Home >> Scientific Info. >> Program
​ ​
Sunday, February 1
20:30 Welcome dinner for international speakers
Monday, February 2
08:00-09:45 Registration and refreshments     

Greetings and opening remarks
  • Dr. Simon Barak, Mediator
  • Prof. Boris Zaltzman, Director, Jacob Blaustein Insts. for Desert Research
  • Prof. Sammy Boussiba, Director, French Assoc. Inst. for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands
Plenary Lecture

Jill Farrant, University of Cape Town, South Africa
A systems biology approach to understanding the mechanisms of vegetative desiccation tolerance 
11:00-11:20 Coffee break (sponsored by LemnaTec GmbH and Merkel Technologies Ltd.), KAKAL Building [13]
Session 1
Extremophile Arabidopsis relative model systems I
Chair: Simon Barak
11:20-11:25 Elizabeth Weretilnyk, McMaster University, Canada
In memory of Marilyn Griffith - an extremophile pioneer
11:25-11:50 Simon Barak, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Natural stress tolerance in extremophile relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana
Qi Xie, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
A mobile C2 domain protein from Thellungiella salsuginea enhances salt tolerance
Ute Kraemer, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Metal hyperaccumulation in Arabidopsis halleri
12:40-13:05 Marcus Jansen, LemnaTec GmbH, Germany
Non-invasive phenotyping technology enables detecting and quantifying responses to abiotic stress
13:00-14:35 Lunch and commercial booths, KAKAL Building [13]
Session 2
Extremophile Arabidopsis relative model systems II
Chair: Dirk Hincha
Amir Eppel, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
The unique photochemistry of the annual desert plant Anastatica hierochuntica
15:05-15:30 Ismail TurkanEge University, Turkey 
Chloroplastic alternative electron sinks and antioxidant defence of the extremophile Eutrema parvulum (Thellungiella parvula) under salinity
15:30-15:55 Yana Kazachkova, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Mechanisms of salt-mediated delay in 
Thellungiella (Eutremasalsuginea seed germination
15:55-16:20 Arie Altman, Hebrew University, Israel
Are extremophile model plants practically relevant? The Populus euphratica case: physiological, molecular and practical considerations
16:20-18:00 Coffee break, poster session, commercial booths, KAKAL Building [13]
18:00 Dinner (French Assoc. Inst for Agriculture and Biotechnolog of Drylands Building [25)
19:15-19:45 Paula Kabalo, Guest speaker, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
One leader and a million Prime Ministers - David Ben-Gurion and the Israeli public: dialogue and debate


Bus 1. To: Beer-Sheva, North (University) Train Station.
Bus 2. To Ramon Inn, Mitzpe Ramon

Tuesday, February 3
09:30-10:30 Tour – Midreshet Ben-Gurion
10:30-10:50 Coffee break, KAKAL Building [13]
Session 3
From the arctic to the desert to the sea....to outer space I
Chair, Gideon Grafi
German Spangenberg, La Trobe University, Australia
Xenogenomics - Gene discovery and functional genomics in an antarctic extremophile
11:15-11:40 Zvi Peleg, Hebrew University, Israel
A multipronged approach towards identifying genetic resistance to multiple abiotic stresses in Brachypodium distachyon
Shimon Rachmilevitch, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Tri-party underground symbiosis between a weevil, bacteria and a desert annual plant
Yitzchak Gutterman,  Ben-Gurion University, Israel
The importance of epigenetic changes in seeds during seed development and maturation as affected by day length and seed position, on the survival of annuals inhabiting extreme deserts
12:30-12:55 Sergey Shabala, University of Tasmania, Australia
Coping with extreme salinities: lessons from halophytes
Joseph Gale, Hebrew University, Israel
Could oxygenic photosynthesis and advanced life exist under the extreme conditions of the recently discovered extra-solar system planets”?

