Pim holds an MSc in Biology and in Chemistry and a PhD
in molecular virology. He started his professional career
as tomatologist in Wageningen, whereby he initiated
research on the usage of molecular markers in tomato
breeding. Later he moved to more basic science as
Assoc. Prof. at Wageningen University, whereby he
focused on the principles of disease resistance breeding.
He also coordinated a national genomics programme in
tomato and moved in 2006 to the seed industry as head
R&D of DeRuiterSeeds. In 2008, together with three
colleagues, he founded Solynta, a company dedicated
to the development and implementation of diploid
hybrid breeding in potato. Recently, Solynta has
developed the highly homozygous and fertile diploid
inbred line, ‘Solyntus’, that is available as the new
standard reference genome for scientific research.
Title presentation: Diploid hybrid breeding: a paradigm shift in potato breeding.
Dr. Ajjamada C. Kushalappa, is a Professor at McGill University, Quebec, Canada. The current focus of his research is on the identification of resistance genes in plants against biotic stress based on comprehensive transcriptomics and semi- comprehensive metabolomics. His lab identifies the mutated genes in susceptible commercial cultivars and replaces the SNPs from resistant genotypes based on genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 system. He was an invited speaker at several national and international conferences. He has trained more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He has published more than 100 papers and was awarded Dr. and Mrs. Bailey award, by the Canadian Phytopathological Society, for an exceptional and distinguished contribution to plant pathology.
Dr Sanjeev Kumar Sharma is a Molecular Geneticist at The James Hutton Institute, UK with over 20 years’ experience in potato research. Dr Sharma originally came to the UK on a prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship award to pursue his PhD on the development and molecular characterization of somatic embryogenesis in potato. A novel outcome of the project was the development of a prototype for rapid and efficient multiplication of potato tuber seed material using somatic embryo-derived synthetic seeds. Following this, Dr Sharma was actively involved in the international potato genome sequencing project and construction of the reference potato chromosome-scale pseudomolecules. His work encompasses various aspects of potato genetics and genomics including next-generation sequencing applications (sequence-based genotyping, whole-exome capture and whole-genome resequencing), bioinformatics, germplasm characterization, genome-wide association studies, development of diagnostic marker assays for target traits. Current work is focussed on exploiting novel genetic and genotyping approaches for trait analyses and allele mining in potato targeting important agronomic and processing traits such as tuber dormancy and sprout elongation. On the whole Dr Sharma’s broader focus of work is to exploit genetic and genomic technologies for furthering potato research and accelerate breeding efficiencies in potato.
Dr John Bradshaw spent the whole of his 34 year career (1975-2009) as a plant breeder and geneticist at what is now the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland; having studied genetics and applied genetics in England at the Universities of Cambridge (BA), Birmingham (MSc) and East Anglia (PhD). He worked on barley, brassicas (kale, swedes and turnips) and potatoes; doing research on the applications of genetics to plant breeding as well as breeding finished cultivars. He was particularly interested in methods of kale population improvement, the genetic basis of hybrid vigour in swedes, the theory and practice of quantitative trait locus analysis in tetraploid potatoes, and breeding for quantitative resistance to pests and diseases (clubroot in kale, powdery mildew in swedes, and late blight and cyst nematodes in potatoes). He has written extensively on plant breeding and genetics and is widely travelled. He has been an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Potato Association since 2008. In 2010 he received the British Potato Industry Award in recognition of his contribution to potato research and knowledge transfer. Throughout his career he was a member of EUCARPIA, the European Association for Research on Plant Breeding, and having served as Chairperson of the Section Potatoes was made an honorary member in May 2012. He is a member of EAPR, the European Association for Potato Research, and is currently Co-ordinating Editor of their journal Potato Research.
Dr.Balaji completed his under graduation and post graduation in Agriculture at TNAU – Coimbatore.
He later joined Indian Agricultural Research Institute – New Delhi, which is the premier institute for
Agricultural Research in India where he was awarded Doctorate in Microbiology.
He worked as a Scientist under ARS system for two years and then moved to various private organisations specialising in the fields of application oriented biotechnology.
Currently he is heading the R&D Centre – Bioproducts Division of Coromandel International Limited
He has put in 27 years of service in the field of Microbial biotechnology covering Agriculture, Industrial, Human Health and Veterinary areas. He has worked on R&D, Product Development, Manufacturing and Marketing of microbial biopesticides, microbial inoculants, yeast and enzyme based animal feed supplements. Dr.Balaji established a state-of-the-art fermentation based microbial biopesticide and microbial biofertilizers facility at Haridwar. He has developed many novel bio control agents which are under field trials.
He has two Global patents to his credit
Dr.Balaji has published many articles in various journals and made presentations in many scientific conferences in Switzerland, Poland and India.
Donald MacKenzie is an international expert in regulatory systems for agriculture, including environmental risk assessment, biosafety and food safety assessments. His extensive experience in plant product development and global regulatory processes aligns with the Institute’s commitment to collaborate with international and local partner organizations to deliver crops with improved nutritional content and disease resistance to places where people are in most need. Don joined the Danforth Center from the International Rice Research Institute where he spent three years as a Regulatory Affairs and Stewardship Leader on the Golden Rice Project. His proven track record of working with diverse stakeholder groups to achieve progressive policy outcomes was critical in his role as the Canola Global Regulatory Lead at Dupont Pioneer and Regulatory Affairs Leader for Dupont Pioneer Canada, where he provided direction and coordination across all regulatory and registration activities for canola globally. Prior, he was the Executive Vice President at Agbios, Inc., and coordinated biotechnology policy within the Health Protection Branch as the Health Canada Head, Science Policy Division. In 2012, Don was named the International 2012 Leadership and Excellence in Agriculture by CropLife. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.