Dr. Lightfoot is PhD in Genetics from the University of Leeds, UK, in 1985. He is Professor for Biotechnology and Genomics at SIUC. He has been a member of the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems at Southern Illinois University since 1991. He is cross-appointed in the Department of Plant Biology. He co-authored the RAMP request for the Center for Excellence in Soybean Research, Teaching and Outreach (now the Illinois Soybean Center) and Chaired the Research Committee. He is Head of the Genomic Science Facility at SIUC. He is an Illinois Humanities Commission Road Scholar. He won Illinois Soybean Researcher of the year twice. He served as CSSA Division C-7 Genomics, Molecular Genetics & Biotechnology, Chair from 2014-2017. He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors.
Research interests are very broad, anything showing an interesting phenomenon in Genetics. Dr Lightfoot has made exceptional contributions in three areas. First, starting in 1997 he led the team that created the first physical map of a crop plant genome. The map was only the second made for broad leaved plant species. The map was the first made for a partly diploidized polyploid genome. He integrated the map with the genetic maps and served the information to the scientific community using cutting edge web based tools at SoyGD. The website has been innovative in providing information to researcher across the world in academia and industry. The second area of exceptional contributions has come in the field of soybean genetics. Starting in 1991 Dr. Lightfoot developed a novel and inventive genetic system using immortal soybean lines (RILs and NILs) that has allowed the identification of over 100 loci of economic importance, their verification and for allows for the identification of the underlying genes. The system has helped with or resulted in the isolation of genes for disease resistance (SCN, SDS, bacterial pustule), genes underlying seed composition (KasI) and nodulation (Nark). Many more will be isolated by the distributed network of collaborators who use the system. This research has been recognized as exceptional and inventive by the issuance of 2 patents to date for which there are several licensees. The third area of excellence is particularly meritorious because it is broad in applications to all crop plants. The glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) gene technology was introduced to transgenic plants by Dr. Lightfoot. In reducing to practice he discovered new and surprising effects of the gene including biomass increase, herbicide tolerance, drought tolerance, higher nutritional value of plant parts and reduced contamination of foods by carcinogenic aflatoxins. The technology was recognized as exceptional and inventive by the issuance of 2 patents to date licensed to a major biotechnology company for commercialization purposes. Research on nutritional enhancement of maize and soybean is ongoing. Miscellaneous interest and project include; biofuels, human genetics, crop fertilization, humates, phytopharmaceuticals, plant identification and bioremediation.
Kellye Eversole is President of Eversole Associates, a science and technology consulting firm, located in Bethesda, Maryland. She received a B.A. with distinction and special honors in Political Science from The George Washington University in 1983 and pursued Masters Studies in political philosophy at Georgetown University. After working in the US Senate on agricultural, environmental, trade, and budget issues for 10 years and serving 2 years as the head of a Federal study commission, she established Eversole Associates.
Since its inception in 1991, Eversole Associates has specialized in U.S. and international science and technology and agricultural, environmental, and economic development issues and projects. Ms. Eversole assists companies and industries in establishing long-term strategic visions and designs and implements methods for accomplishing the visions. She has extensive experience in agricultural genomics and biotechnology. Eversole has led several U.S. and international animal, plant, and microbial genome sequencing projects.
Most recently, Eversole helped to develop the sequencing strategy for the swine genome sequencing project and, currently, is leading the development of a strategy to sequence extremely large, complex, polyploidy species, such as the bread wheat genome. Eversole, a long-time advocate for agricultural biotechnology as a mechanism for enabling agricultural prosperity, serves as the Executive Director of the Specialty Crop Regulatory Assistance initiative. Eversole has been involved actively in various aspects of the agricultural industry that began as a child growing up on a wheat, cotton, and cattle farm in southwestern Oklahoma.
Dr. Stefan Gerth was born 1984 in Nürnberg, Germany. Trained as a physicist, he started to apply Computed Tomography in the field of plant phenotyping in the year 2013 and became the head of the group “Innovative System Design” within the Fraunhofer Development Center for X-ray technology in April 2016. Nowadays, he and his group is developing software and hardware solutions to increase the throughput of Computed Tomography and automate the complete imaging pipeline. His main focus is the visualization and quantification of below ground organs like roots or tubers using non-destructive methods.
Jan Szopa is currently working as a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Wrocław, Poland. His international experience includes various programs, contributions and participation in different countries for diverse fields of study. His research interests reflect wide range of publications in various national and international journals.
University of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Moldova
Dr.Maria Duca show her research interests is on regulation and autoregulation of the plants’ in vitro and in vivo growth and development and the study of the plants’ resistance mechanisms to the stress factors – pesticides, nitrozocompounds, salt excess, Orobacnhe.
The phytohormons’ influence on the genes’ expression and the gyberelin’s influence on the mitochondrial’s genes that control the male cytoplasmatic sterility and on the nuclear’s genes that restore the male fertility. Genetic engineering and the biological security.
Dr. Nativ Dudai is a researcher and breeder at the Unit of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in the Newe Ya'ar Research Center of the Agricultural Research Organization, Israel. Dr. Dudai works on domestication, cultivation, and breeding of aromatic plants and manages a large collection of germ plasm of plants for this goal. One of his main areas of research is the development and breeding of elite fresh herb varieties for year round production. His sweet basil cultivars are leading and renowned in the production of fresh cut herbs. His breeding concentrates on the improvement of the health benefits of herbs by using classical breeding methods to manipulate their secondary metabolite content and composition. This approach has led to the development of commercial products such as clary sage as a new source of Omega 3 oil and rosemary with a very high content of carnosic acid for natural preservative products. He is also involved in research on the bioactivity of plants and their secondary metabolites, mainly the inhibition of germination and growth of plants by essential oils and their anticancer activity.
