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Islam Abdel Daim is a scientist at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden and carried out a postdoctoral study at Aberystwyth University, UK. He has extensive experience in plant-microbe interactions and plant stress physiology. His research vision is to develop a sustainable agriculture strategy based on employing the abilities of beneficial microbial agents to control plant diseases and enhance plant tolerance against abiotic stresses such as drought stress.
Matthieu Barret is microbiologist by training. He received his Ph.D (Agrocampus Ouest Rennes, France) in 2009 working on the functioning of mixed bacterial-fungal communities in the rhizosphere. After a post-doctoral work at the BIOMERIT Research Centre (University College Cork, Ireland) on bacterial secretion systems, he was hired as INRAe research scientist in 2012 (IRHS, Angers, France). Since 2022, M. Barret heads the EmerSys group (https://twitter.com/Emersys_IRHS). He is also a member of the Scientific Coordinating Committee of the Phytobiomes Alliance (https://phytobiomesalliance.org/). His research program focuses on the processes involved in the assembly of the seed microbiota.
Gwyn Beattie is a professor in Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Iowa State University (USA) where she holds an endowed Chair as the Robert Earle Buchanan Distinguished Professor of Bacteriology. Her research uses genomic approaches to explore factors underlying the fitness, colonization and virulence of plant pathogenic bacteria, particularly foliar (Pseudomonas syringae) and vascular (Erwinia tracheiphila, Serratia marcescens) pathogens, and has current projects probing the mechanisms shaping soybean rhizosphere microbiomes. She has a Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society and is on the Board of Directors for the International Phytobiomes Alliance and the Steering Committee of the Agricultural Microbiomes Research Coordination Network.
Gabriele Berg studied biology, ecology and biotechnology at the universities in Rostock and Greifswald (Germany), and obtained her Ph.D. in 1995 for microbiology. In 2005 she became a full professor in environmental biotechnology at Graz University of Technology (Austria). In addition, since 2021 she has a professorship at University of Potsdam and at the Leibniz Institute for Bioeconomy (Germany). Her interests are focused on microbiome research and management for plant and planetary health. From 2018-20, she belonged to the most influential researchers world-wide (top 1%, Clarivate Analytics).
Davide Bulgarelli obtained a PhD in Crop Sciences at the University of Milan before leaving his native Italy for Germany, to take a post-doctoral position at the Max Planck Institute of Cologne. This experience represented Davide’s first exposure to the plant microbiome and it was “love at first sight”. In 2013 Davide secured a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh personal fellowship and established his own research group at the University of Dundee (UK), where he is currently a Senior Lecturer and a Principal Investigator. Davide’s research is at interface of multiple disciplines, encompassing plant genetics, microbial ecology, and computational biology. The overarching ambition of Davide’s team is contributing to sustainable development by dissecting the genetic basis of crop-microbe interactions in soil and expediting translational applications.
Víctor studied Biology and did his MSc and PhD at the University of Málaga (Spain). During his PhD he used molecular microbiology techniques to characterize virulence factors in Pseudomonas syringae, under the supervision of Prof. Antonio de Vicente and Prof. Francisco M. Cazorla. In October 2012 he joined the group of Prof. Jos M. Raaijmakers, at the Wageningen university and later at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, in Wageningen (The Netherlands), where he studied how the endophytic microbiome can protect plants against fungal diseases. Since September 2020 he leads the group of Metagenomics and Plant-Microbe Interactions at Leiden University. His research program focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms of plant protection against (a)biotic stresses mediated by microorganisms, and the use of bioinformatic tools for the prediction of bacterial lifestyles.
Kellye Eversole is a pioneer in agricultural genomics, biotechnology, and the development of pre-competitive, public-private agricultural research. Since 1994, she has led international consortia and projects to obtain reference genome sequences for agriculturally important crop, livestock, and poultry species. She leads the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, the international, public-private consortium that obtained the reference sequence of the bread wheat genome, and, since 2016, the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research which is pioneering a holistic, systems approach to understanding the complex interactions between the biological and geophysical components of agricultural production systems and support the development of novel, site specific products for enhanced sustainability.
In addition to her work in genomics and convergent systems, Kellye advises public and private entities on regulations related to agricultural biotechnology/genetic engineering, microbial products, and plant protection products. She is a faculty affiliate in the Ag Biology Department at Colorado State University and is on the scientific advisory board for Trace Genomics.
Adriana Hemerly graduated in Biological Sciences, with Bachelor in Genetics, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). She obtained her PhD in Biotechnology in 1994 at UGent (Belgium) and a Post-Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY, USA). She is currently a Full Professor at the Institute of Medical Biochemistry at UFRJ. She has been the General Coordinator of the Biotechnology Area at CAPES (Brazil) since 2018. Her research is in the field of regulatory mechanisms of plant development, and how they are integrated with genetic and environmental signaling. Her work focuses on plant cell cycle regulation and plant genetic controls regulating association with beneficial endophytic diazotrophic bacteria, aiming to develop biotechnological tools that lead to increased biomass and plant productivity, as well as better adaption to environmental changes.
