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Opening Lecture

Iowa State University, Ames, USA

Patrick S. Schnable is a distinguished professor at Iowa State University in the departments of Agronomy and Genetics, and Development and Cell Biology. He manages a vigorous research program that emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to understanding plant biology. His own expertise is in the areas of genetics, molecular biology, genomics, and bioinformatics, but he collaborates with researchers in diverse fields, including agricultural and computer engineering, plant breeding and statistics. Schnable's scientific investigations of the maize genome have been wide-ranging and he has developed and/or deployed a number of important genomic tools and resources.

More information at: http://schnablelab.plantgenomics.iastate.edu/personnel/schnable_patrick.php

Plenary Lecture

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Professor Hirt is molecular biologist studying how plants can survive under abiotic or biotic stress conditions. He is director of Center for Desert Agriculture at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia where he established two research groups. One group is interested how kinase signalling targets chromatin to prime stress tolerance at genetic and epigenetic levels. The other group searches worldwide for rhizosphere beneficial microbes of desert plants and investigates their potential and molecular mechanisms related to plant stress tolerance.

More information at: https://cda.kaust.edu.sa/Pages/Heribert%20Hirt.aspx

Keynote Lecture

Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Professor Šamaj is molecular cell biologist working mainly on mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), cytoskeleton and polarized vesicular trafficking in plants. He leads Department of Cell Biology at the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research in Olomouc, Czech Republic. His laboratory is using advanced environmental and super-resolution microscopy combined with cell biological, genetic, proteomic and biochemical approaches to disect biological roles of MAPKs, cytoskeleton and polarized vesicle trafficking during plant development and stress adaptation.

More information at: http://www.cr-hana.eu/en/research-and-development/research-programs/cell-and-developmental-plant-biology-2/

Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

As an Australian, Professor Dodd is used to droughts, and regularly applies them to plants "in his care", to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which plant root systems communicate the effects of drought to the shoot. This research has been applied to improve crop water use efficiency ("crop per drop") in aiming to guarantee food production within a changing climate

The PhD students he supervises work on a range of topics including root physiology and phenotyping, deficit irrigation techniques, crop nutrition and urban agriculture.

More information at: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lec/about-us/people/ian-dodd

Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom

Professor John A. Pickett is originally an organic chemist who has gained worldwide recognition for his investigations into volatile natural products (pheromones and other semiochemicals) that affect the behaviour and development of animals, and act as external signals for plants. He is a world authority on semiochemicals in insect behaviour and plant defence, and plays a leading role in the move away from the traditional use of wide-spectrum pesticides to more precise control through compounds targeted against specific pests at crucial stages in their life cycles. His work centres on the chemical ecology of interactions between insects, between insects and their plant or animal hosts, and between plants.

More information at: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/people/jpickett

Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology GmbH, Vienna, Austria

Biotrophic fungi colonize living host tissue and are therefore masters in manipulating the immune defense responses, metabolism and development of their host plants. The focus of Dr. Djamei's team research is to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of biotrophy in the model pathosystems Ustilago maydis/Maize and Ustilago bromivora/Brachypodium. In an integrative approach they functionally explore the effectome (pathogen derived secreted manipulative molecules) to gain insights into the targeted host metabolic processes and to understand the critical needs of the pathogens.

More information at: https://www.gmi.oeaw.ac.at/research-groups/armin-djamei/

Institute of Agrobiotechnology, Navarra, Spain

Javier Pozueta-Romero is professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in the Institute of Agrobiotechnology of Navarra, Spain. Dr. Pozueta-Romero conducted his doctoral studies in the University of Nagoya (Japan) on regulatory mechanisms of starch biosynthesis in plants. Since then he has accumulated much experience in aspects related with carbohydrate metabolism in plants and bacteria, and plant-microbe interactions. Based on findings showing that compounds emitted by diverse phytopathogenic microorganisms promote plant growth, Dr. Pozueta-Romero has recently proposed the "bad little critters, beneficial workers" concept according to which non-beneficial microorganisms represent both a yet to be explored promising source of environmentally friendly biostimulants, and an excellent opportunity to further the knowledge on the mechanisms involved in plant-pathogen interactions

More information at: http://idab.es/en/grupo-de-investigacion-de-metabolismo-de-carbohidratos/

Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Professor Doležel is the Head of the Centre of Plant Structural and Functional Genomics of the Institute of Experimental Botany and Scientific Director of the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research. His research focuses on plant genome organization and its changes that accompanied the evolution and origin of new species. His team developed new methods to facilitate the analysis of complex genomes, and participates in international consortia aiming at sequencing genomes of important plants. He authored over 250 scientific papers in impacted journals, edited three books and was PI or Co-PI of more than 20 projects.

