Invited Speakers

The organisation of the 15th World Congress on Parasitic Plants is proud to present you our Invited Speakers.

Shelley Lumba

WCPP 2019 invited speaker Shelley Lumba is an Early Career Researcher who joined the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto as Assistant Professor in September 2016. The aim of the Lumba lab is to elucidate the signalling networks underpinning germination of the parasitic witchweed, Striga. Her group is integrating bioinformatics, high-throughput proteomics and functional approaches to discover functions of genes involved in Striga germination and construct StrigaNet, the first Striga protein interaction network. Shelley received her B.Sc. Honours and Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto, where she also conducted post-doctoral studies. Overall, Shelley’s collective research has been cited over 2000 times. Due to the potential of her research to become world leading, she was awarded an NSERC Accelerator Supplement, which aims to support researchers with superior, highly innovative and original research programs. Shelley has served on the International Plant Growth Substances Association (IPGSA) Conference Organizing Committee, the International Plant Molecular Biology (IPMB) Scientific Board and is currently on the International Strigolactone Meeting Organization Committee.

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto

2019-03-25T12:04:31+02:00

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto

WCPP 2019 invited speaker Shelley Lumba is an Early Career Researcher who joined the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto as Assistant Professor in September 2016. The aim of the Lumba lab is to elucidate the signalling networks underpinning germination of the parasitic witchweed, Striga. Her group is integrating bioinformatics, high-throughput proteomics and functional approaches to discover functions of genes involved in Striga germination and construct StrigaNet, the first Striga protein interaction network. Shelley received her B.Sc. Honours and Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto, where she also conducted post-doctoral studies. Overall, Shelley’s collective research has been cited over 2000 times. Due to the potential of her research to become world leading, she was awarded an NSERC Accelerator Supplement, which aims to support researchers with superior, highly innovative and original research programs. Shelley has served on the International Plant Growth Substances Association (IPGSA) Conference Organizing Committee, the International Plant Molecular Biology (IPMB) Scientific Board and is currently on the International Strigolactone Meeting Organization Committee.

Damaris Achieng Odeny

WCPP 2019 invited speaker DAMARIS ACHIENG ODENY (PhD) is a genomics scientist currently in charge of molecular breeding activities of all ICRISAT mandate crops in eastern and southern Africa. Prior to this, she worked as a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa (2009 – 2013), where she played a key role in establishing the underutilized vegetable genomics group. Damaris is particularly passionate about mentoring of upcoming young scientists and ties most of her research activities to capacity building of African scientists.

Genomics scientist
ICRISAT

2019-01-23T08:47:29+02:00

Genomics scientist
ICRISAT

WCPP 2019 invited speaker DAMARIS ACHIENG ODENY (PhD) is a genomics scientist currently in charge of molecular breeding activities of all ICRISAT mandate crops in eastern and southern Africa. Prior to this, she worked as a senior researcher at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa (2009 – 2013), where she played a key role in establishing the underutilized vegetable genomics group. Damaris is particularly passionate about mentoring of upcoming young scientists and ties most of her research activities to capacity building of African scientists.

Claude dePamphilis

WCPP 2019 session chair and invited speaker Claude dePamphilis is a Professor of Biology at Penn State University.  He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology at Oberlin College and graduate degrees at the University of Georgia, where he studied population genetics, pollination biology, and evolution. After thinking about parasitic plants as fascinating oddities for many years, his "aha moment" with parasitic plants came in 1986 when he realized that parasitic plants were powerful "evolutionary mutants" for the study of plant genomes and gene function.  He secured a postdoctoral fellowship in 1988 to study the evolution of the plastid genome of the non-photosynthetic parasite Epifagus, in the lab of Jeff Palmer, and has continued to research parasitic plants with a passion ever since, including molecular analyses of every major group of parasitic plants. For the last 11 years, with the initiation of the Parasitic Plant Genome Project and other collaborations, his focus has largely been to generate and leverage comparative genomic data in the search for and experimental testing of 'genes that matter' in parasitic plant - host plant interactions.

