International Brachypodium conference in Modena Italy demonstrates great utility of the research model

Following the prelude workshop in 2011 at the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Versailles France, the 1st International Brachypodium Conference was held in the hometown of Enzo Ferrari in Modena Italy. Scientists from nineteen countries gathered - and at one point evacuated due to an earthquake - to discuss research progress in the genus Brachypodium. Former UMass postdoc Karen Sanguinet, now at Iwate University, communicated her root hairless mutant. Graduate student Pubudu Handakumbura described the functional characterization of a MYB transcription factor that activates cell wall thickening. Among others, Sam Hazen detailed behavior in brachy that is clearly distinct from that of arabidopsis and other dicots. Several groups professed the usefulnes of the model to study cereal pathogens and other attributes of growth and development. Also noteworthy is the development of B. sylvaticum as a to to study perennialism.