More information at: http://olomouc.ueb.cas.cz/

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany

Dr. Ales Pecinka is molecular biologist analyzing plant chromatin organization and functions. His research group at Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, focuses on understanding how is plant genetic information folded in cell nucleus, protected from damage and regulated during development and stress. This control is vital for normal plant growth, stress resistance and yield in short term, but also for maintenance of the low mutation rates during long-term genome evolution.

More information at: http://pecinka_lab.openwetware.org/

KWS CEREALS Business Units, Einbeck, Germany

Viktor Korzun have more than 25 years' experience in development and application of molecular markers and novel breeding technologies in cereal crops, establishment, participation and coordination of national and international projects and strategic evaluation of current and new development in area of plant research and molecular breeding. He has currently about 200 scientific publications and he is an Associate Editor in the Journal Molecular Breeding. Since 1999, Viktor Korzun is a Head of Cereals Breeding Technologies at KWS CEREALS Business Units.

More information at: http://www.kws.com/

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Clint Chapple is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry at Purdue University. His research focuses on understanding and manipulating a compound in cell walls called lignin that contributes to plants' structural strength, but which hinders conversion of plants into other materials. His lignin research already has improved processing techniques for producing pulp for paper. Professor Chapple is currently working on additional ways to alter lignin so that cellulose from plants such as poplar trees can be used for ethanol production to provide alternative transportation fuels. Professor Chapple is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as president of the Phytochemical Society of North America.

More information at: https://ag.purdue.edu/biochem/Pages/Profile.aspx?strAlias=chapple&intDirDeptID=9

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Professor Johannes van Staden works in the fields of plant hormones, seed germination, senescence, stress physiology, post-harvest physiology, biotechnology and plant tissue culture, ethnobotany, secondary products and ethnomedicine. Prof van Staden is the author/co-author of 1317 papers published in ISI rated journals. In 2002 he fell within the top 0.5% of Internationally most cited authors. Prof van Staden is the Editor-in-Chief for South African Journal of Botany and Associate Editor for Acta Physiologia Plantarum and Frontiers in Pharmacology.

More information at: http://research.ukzn.ac.za/List-of-Top-30-Researchers/Professor-Johannes-van-Staden.aspx

Széchenyi István University, Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary

Prof. Ördög has a wide spectrum of knowledge in the field of plant sciences with special reference to microalgae. During the last 25 years he has been studying the plant hormone-like activity and the antimicrobial compounds of microalgae. His main aim is the use of microalgae as exogenous plant hormones or natural pesticides in crop production. His most recent interest is the study of microalgae lipids and volatile organic compounds.

More information at: http://mek.nyme.hu/index.php?id=655

Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Halle (Saale), Germany
Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Professor Claus Wasternack is a plant biochemist working on jasmonates (JA) since 1990. His group was among the five leading groups worldwide involved in research on JA and other oxylipins. Molecular-genetic, analytical and cell biological aspects of JA biosynthesis and JA signaling were studied in barley, tomato and Arabidopsis to understand JA-induced gene expression and role of JA compounds in stress such as wounding as well as in development of flowers, embryos or roots. Cloning and characterization of the first allene oxide cyclase, of some lipoxygenases, of allene oxide synthases including their intracellular localization as well as switch off in JA signaling by hydroxylation of JA and the specific role of OPDA are some of his research activities. He is also known by his reviews on biosynthesis and action of jasmonates which are the most cited reviews in the JA field during the last decade

More information at: http://www.ipb-halle.de/en/employee/claus-wasternack/

University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Dan Staerk's main research area is development of new bioanalytical techniques for investigation of bioactive constituents in medicinal plants, functional foods, and microbial extracts - with emphasis on type 2 diabetes and its complications. This includes development of high-resolution bioassays combined with HPLC-HRMS-SPE-NMR. It also includes ligand-fishing using enzymes immobilized on magnetic beads as well as multivariate statistics to pinpoint bioactive constituents in complex mixtures.

More information at: http://drug.ku.dk/employees/?pure=en/persons/321761

Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Prof. Sarker' s research interests include: drug discovery from natural products; drug design - novel indane derivatives as analgesic compounds; drug design - dimeric steroids as molecular umbrellas; synthesis of bioactive natural products; metabolomics of medicinal plants; production of compound libraries of dereplicated natural products for high throughput screening (HTS); toxicological evaluation and quality control of herbal medicine; development of bioassays for screening plant extracts and isolated compounds; application of 1D and 2D NMR techniques in drug discovery and design; chemotaxonomy; pharmInformatics.

