Keynote Speaker for Plant Science Conference - Usha Palaniswamy

Title: Approaches to Curing Plant Blindness in Communities.

Usha Palaniswamy

Maria College, Albany, USA

Biography

Dr. Usha Palaniswamy holds a PhD in Plant Science (University of Connecticut, USA), MBA (Webster University, USA) and MEd in educational administration (M.K. University, India). Her academic career includes positions as Faculty of Allied Health and Asian American Studies, and in academic higher administration as the dean and associate dean. She served as a Project Manager at the World Vegetable Center in Taiwan and implemented school gardens in six countries in Asia and Africa. She is a recipient of several teaching, research and volunteer service awards. She is a Technical Advisory Committee member of Prem Nath Agricultural Science Foundation (PNASF) and serves on the PhD Board of Examiners of several Universities in India. She has authored four books and published over 55 research articles and several book chapters and review articles. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants (Taylor and Francis, USA)

Abstract

“Plant blindness” among the young and the old is a major concern in many communities. Plants are critical to the future of the planet, however absent from the minds of most people. This poses a challenge to the entire field of plant sciences. The benefits of plants are many spread across all human experiences and the role of plant foods in the daily diet and in biomedicine has enhanced overtime. The elevated status of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet is a major focus in finding a solution to nutrition security, human health promotion and disease prevention. Edible plant vaccines have been developed for oral administration against many allergies.  New uses of plants include as tools in biomedical engineering such as the use of spinach leaf vascular network as a biomaterial for heart tissue regeneration and the possibility of using wood to help fix human bones. Plants are tapped into as “energy crops” the can be used to produce renewable biofuels that are cleaner than fossil fuels, releasing fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases. This presentation will explore ways of how plant blindness is currently being addressed in the US and in other parts of the world at the community and national levels with specific examples from Indonesia. Age and community-specific plant education to cure plant blindness in local communities is discussed in greater detail.