Euan James obtained his PhD from the University of Dundee in 1990. He then worked extensively in the tropics, particularly in South America and the Philippines, where he confirmed using high resolution microscopy the presence of beneficial diazotrophic endophytic bacteria in sugarcane and rice. He has since conducted pioneering work on the emerging subject of nodulation of legumes by Betaproteobacteria; this has involved extensive fieldwork in Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico, and involves many other countries (India, China, South Africa). Euan is currently at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK, where he continues to conduct research (including genomics and metagenomics) into the microsymbionts and other beneficial bacteria associated with tropical and temperate legumes, and is also quantifying the nitrogen contribution of legume crops to Scottish agriculture, with the long term aim of using them to help reduce expensive and environmentally damaging N-fertilizer applications.
Vadim Kessler is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Bionanotechnology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). He was working as postdoc at Stockholm University in 1995-1996 and joint SLU as Assistant Professor in 1997. He was promoted to an Associate Professor position after habilitation in 2000 and became Full Professor in 2004. His main area of scientific interests are molecular mechanisms of surface interactions for oxide nanomaterials, natural and artificial minerals, including their applications as nanozymes and agents for promoting bacterial plant root interactions for abating plant stress.
Elisa Korenblum received her MSc and PhD degrees in Microbiology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her postdoctoral studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel focused on microbial interactions in soil and rhizosphere. At the Weizmann, she has found that plant chemical diversity can be dictated by root-microbial interactions, leading to systemic root secretion of metabolites; she termed this process as “SIREM” standing for “Systemic Induced Root Exudation of Metabolites”. Currently, she is a group leader at Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) – Volcani Center, Israel. Elisa and her group have been working in two joining ends, the plant metabolome and the root microbiome to elucidate the mechanisms that root microbiomes can promote health or lead to diseases of plants. Elisa is a member of the EPAMic, which is the Interdisciplinary Center for Environmental, Plant & Animal Microbiology of the Volcani Center.
Corné Pieterse is professor Plant-Microbe Interactions and scientific director of the Institute of Environmental Biology of the Faculty of Science, Utrecht University. His Plant-Microbe Interactions research group investigates how the plant immune system protects plants against microbial pathogens and insect herbivores, and how beneficial microbes in the plant root microbiome stimulate plant growth and health. Current research is focused on plant-beneficial functions that are encoded by the root microbiome and the role of plant genes and metabolites (e.g. coumarins) that aid in maximizing profitable functions from the root microbiome, in particular induced systemic resistance (ISR). With his research he aims to contribute to grand societal challenges, such as food security and sustainable agriculture.
Veronica Massena Reis is a researcher A of Embrapa Agrobiology Center, located in Seropédica, RJ-Brazil. She graduated in Agronomy at the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro – UFRRJ in 1984. After that, worked in private companies and coffee farms, returning to research in 1897. She got her PhD at the same University in 1994. Her master and PhD thesis were performed with diazotrophic bacterium Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus sugarcane interaction and after that continue with Herbaspirillum, Azospirillum and Paraburkholderia interactions with sugarcane, maize and wheat interactions. She has experience in the development of microbial inoculants for application in cereals and energy crops. Also is a researcher level 1 of CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico) and a Scientist of Rio de Janeiro State, a special grant given by the Rio de Janeiro State Foundation. Coordinates several national and international projects during her career. Professor of the Postgraduate Course in Agronomy - Soil Science at UFRRJ since 1995, where coordinates the discipline of Biological Nitrogen Fixation.
Ena Šečić studied biological sciences and bioengineering at the International University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, before being awarded the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Study Scholarship and going on to study agricultural biotechnology at the Justus Liebig University Gießen, Germany. She obtained her PhD from JLU Gießen in 2021, while working on investigation of the role of non-coding RNAs in microbe interactions with model plants and agriculturally important cereal species. Currently, she holds a postdoctoral research position at the Institute of Phytopathology, JLU Gießen, exploring the universe of non-coding RNAs via bioinformatics and experimental analyses, their impact on mutualistic and pathogenic plant-microbe interactions and RNA interference-based plant protection mechanisms.
Dr. Angela Sessitsch is Head of the Bioresources Unit at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. She studied biochemistry at the University of Technology in Graz, holds a PhD in Microbiology from the Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and is habilitated at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. She has pioneered plant-associated microbiomes and is interested in understanding the interactions between plants, microbiomes and the environment as well as to develop applications. Her group explores the diversity and functioning of plant microbiota by applying a range of molecular approaches, interaction modes between plants and model bacteria, colonization behaviour of endophytes as well as various application technologies for biocontrol and crop enhancement applications. Together with her group A. Sessitsch published more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, she belongs to the Highly Cited Researchers and is co-inventor of several patents.
