service for members to coincide with the annual conference rather than the calendar year. It was felt that this alteration would help to ensure continuity in the committee. In 2003, the process was again amended, in the following ways:

Each member of the committee will serve for four full years, to further aid in continuity in the committee (August 29, 2017 Update to NAASC Term of Service: To provide better continuity and shared knowledge for NAASC-organized ICARs the term of service increased from four to five years. All NAASC elections beginning with fall 2017 will designate 5 year terms for new NAASC members.)

Members of the North American Arabidopsis research community who have served previously on NAASC may be re-nominated for the election, and if elected, may serve another term on the committee

NAASC Structure

NAASC Org Chart 22Nov2020



Description: The North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee (NAASC), an elected body, was founded in 1992 to provide North American representation to the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee (MASC) and to forge relationships and foster communication among the groups and countries world-wide that are involved in research, education, and outreach using Arabidopsis. NAASC organizes and raises funds for North American International Conferences on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR), and supports North American researchers to participate in additional ICARs. NAASC provides leadership to develop, secure funding for, and implement community-serving projects and activities and enable opportunities to support the full diversity of the Arabidopsis community, particularly in North America.

Membership: NAASC has 10 elected members with two new members elected annually by the North American Arabidopsis community; members serve a 5-year term. Eligibility to serve on NAASC: Persons at the postdoctoral scholar level and higher, residing and working on Arabidopsis-related research and/or education and/or training at a North American University or Institution. 


Description: The NAASC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Committee was founded in 2020 to more effectively and inclusively coordinate efforts between NAASC and its subcommittees, and to expand community input and participation in areas of diversity, equity and inclusion of multiple identities of the Arabidopsis community. DEILC will ensure NAASC uses a lens of social and racial equity and inclusion during activity development and implementation; particular attention is paid to ensure that historically less-resourced racial and ethnic groups, and early career scholars, have representation in NAASC activities.  


Description: The NAASC Inclusivity Scholars Subcommittee (ISS) was founded in 2013 (as the Minority Affairs Committee, MAC) to increase the presence of historically under-represented ethnic and racial groups in the fields of Arabidopsis research, education, and outreach, as well as to collaboratively address issues they face as plant scientists and in society. ISS seeks to coordinate activities related to promoting diversity in plant sciences, primarily through cultivating programs and communities around the ICAR Inclusivity Scholars Program (ISP, formerly the Under Represented Minority (URM) Travel Award Program). ISS will continue to provide resources, opportunities, mentoring and training to current and past members of this ISS cohort.

Membership: ISS is co-chaired by two members of the Arabidopsis community, currently these are Siobhan Brady (UC Davis) and Terri Long (NCSU) whose primary focus is coordinating and enabling the ISP and associated cohort. Past ICAR awardees (previously “URM cohort members”) are eligible to join ISS; additional interested North American Arabidopsis scientists or educators whose experiences and background are relevant can also apply to join ISS. ISS welcomes allies to participate in ISS activities, and especially promotes action by allies to challenge power structures in their own institutions and groups that seek to oppress or disenfranchise historically under-represented ethnic and racial groups. Members will be asked to provide brief biosketches that focus on their interests in diversity, equity and inclusion (as well as research and educational interests). 

To Apply:  Email* these materials: (1) Statement on interests: up to 1 page describing your scientific, educational, and/or outreach interests that are relevant to Arabidopsis and/or other plant sciences and why you wish to serve on the ISS including your interest, activities, and/or priorities for increasing the presence of under-represented ethnic and racial groups in plant sciences. Please indicate whether you are yourself Black, African American, LatinX, or Indigenous; or alternatively, if you consider yourself an ally from a non-minority/represented group. (2) Brief (2-3 pages) CV or resume to* This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Subject line: Application for ISS. For more information, email questions to preceding email address. 


Description: The NAASC Early Career Scholars Subcommittee (ECSS) was founded in 2020 to 1) ensure that Early Career Scholars (ECS) have representation in NAASC activities at all stages of activity development and implementation, and 2) to provide a forum where we can collaboratively address issues specific to ECS. ECSS liaises with NAASC via DEILC.

Membership: ECSS will be co-chaired by two North American Arabidopsis community members, one of whom should be an elected member of NAASC, and that themselves are ECS, defined as: undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, junior faculty (pre-tenure), or others (e.g., research scientists and faculty in non-tenure track positions). All ECS are defined as within 10 years of securing a doctorate in a relevant field or 15 years of securing a master’s degree (if that is their terminal degree). Co-chair terms: (1) elected NAASC member: equal to their term on NAASC unless they are replaced prior to end of their term. (2) If not an elected NAASC member: two years, eligible for renewal upon NAASC approval. Eligible to join ECSS: past North American-based NAASC early career travel awardees and any interested North American Arabidopsis scientists or educators whose experiences and background are relevant to ECSS. Applicants/Members will be asked to provide brief biosketches that focus on their interests in diversity, equity and inclusion (as well as research and educational interests). 

To apply: Email these materials: (1) Statement on interests: up to 1 page describing your scientific, educational, and/or outreach interests that are relevant to Arabidopsis or other plant sciences and why you wish to serve on the ECSS. (2) Brief (2-3 pages) CV or resume listing your educational and professional achievements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Subject line: Application for ECSSFor more information, email questions to preceding email address. 

Elected NAASC Members

Members of the North American Arabidopsis research community have been extremely generous in their willingness to serve on the NAASC. Since the initial call for an elected committee in 1992, 55+ researchers have served on the committee.

NAASC members, past and present, are listed below:

Last modified on November 20, 2020