Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Australia
Talk title: Adapting agriculture to climate change: Insights from plant genomics
Professor Robert Henry conducts research on the development of new products from plants. His research targets improved understanding of the molecular basis of the quality of products produced from plants and genome analysis to capture novel genetic resources for diversification of food and energy crops. He is Professor of Innovation in Agriculture and Foundation Director of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, an Institute of the University of Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Government.
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He was previously Director of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics at Southern Cross University and Research Program Leader in the Queensland Agricultural Biotechnology Centre. He has been involved in establishing several Cooperative Research Centres in Australia and has contributed to the management of research funding by Rural Research and Development Corporations in Australia. He is a graduate of the University of Queensland (B Sc (Hons)), Macquarie University (M Sc (Hons)) and La Trobe University (Ph D). He was awarded a higher doctorate (D Sc) by the University of Queensland for his work on variation in plants, is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, recipient of the Guthrie Medal for his contributions to cereal chemistry and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
University of Florida, USA
Talk title: Impact and adaptation of cropping systems to climate change
Dr. Asseng is a professor at the University of Florida and develops mathematical modeling and computer simulation of agricultural and biological systems related to climate variability, climate change and sustainability.
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He is a co-leader of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project; AgMIP, http://www.agmip.org/) and AgMIP-Wheat. He is the elected Chair of the Program on Wheat Plant and Crop Modeling of the international Wheat Initiative (http://www.wheatinitiative.org/). Dr. Asseng has authored or co-authored over 240 peer-reviewed articles on crop model improvements and applications in managing climate variability, climate change impact and adaptation and cropping sustainability.
Sinda Ben Mariem
Agrobiotecnology Institute, Spain
Talk title: Changes in wheat grain quality during the last 170 years on the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment
Sinda BEN MARIEM is currently a third-year PhD candidate at the Public University of Navarra (UPNA, Spain).
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Her doctoral research is executed at the Agrobiotechnology Institute (Superior Council for Scientific Research-CSIC) in Pamplona (IdAB-CSIC, Spain), investigating new breeding criteria applied to durum wheat lines within a climate change context, focused on the characterization of the processes involved in the assimilation and remobilization of nutrients. She holds a master´s degree in Plant Breeding from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (One of the four Institutes of the International Center for Advanced Agronomic Mediterranean Studies, CIHEAM) (IAMZ-CIHEAM, Spain), and she got her agricultural engineering degree from the Agronomic Higher Institute of Chott-Mariem (ISA-CM, Tunisia).
CIRAD, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, France
Talk title: Stress adaptation, memory, plasticity: Strategic thoughts on improving crops’ coping ability
A plant physiologist by training (Ph.D. Hamburg, 1985; Habilitation Montpellier, 2003), Michael’s research career is dedicated to understanding and improving the adaptation and yield potential of tropical crops (rice, sorghum and some tree crops).
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Based at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines) in 1983-1990, he developed the ideotype concept subsequently known as New Plant Type (NPT) and in 2011-2016 led the GRiSP Global Rice Phenotyping Network. Based in AfricaRice (formerly WARDA) in Senegal and Ivory Coast (1991-1998) as systems analyst and Program Leader, he shaped the concept for the NERICA interspecific rices. Working at CIRAD (Montpellier, France) since 1998, Michael has headed several research units, integrating crop physiology, modeling, breeding research and genotype-phenotype association approaches; and developing the SARRAH, SAMARA, EcoMeristem and EcoPalm models. His recent research focused on understanding and predicting phenotypic plasticity and adaptability, notably with regards to climatic factors and abiotic stresses.
International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation, USA
Talk title: Use of system performance metrics to improve the efficiency of the food chain
Dr. Dave Gustafson is an independent scientist who uses modeling to help food systems meet human nutrition needs in more sustainable ways.
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His academic training was in chemical engineering (Stanford, B.S., 1980; University of Washington, Ph.D., 1983). He worked 30 years in private industry (Shell, Rhône-Poulenc, Monsanto), and then served at the ILSI Research Foundation as Director of the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security (CIMSANS) through 2016. Dave’s early career focused on predicting agricultural impacts on water quality. He subsequently developed new modeling approaches to pollen-mediated gene flow and the population genetics of insect and weed resistance. Beginning in 2007, Dave began leading efforts to understand climate adaptation and mitigation imperatives in the global agri-food system. He has served on various national and international teams looking at this issue, including the Executive Secretariat of the US Government’s National Climate Assessment Development & Advisory Committee (2011-2014).
European Commission Joint Research Centre, Spain
Talk title: Adoption of cover crops for climate change mitigation in Europe - new insights from farm surveys
Jonas Kathage did his doctoral thesis on the impact and adoption of proprietary seed technologies in developing countries, including empirical work on genetically modified cotton in India and hybrid maize in Tanzania.
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He was a consultant for the OECD on seed markets and certification before becoming a research fellow at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. At the JRC, he has worked on socio-economic aspects of different agricultural technologies including genetically modified crops and pesticides, and on farming practices related to climate change mitigation. He holds degrees from the University of Hohenheim, the University of California-Davis and the University of Göttingen.
The University of Adelaide, Australia
Talk title: The science, politics and challenges of improving wheat productivity under variable climates
Peter is Emeritus Professor at the University of Adelaide and Honorary Professor at the Kazakh National Agrarian University. Peter established and was CEO of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) from 2002 to 2014.
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He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). He currently chairs the Scientific Board of the Wheat Initiative, which is based in Berlin, Germany. The G20 group of countries established the Wheat Initiative to provide a global coordination mechanism for wheat research. Peter is also Director of Pastoral Genomics, a New Zealand public-private partnership that applies innovative technologies to pasture improvement and he serves on scientific advisory boards of several research organisations in Europe and North America.