13:30-14:45 Lunch and commercial booths (KAKAL Building [13])
Session 4
From the arctic to the desert to the sea....to outer space II
Chair, Dorothea Bartels
14:50-15:15 Philip Mullineaux, University of Essex,UK
C3 photosynthesis in the desert species Rhazya stricta under extremes of heat, high light and low humidity: How does it do it?
15:15-15:40 Dana Charuvi, Weizmann Institute, Israel
Photoprotection during dehydration of the resurrection plant Craterostigma pumilum
15:40-16:05 Gideon Grafi, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Reduced epigenetic constraints in Zygophyllaceae species
16:05-16:30 Gidon Winters, Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Israel
Effects of a simulated heat wave on photophysiology and gene expression of high- and low-latitude populations of seagrasses (Zostera marina)
16:30-16:50 Coffee break (sponsored by Tivan-Biotech), KAKAL Building [13]
Assylay Kurmanbayeva, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Sulftate metabolism in Salicornia and Sarcocornia
Lital Davidi, Weizman Institute of Science, Israel
Origin and composition of two types of lipid globules in Dunaliella bardawil
Oded Beja, Technion, Israel
Viral photosynthesis
18:05-18:30 Nir Keren, Hebrew University, Israel
An easily reversible structural change underlies the protection mechanism enabling a desert crust cyanobacterium to survive desiccation
18:30-20:20 Dinner and jazz band, French Assoc. Inst for Agriculture and Biotechnolog of Drylands Building [25]


Bus 1. To: Beer-Sheva, North (University) Train Station.
Bus 2. To Ramon Inn, Mitzpe Ramon

Wednesday, February 4
08:30 Sightseeing excursion – Dead Sea/Masada
18:30 Banquet dinner
Thursday, February 5
Session 5
Exploring “ExtremOmes”
Chair, Elizabeth Weretilnyk
Maheshi Dassanayake, Louisiana State University, USA
Niche adaptations of plants: Insights from extremophile genomics
Gil Eshel, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Anastatica hierochuntica transcriptome – a preliminary overview

Dorothea Bartels, University of Bonn, Germany
Comparative transcriptomics to identify key features of desiccation tolerance in resurrection plants
10:45-11:10 Mel Oliver,USDA-ARS-MWA-PGRU, University of Missouri, USA
Combining phylogenetic comparisons with “omics” to uncover adaptive aspects of the response to desiccation in the resurrection grass Sporobolus stapfianus
Coffee break (sponsored by We Prove Solutions), KAKAL Building [13]
11:30-11:55 David Toubiana, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Correlation-based network analysis to decipher the seasonal rhythm-associated metabolic changes in Schismus arabicus
Dirk Hincha, Max Planck Institute, Germany
Natural variation in salt and freezing tolerance of Arabidopsis and Thellungiella
Elizabeth Weretilnyk, McMaster University, Canada
An extreme lifestyle-for plants revealed through transcriptomes of Eutrema salsugineum
12:45-13:10 Mark Humble, We Prove Solutions, Netherlands
NextGen digital phenotyping: fresh approaches for exploring plant stress responses
13:10-14:20 Lunch and commercial booths (KAKAL Building [13])
Session 6
Exploiting extremophile plants for agriculture
Chair: Maheshi Dassanayake

John Cheeseman, University of Illinois, USA
Exploiting plants from extreme environments: a race against population growth and climate changes

Aviah Zilberstein, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Towards harnessing evolutionary biodiversity of Tamarix (salt cedar) to generate desert forests as a source for renewable energy

Sammy Boussiba, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Unbalanced growth conditions regulate the production of secondary metabolites in microalgae 
15:40-16:00 Coffee break (sponsored by Agrisera Antibodies), KAKAL Building [13]
16:00-16:25 Menachem Moshelion, Hebrew University, Israel
Risk-taking plants: Anisohydric behavior as a stress-resilience trait
Rivki Ofir, Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Israel
Desert plants as a source of compounds with anti-cancer activity
16:50-17:00 Closing remarks
17:30  Bus to Beer-Sheva North (University) Train Station and the to Tel Aviv (Savidor) Train Station and Hotels.
Haematococcus pluvialis
Ixiolirion tataricum
Helianthemum vesicarium

Diplotaxis acris

Lotus creticus
Avicennia marina
Deschampsia antarctica
Puya raimondi
En Avdat
En Avdat
Arabidopsis halleri
French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands  |  ​The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev  |  Sede Boqer Campus, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, 8499000, Israel.
Phone:  (972) 8-6596750 ; (972) 8-6596997 Mobile: (972) 52 - 2764686

simon@bgu.ac.il   |   ruthal@bgu.ac.il