Brajesh is Director of Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation and Professor of soil biology, at Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University. He is also President and Scientific Chair of Global Initiative of Crop Microbiome and Sustainable Agriculture. Through his fundamental research, he identifies the quantitative relationships between microbial diversity and ecosystem/ host functions and how natural/anthropogenic pressures such as global change affect this. His applied research harnesses the knowledge gained in fundamental research to improve agriculture productivity and environmental sustainability. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher, and a Humboldt Research Awardee, and has published ~240 scientific papers.
Pankaj Trivedi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Biology, and a member of CSU Microbiome Cluster hires in the College of Agriculture at the Colorado State University. His research addresses the assembly, fitness, and roles of plant, insect, and soil-associated microbiomes; how various biotic and abiotic factors influence these; and their consequences on plant productivity, agroecosystems sustainability, and local and local and global level ecological processes. By providing a systems-level understanding of plant microbiomes, the research develops new computational tools and host/microbiome models that enable plant breeders and plant ecologists to predict beneficial interactions for achieving improved yields and plant resilience in changing environments. He provides leadership to the global projects that aim to elucidate and exploit the multitrophic interactions between the microbiome and plants. He has published more than 100 scientific publications.
Friederike Trognitz studied plant breeding at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. After two decades of working in plant research in Germany and Peru, she obtained a PhD in molecular genetics at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, in Austria. For two further decades, she has dedicated her work at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology to the wide field of plant-microbe interactions, first, with focus on potato late blight resistance, and then to plant-beneficial microbes and the biocontrol of diseases and weeds. Her research focuses on the utilization of microorganisms for plant growth promotion and in the biocontrol of pathogens as well as invasive plants.
Professor of Agroecology and Plant-Microbiome Interactions
Marcel van der Heijden is Professor for Agroecology and Plant Microbiome Interactions at the University of Zurich, Professor for Mycorrhiza Ecology at Utrecht University and he heads the Plant-Soil-Interactions Group at the Swiss Federal Research Institute Agroscope. His research focuses on beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, soil biodiversity, microbiomes, soil ecological engineering, and the development and evaluation of sustainable farming systems including organic and conservation agriculture. He is president of the international mycorrhiza society, clarivate highly cited researcher and has published over 150 publications.
Dr. Marko Vinceković is an associate professor working in higher education for 17 years. He was a mentor to one Ph.D. student and 20 undergraduate and graduate students. Most of his competencies are related to colloid chemistry and applied chemistry in agriculture. Current research interest is in the investigation of intermolecular interactions in new biopolymer-based microcapsule formulations for plant nutrition/protection and functional food preparation. He was involved as an investigator on several national projects funded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, one COST and one postdoctoral project founded by UNAM. Currently, he is a coordinator and partner of national projects funded by the Croatian Science Foundation, also he is a partner on one scientific project with the Republic of Kazakhstan. As an author or co-author, he published about 43 scientific journal articles Web of Science Index Expanded – total citations: 559, h-index: 13;
Dr. Maggie R. Wagner earned a B.S. in Plant Biology at the University of Michigan (2009), followed by a Ph.D. in Genetics & Genomics at Duke University (2016). Her dissertation research focused on the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of phenotypic plasticity in a wild perennial mustard species. As a graduate student she developed strong interest in plant-associated microbiomes both as a critical component of the plant's environment and as an "extended phenotype" of the plant host. She was awarded an NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate how modern breeding affects the composition and function of the maize microbiome, while based at North Carolina State University. In 2019 she established her lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Kansas Biological Survey at the University of Kansas, where she continues to work on the complex interplay between plant genotype, phenotype, and microbiome.
Zhong Wei completed his BS and PhD in Agricultural Resources and Environmental Sciences department at the Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) during 2003-2012. He is now a full professor in College of Resources and Environmental Sciences at NAU. His research is mainly to apply soil microbial ecology to develop beneficial microbes-based bio-products for eco-evolutionary control of bacterial wilt, a typical soilborne plant disease caused by Ralstonia solanacearum. Dr. Wei has set up a theoretical and technological multidisciplinary framework to ecologically improve soil healthy threatened by soil-borne plant pathogens and increase future food security.
Emily is a Senior Editor at Nature Microbiology where she primarily handles host-associated microbiomes (including plants), symbiosis and microbial ecology. Emily studied Microbiology for her undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester. She then received a PhD in Microbiology studying the interactions between the gut microbiota and intestinal helminth infection with Ian Roberts and Richard Grencis at the University of Manchester. Emily joined the Nature Microbiology team in November 2016 and was locum Chief Editor of the journal for a few months at the end of 2021. Since July 2021, Emily has been an Advisory Editor for npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.