Visit to Belgium

An update from Dave, who has spent the last week in Belgium, and it has been already a most satisfying visit…

First I spent the day (last Monday) at the Africa museum in Tervuren with Prof Hans Beeckman and Melissa Rousseau.  The xylarium is an impressive collection: 100 years in the making!  It was good to get a feel for the way they’re preparing wood sections for microscopic analysis.  I came away with a very good feel for the best solutions for our lab.  And lunch in the truly magnificent park adjoining the grounds of the museum was great.

Since then I’ve been at the University of Ghent, with Prof Jan Van den Bulkke and Prof Joris Van Acker at the Wood Lab, and Prof Kathy Steppe and her team of post-docs and students at the Laboratory of Plant Ecology.  Jan’s DendroChronomics work and his use of the CT-scanning facilities at U Ghent is an excellent example of really using technology to the limit in xylem research.  Kathy is also doing wide-ranging research using modern sensing technologies to measure just about everything you can measure on a tree, and linking this to a powerful, and elegant modelling system.  The approaches she and her team are taking is most useful for thinking about ways to move forward with our EucXylo research, and I’m sure will mean many opportunities for collaboration.  I’m also excited about possibly becoming part of TreeWatch!

Next week, I’ll be giving a presentation at the Faculty of Biosciences at U Ghent: “Towards integrated models of wood formation in eucalypts”.  I hope I can stimulate some useful discussion!  I’ll post it on this website when it’s done! 🙂

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