Your browser does not support or is disabling JavaScript.


Insights into plant biological processes through phenotyping

13 – 19 September 2015 | Ghent, Belgium

About the practical course

Phenotyping is an important part of research on plant biological processes, and is used in both forward and reverse genetic approaches to obtain fundamental insights or advance crop improvement. This EMBO Practical Course will discuss and demonstrate the multiple and diverse aspects of plant phenotyping, covering the cell to whole plant scale, and including growth-related, as well as physiological and performance-related plant traits. The practical sessions will comprise the measurement of these traits by means of simple and advanced imaging techniques and image analysis. Phenotyping systems developed for in vitro Arabidopsis growth to crops grown in field trials will be discussed, including the plant's interaction with environmental conditions in the atmosphere and soil. Common pitfalls in the setup of phenotyping systems and the analysis of phenotypic trait data will be covered. Through hands-on-experience and interactive demonstrations, the participants will obtain the required practical knowledge to perform plant phenotyping in their institutes of origin and have a concrete idea about the requirements and management of simple and advanced phenotyping platforms, in case they require developing or purchasing one themselves.

Registration deadline

1 May 2015

Selected participants will be notified by

1 June 2015

Payment deadline

1 July 2015

Apply now!

Find us

Tweet #EMBOplantphenotyping


Download poster







Registration deadline

1 May 2015

Selected participants will be notified by

1 June 2015

Payment deadline

1 July 2015


Academic Industry






Registration includes:

  • Accommodation for 6 nights
  • Meals
  • Course materials
  • Transfers between venues during the course and social events

 The registration fee does not include travel to and from the venue or extra nights of accommodation before or after the course.


Participants will be selected on the basis of their project and the involvement of plant phenotyping therein. Candidates that clearly demonstrate the need for proper plant phenotyping in their project, laboratory and institute, and that at the time of application do not have access to any resources (such as phenotyping networks) that may assist them in developing plant phenotyping activities, will be positively marked. PhD students, early-stage post-docs, and female candidates are encouraged to apply. Only complete applications will be considered.


Applicants should briefly describe their project, how their project relates to the topic of the course, how they expect to benefit from the course and what they think they can contribute to the course. Applicants should provide a brief description of their background and expertise, as well as their experience in image and data analysis.
Selected participants are asked to bring a poster and short presentation describing their project and research institute.


Poster and presentation specifications

Please bring one printed copy of your poster; A0 size, portrait format.

Please bring a short presentation (5 minutes) of your research and institute. This should be in Power Point on a USB stick or uploaded on the internet and ready for download.

Participants will share twin rooms. Participants are invited to meet and arrange the sharing of rooms on the course's Facebook page.

Travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for eligible participants. Applicants do not need to apply separately for travel grants for this event. Selection of awardees is handled directly by the organizer who will notify all eligible participants. More information is available at EMBO Travel Grants' page.



Christine Tiré

Phone: 0032 9 331 38 03








Department of Plant Systems Biology
VIB-Ghent University
Technologiepark 927
9052 Ghent


The Department of Plant Systems Biology (PSB) is located in a contemporary research building of VIB and Ghent University. It contains 15 lab units, 18 plant growth chambers, 700 m2 of greenhouse space, divided over eight compartments, and several equipment rooms for microscopy, tissue culture and molecular biology techniques. As plant phenotyping has a central role in research activities, PSB has invested in automated plant phenotyping systems for both Arabidopsis thaliana and crop model species, complemented with a dedicated database and web interface, and image analysis procedures. Phenotyping robots are located in one of the greenhouse compartments, in four of the growth chambers and in one in vitro culture room. For the course, the well-equipped auditorium will be used for lectures, whereas the practical work will take place in a lab unit, in the facilities' computer room or in seminar rooms, where appropriate. The atrium area of the building will be the gathering venue for the poster session, coffee breaks, and meals.


Department of Plant Systems Biology

Plant Phenotyping@PSB


Ghent University

About Ghent

Ghent is a bustling city with a large student population in a historic setting. The official language in Ghent is Dutch (Flemish), but most citizens also speak French, English and/or German. In the city centre, banks and exchange offices are easily found and most places accept credit cards. Cash points are open 24/7 and are located all over the city. The Belgian currency is the Euro. All prices in Belgium include VAT and service. The weather in Ghent (and Belgium in general) in September is hard to predict as it may range from a sunny 25/30 °C to a rainy 15 °C within a few days. The historic city of Bruges is less than 30 minutes away by train.



