Summer Course 2017

Plant Anatomy: Development, Function, and Evolution

July 30th – Aug 12th, 2017
(Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Boston, MA)

Applications are closed. We anticipate announcing application status by the first week of May. (last updated 4/17/17)

This two-week short course will be taught by experts from around the world as an intense 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.

Downloads + More Info

1) Download a poster for the summer course. Feel free to print and distribute!

2)  Want to know what it's like to participate in a microMORPH & Arnold Arboretum summer course? Read about about the experience of Smiti Nathan, a microMORPH alumna, on her blog!

"The course enabled us to learn plant and wood anatomy from leading experts in both fields, while building a great network. [...] We were taught wood anatomy by the people who wrote the book on it!"
- Smiti Nathan, participant in the 2015 summer course

[course images]


Course Instructors

Pieter Baas 
(Naturalis Biodiversity Center)

Pamela Diggle 
(University of Connecticut)

William (Ned) Friedman 
(Harvard University)

Peter Gasson 
(Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

Cynthia Jones 
(University of Connecticut)

Elisabeth Wheeler 
(North Carolina State University)

Course Topics

Week 1: Basics of Plant Anatomy

  • Anatomy of the primary plant body
  • Anatomy throughout plant development
  • Evolutionary trends in plant anatomy

Week 2: Anatomy of Woody Plants

  • Anatomy of secondary growth
  • Diversity of wood anatomy
Typical Daily Schedule

9:00–10:15am: Lecture I

10:30–11:45am: Discussion or  presentations

11:45am–1:00pm: Lunch

1:00–2:15pm: Lecture II

2:30–5:30pm: Laboratory session, arboretum tours

5:30–7:00pm: Dinner

7:00-8:00pm (Tuesdays & Thrusdays): Evening guest lectures



Applications are closed. We anticipate announcing application status by the first week of May. (last updated 4/17/17)

Applications from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers must be received by April 15th 2017 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 2017, 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 citizens are welcome to apply. No course credits will be granted upon completion of this summer course.


ELIGIBILITY: microMORPH summer short courses are open to postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates in their final year of study (who have been admitted to a graduate or professional program for the fall of 2017).

Non-US-citizens are welcome to apply. Please note that if you are not a United States citizen, you are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa to travel to the United States to attend the course.


TRAVEL ASSISTANCE AND LODGING FOR PARTICIPANTS: Lodging and week-day meals will be provided for all course participants. All participants are eligible to receive up to $500 (domestic travel) or $700 (international travel) USD of funds to help pay for travel to/from the course.



Applications must be submitted by 11:30 pm April 15th, 2017.



Applications can be submitted online though the “Submit Applications” box on the left of this page, or by clicking Here to Submit.

The application process is hosted by the Arnold Arboretum, and you will have a register an account in order to apply. There are a few steps you will need to complete:

1) Please click the Submission link and follow the instructions to register for an account.

2) Search for grant listings for the "Summer Course 2017 - Plant Anatomy" .

3) Click "Apply" or "Add to Cart". (if you use "Add to Cart", the listing will now show up when you click on the "My Interest Cart" tab).

4) Follow application instructions. The application includes a way for you to send referee letter requests (submission instructions will be sent to your referees). Be sure to click "Final Review and Submit" when you are ready to submit!



1) Contact information

2) Academic information

3) Essay: In a total of 1000 words or fewer, please tell us:
    A) Why you want to participate in the course?
    B) What are your scientific interests?
    C) While no experience is required, please describe your background in plant biology.

4) Contact information (name and email address) for two referees. As part of the online submission, you will be asked to send a request to the referees to submit a letter of recommendation. Each referee will be automatically emailed with a link to an online submission form where they can upload a letter of recommendation. Both referees must upload their letter of recommendation via the link by April 15th at 11:30 pm.



Two members of the microMORPH steering committee and a third individual from outside the steering committee, chosen by the steering committee, are charged with evaluating applications. Only 100% completed applications will be reviewed.

We anticipate announcing application status by mid-May.



This course is co-sponsored by microMORPH (an NSF-sponsored Research Coordination Network) and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.



Please contact Jess at



See also: Upcoming Course