More information at: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/staff-profiles/faculty-of-science/pharmacy-and-biomolecular-sciences/satyajit-sarker

VIB, Gent, Belgium

Metabolomics and statistical expert within the bio-energy field. The main topics of Dr. Morreel's interest include the development of high-throughput methods to structurally characterize many unknown metabolites (especially secondary metabolites) in chromatographic profiles. A second topic involves flux analyses of the principal pathways in aromatic metabolism.

More information at: http://www.vib.be/whoiswho/Pages/Kris-Morreel.aspx?lang=en

Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Dr. Novák is analytical chemist and phytochemist employed at the Palacký University and Institute of Experimental Botany as Scientist and Leader of the research programme. Ondřej is focused on qualitative and quantitative determination of endogenous plant hormones (cytokinins, auxins, brassinosteroids, abscisic acids, gibberellins and jasmonates) and selected phenolic compounds. He has also experience with new modern analytical isolation and purification methods and using in vivo deuterium incorporation coupled with LC-MS analysis to quantify biosynthetic rates for different plant hormone metabolites.

More information at: http://www.rustreg.upol.cz/research-programs/cytokinins-hormonomics/

Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom

Olga Sayanova, PhD is a Principle Investigator at Rothamsted Research, UK, where she studies the fatty acid biosynthesis and lipid metabolism in plants and algae. She has extensive expertise in plant metabolic engineering and played an essential role in the first successful reconstitution of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) pathway in transgenic oilseeds and microalgae. She is currently leading research on developing synthetic biology approaches to engineer oil seed crops and marine microorganisms for the sustainable production of high value molecules.

More information at: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/people/sayanova

University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

Molecular recognition is at the heart of Professor Napier's group activities, in particular the binding and selectivity of hormones by their receptors. The team deals with two principal projects at present, the development of a new generation of biosensors for quantitating hormone concentrations in vivo, and the kinetic characterisation of the auxin receptor TIR1. Biosensors combine a biological recognition domain with a physicochemical output unit. Like receptor proteins, recognition domains need to recognise analytes with appropriate sensitivity and selectivity and the team is collecting suitable hormone sensor elements.

More information at: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci/people/rnapier/

VIB and Ghent University, Gent, Belgium

The main goal of Professor Boerjan's group is to understand the biosynthesis of plant cell walls to provide the fundamental knowledge needed to design plant cell walls that are easier to process into simple sugars. These sugars can then be further fermented to bio-ethanol or other bio-based products, such as bioplastics. The main focus of Professor Boerjan's group lies in understanding the biosynthesis, polymerization and structure of lignin. The group's research is heavily supported by metabolomics. Successful gene discovery programs in Arabidopsis are followed up by translational research in crops such as poplar and maize. The group's research efforts will underpin the transition from a fossil-based to a sustainable bio-economy.

More information at: http://www.vib.be/en/research/scientists/Pages/Wout-Boerjan-Lab.aspx

Bioforsk Plant Health and Plant Protection - Ås, Norway

Dr. Jihong Liu Clarke has extensive experience in tissue culture and genetic engineering of various plants including oilseed Brassica napus, barley, tobacco and poinsettia. Recently, she has established a research team focusing on genetic engineering of ornamental crops and molecular farming for plant produced human and fish vaccines. With her team, she has developed a stable Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method for poinsettia (Clarke et al. 2008); a UK patent on the method was filed in 2007.

More information at: http://www.bioforsk.no/ikbViewer/page/en/person?p_document_id=6255

Plant Gene Engineering Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

David Ow received his A.B. from UC Berkeley in 1978 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1983. After postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and UC San Diego, he joined the USDA/UC Berkeley Plant Gene Expression Center as a Principal Investigator from 1986-2009. In 2010, he accepted a position at the South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, to form a Plant Gene Engineering Center.

More information at: http://sourcedb.scib.cas.cn/yw/rck/201002/t20100205_3077765.html

Borregaard company, Sarpsborg, Norway

Gudbrand Rødsrud is Technology Director at Borregaard, one of the world´s leading biorefinery actors. Rø dsrud leads many long-term biorefinery projects including a recently granted EU H2020 Flagship Programme Exilva with 25 million Euro for the production of Microfibrillar / Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) which has a large range of applications. Director Rødsrud has more than 20 years of experience in several positions at Borregaard, including 11 years as global R&D Director for lignin activities.

More information at: http://www.borregaard.com/


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