Professor of Biology Penn State University

2019-03-18T15:09:38+02:00

Professor of Biology Penn State University

WCPP 2019 session chair and invited speaker Claude dePamphilis is a Professor of Biology at Penn State University.  He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology at Oberlin College and graduate degrees at the University of Georgia, where he studied population genetics, pollination biology, and evolution. After thinking about parasitic plants as fascinating oddities for many years, his "aha moment" with parasitic plants came in 1986 when he realized that parasitic plants were powerful "evolutionary mutants" for the study of plant genomes and gene function.  He secured a postdoctoral fellowship in 1988 to study the evolution of the plastid genome of the non-photosynthetic parasite Epifagus, in the lab of Jeff Palmer, and has continued to research parasitic plants with a passion ever since, including molecular analyses of every major group of parasitic plants. For the last 11 years, with the initiation of the Parasitic Plant Genome Project and other collaborations, his focus has largely been to generate and leverage comparative genomic data in the search for and experimental testing of 'genes that matter' in parasitic plant - host plant interactions.

Jakub Těšitel

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JAKUB TĚŠITEL is a plant ecologist interested in a broad scope of ecological topics ranging from ecophysiology and population ecology to community and ecosystem processes. Since his PhD studies, he has specialized in the biology and ecology of root-hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae. He investigated heterotrophic organic carbon uptake by hemiparasites as well as the adaptive value of the hemiparasitic life strategy. In recent years, Jakub studied the use of hemiparasitic plant species in grassland restoration and conservation to suppress competitive grasses threatening biodiversity.

Lecturer and researcher
Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia

2019-02-27T08:57:48+02:00

Lecturer and researcher
Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JAKUB TĚŠITEL is a plant ecologist interested in a broad scope of ecological topics ranging from ecophysiology and population ecology to community and ecosystem processes. Since his PhD studies, he has specialized in the biology and ecology of root-hemiparasitic Orobanchaceae. He investigated heterotrophic organic carbon uptake by hemiparasites as well as the adaptive value of the hemiparasitic life strategy. In recent years, Jakub studied the use of hemiparasitic plant species in grassland restoration and conservation to suppress competitive grasses threatening biodiversity.

Jianqiang Wu

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JIANQIANG WU is a Full Professor from the Kunming Institute of Botany, of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He spent a big part of his career at the Max Plank Institute as a group leader in the Department of Molecular Ecology. His research interests gather defence mechanisms of maize against insects and plant-parasitic plant interactions.

Professor
Kunming Institute of Botany

2019-02-27T08:51:03+02:00

Professor
Kunming Institute of Botany

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JIANQIANG WU is a Full Professor from the Kunming Institute of Botany, of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He spent a big part of his career at the Max Plank Institute as a group leader in the Department of Molecular Ecology. His research interests gather defence mechanisms of maize against insects and plant-parasitic plant interactions.

Julie Scholes

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JULIE SCHOLES obtained her PhD in Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology at the University of Wales in 1986 and then moved to Sheffield University she now is Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences. Prof Scholes’ research is focused on understanding the physiological and molecular interactions between plants and their symbionts particularly the root parasitic witchweeds of the genus Striga. She exploits genomic, comparative genomic, quantitative genetic and molecular approaches to identify genes underlying resistance in cereals to different genetic ecotypes of Striga species and to identify virulence/avirulence genes in the parasite to understand the molecular basis of host-parasite specificity.

Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences
Sheffield University

2019-02-27T08:59:02+02:00

Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences
Sheffield University

WCPP 2019 invited speaker JULIE SCHOLES obtained her PhD in Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology at the University of Wales in 1986 and then moved to Sheffield University she now is Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences. Prof Scholes’ research is focused on understanding the physiological and molecular interactions between plants and their symbionts particularly the root parasitic witchweeds of the genus Striga. She exploits genomic, comparative genomic, quantitative genetic and molecular approaches to identify genes underlying resistance in cereals to different genetic ecotypes of Striga species and to identify virulence/avirulence genes in the parasite to understand the molecular basis of host-parasite specificity.

