Scientists use the X-rays of CHESS to study their plant materials. 

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PALSA Conference: Unleashing Agricultural Research Potential at CHESS

The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is set to host the Pan American Light Sources for Agriculture conference (PALSA) July 11-14. The event will showcase cutting-edge research in fields such as agriculture, food science, and biology at light sources like CHESS by scientists from around the world. A workshop on day one of the meeting, July 11th, is specifically aimed at those unfamiliar with synchrotron technology to provide context for the meeting and equip attendees to imagine making use of these techniques to advance their research.

The PALSA conference is designed to introduce researchers to the immense potential of synchrotron radiation for agricultural studies. Synchrotron-based techniques offer unique  insights into the composition, chemistry and morphology of living things from the sub-cellular to whole organism scales, leading to new avenues of research and development in plant sciences, soil analysis, food sciences, and more.

CHESS forms a unique part of North America's advanced research infrastructure, boasting cutting-edge instrumentation, expert support, and critical initiatives in areas ranging from autonomous experimentation to data democratization to industrial engagement. PALSA attendees will convene on the Cornell campus, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and networking.

PALSA brings together a distinguished panel of synchrotron agriculture research experts to cover themes ranging from “Grand challenges in agriculture,” to “Focus on food: security, toxicity, and sustainability.” These speakers are at the forefront of their respective fields, with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Participants will engage in thought-provoking discussions as they delve into the latest advancements and breakthroughs in agricultural research. 

Invited speakers from Cornell University include:

  • Alireza Abbaspourrad  - Youngkeun Joh Associate Professor of Food Chemistry and Ingredient Technology, Food Science
  • Rebecca Nelson - Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
  • Olena Vatamaniuk - Professor of Plant Biology, School of Integrative Plant Science

For a full list of speakers, please check out the PALSA website.

PALSA prioritizes inclusivity, particularly for those new to synchrotron technology. The conference workshop and tutorials on July 11 will provide attendees with an overview of techniques people will see in the main meeting. Throughout the meeting, attendees will have opportunities to interact with x-ray technique experts from around the world who share interests in agriculture and food science research, providing invaluable insights into the practical applications of synchrotron techniques. With this knowledge, and bolstered by a global synchrotron network, attendees can integrate these techniques into their projects, propelling their research forward with newfound confidence and precision.

PALSA provides a coveted platform for researchers to showcase their cutting-edge findings. Attendees are encouraged to submit abstracts for poster presentations, offering an opportunity to share their work with a knowledgeable and engaged audience. Presenters have the chance to captivate the audience with their research discoveries, methodologies, and innovative approaches.

To truly grasp the possibilities of synchrotron techniques in agricultural research, PALSA offers exclusive guided tours of the renowned CHESS facilities, Stocking Hall, and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Register for PALSA and enhance your research capabilities and join the forefront of agricultural innovation. Register for the Pan American Light Sources for Agriculture conference today by visiting the PALSA website at

Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability graciously provided support for the PALSA conference and workshop.

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