City of Ghent

City of Bruges

Belgian tourism office



Earth and Life Institute

University of Louvain-la-Neuve

Croix du Sud,2

1348 Louvain-la-Neuve



About Louvain-la-Neuve

One day of the EMBO Practical Course will be spent in the University town of Louvain-la-Neuve, an urban project initiated by the Catholic University of Louvain at the end of the sixties, following the move of the French-speaking section of the Catholic University of Louvain, originally located in Leuven. The University buildings are dispersed throughout the site to promote contact between the different users of the urban centre. Shops, businesses, administrative premises and housing are mixed together with academic buildings. The districts, mainly residential, are quickly accessible by foot.

About the Earth and Life Institute

Understanding the basic processes of the Earth & Life System at different scales and designing sustainable solutions to meet major challenges for our societies are the key objectives of the Earth and Life Institute. More than 300 scientists – bioengineers, physicists, agronomists, ecologists, geographers, microbiologists – got together to study the evolution of the agrosystems, the ecosystems, the water cycle and the climate and to develop new production methods and biotechnologies for a sustainable development.


University of Louvain-la-Neuve

City of Louvain-la-Neuve

Earth and Life Institute


Participants are accommodated in the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Ghent in twin rooms. Participants are invited to meet and arrange the sharing of rooms on the course's Facebook page.


Holiday Inn Express

Akkerhage 2

9000 Ghent




Travelling to Ghent

By public transport

From the airport to Ghent railway station

The easiest way to get from Brussels Airport, the main airport for international flights, to Ghent is to take the direct train in the airport station to Ghent. Using the National Railway journey planner, type in from 'Brussel-Nat-Luchthaven [NMBS/SNCB]' to 'Gent-Sint-Pieters [NMBS/SNCB]'.

To get to Ghent from Brussels South Charleroi Airport is slightly more complicated, mainly because of the different options:

  1. bus shuttle service from Charleroi Airport to Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station organized by Flibco.
  2. bus shuttle service from Charleroi Airport to Brussels Midi railway station. For your train journey onwards to Ghent, type in from 'BruxellesMidi / BrusselZuid [NMBS/SNCB]' to 'Gent-Sint-Pieters [NMBS/SNCB]' in the National Railway journey planner.
  3. by bus and train

From railway stations in Brussels to Ghent railway station

Brussels has three main railway stations (indicated in French / Dutch): Bruxelles-Nord / Brussel-Noord, Bruxelles-Central / Brussel-Centraal, and Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid. Any IC (InterCity) train in the direction of Oostende, Knokke, Blankenberge, Brugge and Kortrijk will call at Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station. Using the National Railway journey planner, type in from 'BruxellesXXX' to 'Gent-Sint-Pieters [NMBS/SNCB]'.

From Ghent railway station to the Holiday Inn Express hotel

  1. A taxi from Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station to the hotel costs about 8 euros.
  2. Bus line 65 (Ursel Kerk ZomergemGent Arteveldepark) calls at the Gent-Sint-Pieters bus station (next to the railway station) at platform 11 and nearby the hotel at stop 'Proeftuinstraat' (de Lijn).
  3. Tram line 4 from Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station in the direction of 'Zwijnaardebrug' calls at the University Hospital (stop 'De Pintelaan')(de Lijn). From the stop to the hotel is a 1.8 km (22 minutes) walk.



From Ghent railway station to the Department of Plant Systems Biology

  1. During morning hours (7.30-9.30) and evening hours (16.30-18.30) from Monday till Friday, a shuttle bus service runs between Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station and the Department of Plant Systems Biology. The bus serves the kiss & ride area at the opposite side of the back entrance of the railway station. Take the second stop ('Phytolab') in the Technologiepark to get to the Department building (2 minutes walk).
  2. Bus line 70 (direction Zwijnaarde), line 71 (direction Nazareth) and line 72 (direction Merelbeke) at platform 16 in the Gent-Sint-Pieters bus station (next to the railway station) pass by the Technologiepark. Take stop 'Bollebergen' (first stop after the bridge over the canal and the motorway) and cross the main road to the entrance of the Technologiepark. Continue straight ahead in the park until you reach the Department of Plant Systems Biology building at number 927 (recognizable by the large DNAstring sculpture at its entrance). Check de lijn for timetables.

From the hotel to the Department of Plant Systems Biology

A shuttle service in minibuses is organised between the hotel and the Department of Plant Systems Biology for the duration of this EMBO Practical Course. From the hotel to Louvain-la-Neuve, a bus service is organised between the hotel in Ghent and the University town of Louvain-la-Neuve on the 16th of September (1 hour, 90 km).

From the hotel to Ghent city centre

  1. At the nearest bus stop, take bus line 65 in the direction of 'Ursel Kerk' and get off at the Gent-Sint-Pieters bus station (next to the railway station). There you can take tram lines 1 (any direction opposite to Flanders Expo) and 4 (direction Moscou) into the city centre.
  2. Walk to a tram stop near the University Hospital and take line 4 in the direction of Moscou. It stops at Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station and then continues into the city centre.