Kirsten Krause

WCPP 2019 invited speaker KIRSTEN KRAUSE Head of the Microbes & Plants Research Unit (The Arctic University of Norway) will be one of the keynote speakers at the WCPP19. Her research is focused on molecular sensing and signaling at the cellular and organismic level, its evolution and its role in parasitic plants, with a particular emphasis on the genus Cuscuta.

Head of the Microbes & Plants Research Unit
The Arctic University of Norway

2019-02-27T08:53:06+02:00

Head of the Microbes & Plants Research Unit
The Arctic University of Norway

WCPP 2019 invited speaker KIRSTEN KRAUSE Head of the Microbes & Plants Research Unit (The Arctic University of Norway) will be one of the keynote speakers at the WCPP19. Her research is focused on molecular sensing and signaling at the cellular and organismic level, its evolution and its role in parasitic plants, with a particular emphasis on the genus Cuscuta.

Michael Axtell

WCPP 2019 invited speaker MICHAEL AXTELL earned a B.A. in Biology from Ithaca College in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from The University of California, Berkeley, in 2003. From 2003 to 2006 he was a postdoctoral researcher at The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where he studied microRNAs and short RNAs. In 2006 he joined the Department of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University where he is Professor now. Dr. Axtell's research focuses on the analysis, evolution and function of regulatory small RNAs in plants including parasitic plants.

Professor
Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

 

2019-02-27T08:55:04+02:00

Professor
Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

 

WCPP 2019 invited speaker MICHAEL AXTELL earned a B.A. in Biology from Ithaca College in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from The University of California, Berkeley, in 2003. From 2003 to 2006 he was a postdoctoral researcher at The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where he studied microRNAs and short RNAs. In 2006 he joined the Department of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University where he is Professor now. Dr. Axtell's research focuses on the analysis, evolution and function of regulatory small RNAs in plants including parasitic plants.

Satoko Yoshida

WCPP 2019 invited speaker SATOKO YOSHIDA is Associate professor in the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan. She obtained her Ph. D in plant science from the University of Tokyo. She worked as a post-doctoral scientist on plant symbiosis in the Sainsbury Laboratory, UK and as a faculty member at the University of Munich, Germany. She started her research on parasitic plants in RIKEN, Japan with Prof. Ken Shirasu in 2006, and started her own laboratory in 2016. Her research focus is molecular mechanisms of haustorium formation and parasitic plant-host interaction in Orobanchaceae, especially in Striga spp and Phtheirospermum japonicum.

Assoc. Prof. Plant Symbiosis
Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan

2019-01-23T08:43:57+02:00

Assoc. Prof. Plant Symbiosis
Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan

WCPP 2019 invited speaker SATOKO YOSHIDA is Associate professor in the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan. She obtained her Ph. D in plant science from the University of Tokyo. She worked as a post-doctoral scientist on plant symbiosis in the Sainsbury Laboratory, UK and as a faculty member at the University of Munich, Germany. She started her research on parasitic plants in RIKEN, Japan with Prof. Ken Shirasu in 2006, and started her own laboratory in 2016. Her research focus is molecular mechanisms of haustorium formation and parasitic plant-host interaction in Orobanchaceae, especially in Striga spp and Phtheirospermum japonicum.

Susann Wicke

WCPP 2019 invited speaker SUSANN WICKE is an Independent Research Group Leader from the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity of the University of Münster, Germany. Her research centers on causes and consequences of heterotrophy in plants. Her overall goal is to understand the evolutionary-ecological and functional-genomic bases of organismal interaction between parasitic plants and their environment. Her group studies molecular adaptations associated with parasitism in plants to obtain fundamental insights into trophic specialization and the emergence of agricultural pests.

Independent Research Group Leader
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity of the University of Münster, Germany

2019-01-23T08:45:10+02:00

Independent Research Group Leader
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity of the University of Münster, Germany

WCPP 2019 invited speaker SUSANN WICKE is an Independent Research Group Leader from the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity of the University of Münster, Germany. Her research centers on causes and consequences of heterotrophy in plants. Her overall goal is to understand the evolutionary-ecological and functional-genomic bases of organismal interaction between parasitic plants and their environment. Her group studies molecular adaptations associated with parasitism in plants to obtain fundamental insights into trophic specialization and the emergence of agricultural pests.