Peter’s interests have focused on the role of modern technologies in crop improvement with a particular focus on the importance of science and education in helping to improve food security.
Colorado State University, USA
Talk title: Pieces of the phytobiome: Environmental influences on plant health
Jan Leach is a plant pathologist whose research focus is to understand the molecular mechanisms of plant disease susceptibility and resistance.
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Leach also studies how climate changes impact plant disease caused by microbial pathogens, primarily studying rice and interactions with bacterial pathogens, and how the Russian wheat aphid microbiome influences the insects’ aggressiveness to plants. Leach is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, and she also serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture.
Leach is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Leach is a past President of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, and recently became President of the International Society of Plant Pathology. In 2016, Leach was named Non-Resident Fellow in the Plant Biology Division of the Noble Foundation. She serves as a member of the Oversight Committee for RICE, a global rice research partnership. For more than 16 years, Leach served on the APS Public Policy Board, where she co-led advocacy for the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity.
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Talk title: Differential effects of CO2 elevation on the response of leaf gas exchange to soil drying in tomato and barley plants
Dr. Fulai Liu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He received his B.Sc. in Agronomy from Beijing Agricultural University (now China Agricultural University), Beijing, China in 1992, and M.Sc. in Horticultural Science from University of Hannover, Germany in 2000. In 2004, he received his Ph.D. in Agrohydrology and Bioclimatology from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (now Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen).
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His research focuses on the physiological and biochemical regulation of growth and functioning of crop plants subjected to abiotic stresses including drought, heat, cold, salinity and light. He has given much attention to the relative importance of hydraulic and chemical influences on the crop vegetative and reproductive physiology under drought/heat stresses. He has published 147 peer-reviewed publications and has edited 1 book and contributed 6 book chapters, from which he has received over 3800 citations (h index of 35 in Web of Science).
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Talk title: Oil crops for the future
Rodomiro Ortiz is Faculty (Chair) Professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
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He holds a PhD in Plant Breeding & Genetics from the Univ. Wisconsin-Madison, and worked as young researcher at UNALM (Perú) and Rutgers Univ., was scientist and director of various CGIAR Consortium Centers, and held a Nordic professorship on plant genetic resources at the then Royal Veterinary and Agricultural Univ. He has written > 800 reports, of which about 50% are journal articles or edited book chapters with h-index of 47. The CGIAR awarded to IITA the prestigious 1994 King Baudouin Award for the multidisciplinary research of the team working in plantain and banana improvement, in which he was program leader. In 2012, Plant Breeding Reviews dedicated him its vol. 36. He is member of CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA
Talk title: Climate change and uncertainty in future agricultural systems – AgMIP frameworks and integrated applications
Dr. Alex Ruane is a NASA Research Scientist focusing on the impacts of extreme events and climate change on agriculture and food security. As a civil servant in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Climate Impacts Group in New York, Alex uses NASA Earth observations and models to understand how current and future climate will affect society and the natural resources we care about.
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He earned a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Climate Science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Alex is Science Coordinator and head of the Climate Team for the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), an international effort involving more than 1000 experts in the agricultural modeling community (now in its ninth year). In this role he leads efforts to systematically develop, link, and apply climate, crop, livestock, economics, nutrition, and food security models for consistent assessment and intercomparison of climate impacts on the agricultural sector. A major element of his AgMIP research is coordinating regional and global integrated assessment combining multiple models, methods, scales, and disciplines. He led the first Coordinated Global and Regional Assessment (CGRA) within AgMIP to examine the implications of +1.5 and +2.0 ºC global warming on local and global food systems, which also enabled an examination of uncertainty from disciplines, models, and scenarios as the future is shaped by environmental, socioeconomic, technological, and political pressures. He also helps lead multiple efforts within AgMIP to determine core responses of diverse agricultural systems to changes in carbon, temperature, water, and nitrogen, as well as to determine hazard thresholds that are likely to lead to food shocks with repercussions ranging through supply chains, markets, and nutritional outcomes. Recent work includes preliminary work on agricultural forecasting that integrates weather/climate models and satellite observations into crop models.
Dr. Ruane is contributing to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6), serving as Coordinating Lead Author for Working Group 1 Chapter 12: ‘Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment’.
He is also a member of the Expert Group for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk (UNISDR) Global Risk Assessment Framework, and on the Steering Committee for the Analysis, Integration, and Modelling of the Earth System (AIMES) project at FutureEarth. He founded and co-Chairs the Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation, and Climate Services (VIACS) Advisory Board for the sixth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), which forms a bridge between the climate modeling community and the diverse communities undertaking climate applications. In each of these areas he works to bring cutting-edge information into applications for agriculture and other impacts communities, but also utilizes the applications lens to provide feedback on priority areas for ESM evaluation and development.
International Livestock Research Institute, UK
Talk title: Transforming agri-food systems in lower- and middle-income countries to meet the SDGs
Philip Thornton leads the “Priorities and Policies for Climate-Smart Agriculture” Flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
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He is hosted at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is a Principal Scientist. He holds honorary positions with the University of Edinburgh and with CSIRO, Australia. His work includes integrated modelling at different scales, evaluating climate change impacts, and assessing and prioritizing adaptation options and policy support in smallholder farming systems. He received degrees from Reading University in the UK and Lincoln College in New Zealand. He has over thirty-five years’ experience in agricultural research for development in many countries throughout the tropics and subtropics, particularly in Africa and Latin America. He is a WGII Lead Author for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.