Rhododendron Research Network

Newsletter - July 2, 2018
In this issue:
  • Job Opportunity
    • Director of the David G Leach Research Station
  • Rhodo-Research.net Resources
    • New search tool for hybrid pedigrees
  • Student Research Highlight
    • Exploring the role of soil microbes in disease resistance    by Yu liu
  • Get Involved in our Growing Network
    • Submit your newsletter items
    • Learn more about the Rhododendron Research Network
  • Network Governance
    • 2018 Steering Committee Appointments
Job opportunity

Holden Forests & Gardens 
Director of the David G Leach Research Station

The David G Leach Research Station is a 30-acre facility that contains extensive field and display collections of rhododendron and other plants established by David G Leach, an internationally known breeder of rhododendron cultivars, and operated by Holden since 1986.
The Director will establish an internationally recognized research program in plant breeding with a primary focus especially in the area of genetics, including but not limited to investigations into the pathology, entomology, physiology, propagation and nutrition of rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants. Primary responsibilities will include commercial introduction of rhododendron cultivars, management of staff and infrastructure in support of the Station, publication in scientific journals, presentations at scientific meetings, write proposals for extramural funding, and potentially serve as an academic advisor to graduate students at affiliated institutions. The director may participate in the activities of an academic department, including curriculum development and teaching a graduate-level course in his/her field. In addition, the director will collaborate with appropriate Holden programs such as education, horticulture and conservation. The director is also expected to be a spokesperson to diverse public and professional audiences regarding research and plant breeding activities. More Information about Holden Forests & Gardens and the Research Department can be found here  http://www.holdenarb.org/

Interested applicants should have a PhD in biology, genetics, horticulture or related discipline, reviewing applications will begin on August 15, 2018. Apply online at
Questions? Contact Dr. David Burke, Chief Program Officer for Science, Horticulture and Conservation (mailto:mtopa@holdenarb.org). Holden Forests and Gardens is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Rhodo-Research.net Resources
Search tool grants easy access to valuable hybrid pedigrees

R-RN member Dr. Robert Weissman has developed a useful on-line tool that enables hybrid pedigrees to be searched for species or parents in a specified generation. This fabulous resource can aid experimental design and increase the speed of discovery in Rhododendron genetics.
The searchable plant database has 1150 different rhododendron hybrids, that generally are available in the trade.  The database includes rhododendrons with a wide range of plant morphologies.  The parentage information that the search tool provides can be of great value in the design of research experiments.
The hybrid pedigree search tool can be accessed at the Rhododendron Research Network web site at: http://www.rhodo-research.net/pedigree-search.htm.

Hybrid pedigree information has many useful research applications. Comparing the phenotype of parents with that of offspring can be used to determine which genes are responsible for a trait, and to discover the genetic mechanisms of inheritance (e.g. transmission distortion, gene dominance and dosage effects). Genome-wide association studies, which involve scanning whole genomes for candidate genes, can also incorporate pedigrees, allowing a more targeted approach to increase the speed of discovery.

Pedigrees themselves can be used as data. For example, pedigrees can be used to build a recombination map, which reveals the relative influence of genetic linkages versus independent assortment, and has important consequences for inheritance. This information can also be used to discern the location and order of genes on the chromosomes.

Student Research Highlight

by Yu liu

Case Western Reserve University
Pictured (L-R): Nick Schlosser, Alexis Balog,
Dr. Jean Burns, Evan Fritzke, and Yu liu
Exploring the role of soil microbes in disease resistance to the devastating pathogen root rot in Rhododendron

We are conducting a greenhouse experiment funded by the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) at Holden Arboretum. Our goal is to determine how the traits of genus Rhododendron plants affect resistance to root rot disease — Phytophthora cinnamomi. Moreover, we hope to determine whether soil microbes can improve Rhododendron resistance to root rot. Our 3-year project is led by Dr. Jean H. Burns from Case Western Reserve University and Holden Scientist, Dr. Juliana S. Medeiros. With the help of Dr. Stephen L. Krebs from David G. Leach Research Station, we pollinated Rhododendron species and successfully collected the seeds from 14 species in the summer of 2017. We then planted those seeds in the Ellen Corning Long and T. Dixon Long Center for Plant and Environmental Science greenhouse at Holden Arboretum. This summer, we are joined by Evan Fritzke and Alexis Balog, undergraduates at Case Western Reserve University, who are assisting us with transplanting plants, collecting rhizosphere soil and administering the experimental treatments—for example, the culture and inoculation of root rot. We are also being assisted by Nick Schlosser, an undergraduate part-time volunteer from Ohio State University. This ongoing project is a collaboration between Case Western Reserve University and Holden Forests and Gardens, which utilizes the expertise and extensive Rhododendron collection at Holden Arboretum.

Get Involved in our Growing Network
Explore the many ways that our network can advance and inspire your research and collaborations on Rhododendron
Submit Your Newsletter Items

This Newsletter of the R-RN will be published twice per year, in January and July. We would love to have news of your job opportunities, grants, student research highlights, collaborative projects, publications, or any announcements related to Rhododendron research. Please send news items, at least 4 weeks prior to publication, to: Juliana Medeiros, jmedeiros@holdenarb.org
Learn more about the Rhododendron Research Network

A collaboration between the American Rhododendron Society and an international group of Rhododendron researchers working to:
   1. Promote Rhododendron as a study system in plant physiology, pathology, ecology, evolutionary biology, plant breeding, genetics, horticultural sciences, conservation biology, ethnobotany, and medicinal chemistry.

   2. Promote the ARS and associated botanical gardens as a resource for Rhododendron research and public engagement, and foster participation and membership of scientists in the American Rhododendron Society.

   3. Create opportunities for communication and collaboration within the international community of Rhododendron researchers, and between scientists and ARS members.
Click here to learn more about Rhododendron Research Network
Click here to learn more about American Rhododendron Society

Network Governance
A steering committee has been formed to develop charter documents and lead initiatives for Rhodo-Research.Net
2018 Committee Appointments
Juliana Medeiros - Co-chair and Web Resource Development
Erik Nilsen - Co-chair and Collaborative Experiments
Glen Jamieson - ARS Representative
Bob Weissman - Website Technical Infrastructure
Robbie Hart - Public Gardens Representative and Citizen Science Initiatives
Jean Burns - US Scientist Representative and Funding Initiatives
Valerie Soza - Conferences and Networking

If you are interested in serving on the R-RN Steering Committee or have ideas about network governance, please contact one of the committee co-chairs.
Copyright © 2018 Rhododendron Research Network, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
c/o Dr. Juliana S. Medeiros
The Holden Arboretum
9500 Sperry Rd., Kirtland, OH 44094