Tadao Asami

WCPP 2019 invited speaker TADAO ASAMI had his first experience with plant drug discovery research in Nobutaka Takahashi’s lab while he was an undergraduate at the University of Tokyo. He continued to work with Nobutaka Takahashi, earning his PhD in Drug Discovery in 1987. After working for Japan Bayer Crop Sciences Co. Ltd., Tadao became a researcher at RIKEN in 1991. In 2006, Tadao moved to the University of Tokyo, where he is now Professor. His lab’s research is focused on the design and synthesis of chemical regulators of karrikin and strigolactone signaling.

Professor

Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences

2019-03-20T22:09:27+02:00

Professor

Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences

WCPP 2019 invited speaker TADAO ASAMI had his first experience with plant drug discovery research in Nobutaka Takahashi’s lab while he was an undergraduate at the University of Tokyo. He continued to work with Nobutaka Takahashi, earning his PhD in Drug Discovery in 1987. After working for Japan Bayer Crop Sciences Co. Ltd., Tadao became a researcher at RIKEN in 1991. In 2006, Tadao moved to the University of Tokyo, where he is now Professor. His lab’s research is focused on the design and synthesis of chemical regulators of karrikin and strigolactone signaling.

Tsuchiya Yuichiro

WCPP 2019 invited speaker TSUCHIYA YUICHIRO is a Designated associate professor at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules of Nagoya University. Prior to this position, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in different highly ranked institutes including the Department of Cell and Systems Biology of the University of Toronto, the Plant Science Center of the Yokohama Institute.
He is interested in elucidating the Mechanism of strigolactone signal transduction in Striga, Evolution of parasitic plants Development of small-molecule probes for understanding plant parasitism.

Designated associate professor
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules of Nagoya University

2019-02-27T08:49:51+02:00

Designated associate professor
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules of Nagoya University

WCPP 2019 invited speaker TSUCHIYA YUICHIRO is a Designated associate professor at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules of Nagoya University. Prior to this position, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in different highly ranked institutes including the Department of Cell and Systems Biology of the University of Toronto, the Plant Science Center of the Yokohama Institute. He is interested in elucidating the Mechanism of strigolactone signal transduction in Striga, Evolution of parasitic plants Development of small-molecule probes for understanding plant parasitism.

Hanan Eizenberg

WCPP 2019 invited speaker Hanan Eizenberg is a senior scientist in the Agricultural Research Organization, Israel (Head of the Newe Yaar Research Center), and an adjunct Professor of Weed Science at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His research focuses on biology and management of parasitic plants using advanced technologies. During the past 20 years, Prof. Eizenberg supervised more than 20 students on topics related to parasitic plants and published more than 50 research papers, reviews and book chapters. In Israel, Prof. Eizenberg recently led multi-regional projects to alleviate broomrape damage in tomato, sunflower and carrot, the results of which are now implemented on a national scale. In these studies, broomrape management was achieved using an integrated approach, based on parasitism dynamics models, precise chemical management and decision support systems.

Adjunct Professor of Weed Science

Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2019-03-28T10:04:53+02:00

Adjunct Professor of Weed Science

Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

WCPP 2019 invited speaker Hanan Eizenberg is a senior scientist in the Agricultural Research Organization, Israel (Head of the Newe Yaar Research Center), and an adjunct Professor of Weed Science at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His research focuses on biology and management of parasitic plants using advanced technologies. During the past 20 years, Prof. Eizenberg supervised more than 20 students on topics related to parasitic plants and published more than 50 research papers, reviews and book chapters. In Israel, Prof. Eizenberg recently led multi-regional projects to alleviate broomrape damage in tomato, sunflower and carrot, the results of which are now implemented on a national scale. In these studies, broomrape management was achieved using an integrated approach, based on parasitism dynamics models, precise chemical management and decision support systems.