Summer Course 2015

Plant Anatomy: Development, Function, and Evolution

June 22 – July 3, 2015
(Boston, MA)

Click Here for Attendee Information!

The NSF-sponsored Research Coordination Network (RCN) microMORPH and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University are pleased to announce our third summer short course, Plant Anatomy (with an emphasis on woody plants), June 22 – July 3, 2015. This short course will be taught by experts from around the world as an intense, two-week lecture, laboratory, and living collections learning experience. The course will be based at the Weld Hill Research Building at the Arnold Arboretum, which offers a state-of-the-art microscopy laboratory for teaching and sits amid the 15,000+ living specimens of more than 2,200 species at the Arnold Arboretum.

With the opportunity to bring molecular genetic and genomic tools to almost any clade of plants, it is essential to understand the biology of the organisms in question. A key challenge will be to link comparative developmental genetics to existing bodies of knowledge; notably the over two hundred year legacy of plant anatomy. This integration is critical as the phylogenetic, structural, and ecological breadth of plant taxa open to study expands, and potential questions become increasingly sophisticated. This course will provide a working knowledge of tools and concepts that are central to understanding the anatomical basis for structural and functional diversity.

Please see our pdf flyer!

Pieter Baas (Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
William (Ned) Friedman (Harvard University)
Peter Gasson (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Elisabeth Wheeler (North Carolina State University)


Week 1: Basics of Plant Anatomy, Primary Tissues
Week 2: Anatomy of Woody Plants

Jessica Savage (The Arnold Arboretum)
Missy Holbrook (Harvard University)
Erika Edwards (Brown University)
Lorna Gibson (MIT)

Typical course format and schedule for weekdays:
9:00–10:15am - Lecture I
10:15–10:30am - Coffee break
10:30–11:45am - Discussion of assigned primary literature
11:45am–1:00pm - Lunch
1:00–2:15pm - Lecture II
2:15–2:30pm - Coffee break
2:30–5:30pm - Laboratory
5:30–7:00pm - Dinner
7:00–8:00pm - Special evening guest lecture

Saturday and Sunday will involve tours of the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum and opportunities to explore the Boston area.

APPLICATION INFORMATION: Applications from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers must be received by March 31, 2015 at 11:30 pm. Undergraduates in their final year of study, who have been admitted to a graduate or professional program for the fall of 2015, may also apply. Twelve participants will be chosen to attend. Funding for travel, accommodations, and meals will be provided by the microMORPH RCN and the Arnold Arboretum. Non-US participants are welcome!

HOW TO APPLY: Applications are closed! Applications have been reviewed, and all applicants with fully submitted applications have been notified of their status. (last updated April 29th, 2015)

The following information/materials are required for application:

  1. Contact information
  2. Academic information
  3. Essay
  4. Contact information (name and email address) for two referees. As part of the online submission, you must send a request to the referee to submit a letter of recommendation. The referee will be automatically emailed with a link to an online submission form where they will upload a letter of recommendation. The referee must upload their letter of recommendation via the link by March 31st.

Essay Instructions
In a total of 1000 words or fewer, please tell us:

  1. Why you want to participate in the "Plant Anatomy: Development, Function, and Evolution" course?
  2. What are your scientific interests?
  3. While no experience is required, please describe your background in plant biology.

For additional information, contact Becky Povilus at (

See also: Past Course