Scholarships for PUI faculty for Maize Genome Annotation Jamborees 2019

Scholarships for PUI faculty to develop student projects to improve the maize reference genome


before Plant and Animal Genome Conference (San Diego, CA; January 10-11, 2019)


before Plant Biology Meeting (San Jose, CA; August 2-3, 2019)


Maize is the most important crop in the world. Its genome sequence is the foundation resource for improving yield and adapting maize to environmental and biological challenges. Even though the fourth-generation maize genome assembly is supported by abundant RNA-based evidence, many gene models still need to be examined and corrected by a human being – that is, hand annotated! The NSF-funded MaizeCODE and Gramene projects have developed a system to identify genes in need of curation. Our objective is to train faculty to use simple genome annotation tools and to lead maize annotation projects as course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). In this way, students can contribute to the improvement of the maize genome. At the same time, gene annotation is the best way for students to learn about gene and genome structure and function.


We invite you to apply to participate in one of our maize 2019 genome annotation jamborees held in conjunction with major scientific meetings.  At the workshop you will work in teams to learn how to annotate a set of target genes. Then you will return to your institution with a list of genes to annotate with students. Twice-monthly webinars will provide support, allow students to share results, and seek consensus on difficult gene models.  Reagents will be provided for students to amplify target genes from available c-DNA libraries, then develop sequence to validate difficult gene models.


Candidates should be PUI faculty with sincere desire to involve students in authentic research projects and to contribute to the improvement of the maize reference genome. Basic bioinformatics skills, familiarity with genome annotation and databases (such as Gramene and MaizeGDB), or in-depth knowledge of maize biology is desirable. Scholarships of up to $1,000 are available toward travel, room, and board. Each Jamboree will take place prior to a major scientific meeting. You are encouraged to attend or present at the coordinating scientific meeting, which may also improve chances of obtaining support from your own institution. Follow this link to apply.


Space is limited to 10 participants per Jamboree, and applications will be reviewed as received.  Although meeting attendance is optional, candidates who plan to attend PAG will be notified of decisions before the deadlines for abstract submission (October 26) and early registration (November 2). 


We look forward to seeing you in San Diego or San Jose!


Doreen Ware, Ph.D

Marcela Karey Tello-Ruiz, Ph.D. []

Dave Micklos, D.Sc.

Cristina Fernandez-Marco, Ph.D. []