University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Romanian
Marina Spînu, Prof., PhD was born in 1958 in the Russian Federation. Since 1982 she is DVM (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania), holds a PhD Veterinary medicine (1991), a PhD in Biology (2005), specialist in immunology since 1987, in laboratory medicine since 1993. Training sessions: 7 (USA, Israel); congresses: participant/speaker, 92. Scientific interests: infectious diseases, immunology of animals. Publications: 523 papers (42 ISI), 20 books, 568 citations (h index 12). Grants: director or partner: 30. Member of the Doctors College of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, coordinator of the EAEVE. Since 1998: professor at the FVM, Cluj-Napoca, 2005-present: head of Infectious Diseases.
Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante del CNR, Italy
The research deals with cellular and molecular interactions in ecto- and endomycoric symbiosis, with particular attention to cellular surfaces of the two symbiotics, gene expression modification, and cellular organization of the two partners during mycorrhiza- tion. The themes currently addressed by cellular and molecular biology techniques, including confocal microscopy, in situ hybridization and laser microdissetor are: genomics and functional genomics of symbiotic fungi; Analysis of transcriptional profiles in vine roots, in the presence of a mycorrhizal mycorrhizal fungus and / or a microbial consortium, through an RNAseq approach; Analysis of gene expression profiles in homogeneous populations of isolated cells through a laser microdissezione system; Check the changes in the cell wall of the plant and / or mushroom during the symbiosis. In collaboration with other IPSP groups, the influence of mycorrhiza in water stress will be evaluated. The research activities on the genomics of symbiontic fungi were carried out thanks to the participation as an active member since the year 2007 launch of the project, to the European Consortium ( TuberGenomics ) which has been involved in the project of sequencing of the precious black truffle Tuber melanosporumas responsible Of gene-related gene secretion / secretion proteins; To the international consortium that has been involved in the sequencing project of the symbionte arbuscular mushroom mushroom (AM) Rhizophagus intraradices , also providing the RNA extracted from the cells containing the shells to be used in transcriptional analyzes. Currently involved in a comparative genomic project between several fungi belonging to Pezizomycetes, including various truffle species (coordinated by F. Martin, INRA-Nancy). Auditor for several international journals. Member of the editorial committees of international journals such as Biology and Fertility of Soils, PLOS One and Frontiers in Systems Microbiology. Also providing RNA extracted from the cells containing the shells to be used in transcriptional analyzes. Currently involved in a comparative genomic project between several fungi belonging to Pezizomycetes, including various truffle species (coordinated by F. Martin, INRA-Nancy). Auditor for several international journals. Member of the editorial committees of international journals such as Biology and Fertility of Soils, PLOS One and Frontiers in Systems Microbiology. Also providing RNA extracted from the cells containing the shells to be used in transcriptional analyzes. Currently involved in a comparative genomic project between several fungi belonging to Pezizomycetes, including various truffle species (coordinated by F. Martin, INRA-Nancy). Auditor for several international journals. Member of the editorial committees of international journals such as Biology and Fertility of Soils, PLOS One and Frontiers in Systems Microbiology.
Zhaohua Peng is a full professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University. He received his BS and MS degrees in biophysics at China Agriculture University and his Ph.D. degree in plant molecular biology at Ohio State University. From 1997 to 2001, he studied at Yale University as postdoctoral fellow.
Zhaohua Joined Mississippi State University faculty as an assistant professor in 2002. He was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2013. His research focuses on the regulation of rice seed development and seed nutrition reservoir production with emphasis on proteomics and epigenetic studies.
Zhaohua Peng is interested in studying rice seed development and storage nutrient regulation with emphasis on proteomics analysis, posttranslational modifications, and epigenetic regulation.
Zsófia Bánfalvi, DSc, received a MA and PhD degree in biology from József Attila University, Szeged, Hungary, in 1997 and 1983, respectively. From 1977 to 1989 she held appointments at the Biological Research Center, Szeged, Hungary, as a research associate in Adam Kondorosi’s laboratory studying symbiotic nitrogen fixation on alfalfa interrupted with a 2-year-visit at the University of Tennessee, USA. Since joining to the newly established Agricultural Biotechnology Center in 1989, she leads a group focusing on molecular breeding of potato and received a DSc degree in 2005. She is a member of the Biotechnology Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2007- ) and was elected member of the Public Body of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2010-2016). Dr Bánfalvi is an editor at the journals BMC Biotechnology and Plant Growth Regulation.
The group led by Dr Bánfalvi studies the stress responses of potato at transcript and metabolite levels and aims to improve the stress tolerance of this agriculturally important crop via identification of key genes involved in signalling networks. Functional analysis of isolated genes is carried out by plant transformation. One of the novel methods applied in the laboratory is genome-editing based on the CRISPR/Cas9 system to facilitate precision breeding in potato.
Dr. Mahalingam earned his PhD in genetics at Clemson University with a minor in statistics. His research is focused on abiotic stress signaling in plants. Abiotic stresses such as heat and drought cause significant crop yield losses. His research team is engaged in identifying novel germplasm sources with resistance to high temperature and water stress in barley. This research encompasses high throughput phenotyping, stress physiology, SNP genotyping, genome wide association analysis, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Integrating data from these various platforms will provide a cogent understanding of the molecular mechanisms of resistance or tolerance to these abiotic stresses. The novel germplasm resources identified and genes characterized in this research will be useful for developing improved varieties of barley that can thrive well under sub-optimal conditions and produce high quality seeds for the malting and brewing industry. Another aspect of Dr. Mahalingam’s research program is investigating the biochemical role of reactive oxygen species during barley seed germination and its impact on malting quality.