Nancy Forsthoefel, research associate and adjunct instructor of biology, and Dan Vernon, professor of biology, recently returned from Vienna, Austria, where they each gave presentations at the 23rd International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR). ICAR is an annual meeting of more than 800 plan biologists who work on Arabidopsis, a small weed that serves as the main model species for plant genome research worldwide. Both presentations focused on Arabidopsis PIRL genes, a family of genes discovered in the Vernon/Forsthoefel lab at Whitman. Forsthoefel’s featured her work with genetically modified plants expressing altered versions of the PIRL9 gene, and Vernon’s focused on three PIRL genes that function in the formation of pollen. Recent graduates Carrie Reinhart ’11 (Biology) and Lauren Brougham ’12 (Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology) were coauthors on Vernon’s presentation.