Featured Speakers

 Plenary Speaker

Colin Khoury

Colin Khoury is the Senior Director of Science and Conservation at the San Diego Botanic Garden, a 37-acre garden in Encinitas, California, working to conserve plants and educate people about the wonders of plant life. Colin holds a Ph.D. from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a Master of Science from the University of Birmingham, UK, and has held posts at academic, nonprofit, industry, government, and international organizations in the US, Europe, and South America.

BSA Emerging Leader 

 Joyce Gloria Onyenedum

Joyce is an Assistant Professor & the Principal Investigator of the Onyenedum Lab at New York University. The fundamental question driving her research is: “How do plants climb?”. To address this complex question, she leverages tools and techniques from classical anatomy and morphology, molecular systematics, statistical phylogenetic comparative methods, developmental biology, and cell wall biology.  This integrative approach allows her to link macroevolutionary patterns to fine-scale mechanistic processes, thus uncovering the evolution of development (evo-devo) of climbing plants.

Major projects in the Onyenedum Lab include understanding the evolution of the development of vascular abnormalities in woody vines in a phylogenetic context, and investigating how cell wall construction, stem anatomy, and elongation growth are modulated by hormones to shape growth habit diversity in plants.

Joyce holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining NYU to launch the first biology lab in the Department of Environmental Studies, Joyce was an Assistant Professor of Plant Biology at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science.

Regional Botany Special Lecture

Kaya DeerInWater

Kaya DeerInWater is a member of the Citizen Band of Potawatomi and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Biocultural Restoration at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, New York. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Ecological Restoration and Management. During his time at Davis, he worked as a research assistant in labs whose work ranged from hydrochours seed dispersal of riparian species to post-fire regeneration and from chemical plant defenses to behavior of arthropod herbivores. He currently works as the Intertribal Food System Coordinator for the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Coalition. His interests center around how Indigenous knowledge contributes to resilience in a changing world and hopes it can inform adaptive revitalization efforts to heal people and their connection to the land.

Distinguished Ethnobotanist Speaker

Mark Merlin

Mark Merlin, Professor of Botany at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, researches the cultural histories of human-plant interactions with special emphasis on the pan-global, traditional use of psychoactive species. He has also studied the human impact on native vegetation in tropical island ecosystems, both past and present, with a general interest in the natural history of Remote Oceania. His most important impact has been his contributions to foster environmental education and preservation of traditional ecological and ethnobotanical knowledge.

Annals of Botany Special Lecture

Kathleen Kay

How pollinator shifts drive and maintain speciation: insights from the Neotropical spiral gingers

Kathleen Kay is the Professor,  Jean H. Langenheim Chair in Plant Ecology and Evolution. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz