Speakers

 

Angela Posada Swafford

Science, environment and exploration writer, producer and author. Knight Fellow in Science Journalist, MIT/Harvard. US Senior Correspondent for "Muy Interesante" magazine, the largest Spanish-language publication entirely devoted to science for the general reader in the world, edited in Madrid and Mexico. Her stories have appeared in Scientific American, National Geographic en Español, WIRED, New Scientist, The Miami Herald, and The Boston Globe. Angela has produced documentaries for Discovery Channel Latin America/Iberia, radio documentaries for NPR’s Living on Earth, and was twice nominated for regional Emmys in Spanish. She is also the author of "Juntos en la aventura/Bound by Adventure", an ongoing series of 15 adventure and adrenaline novels for young adults edited by Grupo Planeta in Colombia with varied science and exploration themes based on the author's real expeditions with researchers from different fields.


 

Birgit Mitter

Birgit Mitter is microbiologist and molecular biologist with strong experience in the field of beneficial plant-microbe interactions, in particular bacterial endophytes. In her research she is aiming to obtain improved understanding on the interaction between microbial endophytes and plants and to translate basic knowledge into application. She has studied endophytes in a variety of plants including plants of agricultural importance, such as potato, rice and maize but also in wild flowers and tropical trees. B. Mitter applies (meta-)genomic and transcriptomic approaches to elucidate functional roles of (uncultivated) endophytes and to study the genetic background of beneficial plant-microbe interactions.


 

Brigitte Slaats

Brigitte Slaats obtained the degree of an Agricultural Engineer (Dipl.-Ing. Agr) as well as her PhD degree in Agricultural Sciences at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn. Research for her diploma thesis was carried out at the University Riverside, California where she investigated the performance of abamectin, a chemical nematicide applied as a seed treatment to minimize the impact of plant-parasitic nematodes. The topic of her PhD thesis focused on biological control of sugar beet cyst nematodes, in particular, on the efficacy of encapsulated endoparasitic fungus Hirsutella rhossiliensis. Research was conducted at the Julius Kühn Intitute in Münster, Germany. Hereafter, in 2007 she joined Syngenta AG as a postdoctoral researcher to launch a new nematicide research program. A year later, in 2008, she was appointed Team Leader for Seedcare Nematicides Research and became responsible for the discovery and optimization of new chemical active ingredients with nematicidal activity for control of a broad range of plant-parasitic nematodes. In 2011 she additionally became Team Leader for Seedcare Insecticides Research, since then she has been managing all Crop Protection Research Biology related activities for Seedcare Insecticides and Nematicides.


 

Dennis Fink

Dennis Fink graduated in 2011 at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and afterwards co-founded an agency for digital science communication in Cologne. This step from scientist to science communicator was supported by a stipend from the BMWi and the company mediomix GmbH was founded in 2013. Since then, Dennis Fink has been working with scientists from academia and industry on the communication of their science among each other or to the general public. Projects include the production of digital media (movies, illustrations, animations), social media outreach campaigns, web design and soft skill training workshops for graduate schools. Since 2016, Dennis Fink was also asked to join the board of the Max Planck Alumni Association as General Secretary.


 

Eric Kemen

Eric Kemen completed his PhD in biology at the University of Konstanz in 2007 before he moved to the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich UK, where he joined the group of Jonathan Jones, working on plant pathogen genomics. In 2012, Eric Kemen became a research group leader at the MPI for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, focusing with his group on microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions. An important finding was the discovery of ‘microbial hubs’ that link microbial communities to the host genotype. Goal of the Kemen group is to combine computational modelling with ecology and host/microbe genetics.


 

Eva Stöger

Eva Stöger is currently Professor of Molecular Plant Physiology in the Department of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria. After completing her PhD at the University of Vienna she worked at the University of Florida, Gainesville, US, at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, and at the Aachen Technical University (RWTH). She received several awards including the Golden Grain award from the Cerealiers de France and AGPM (France), and the Sofia-Kovalevskaja Prize awarded by the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (Germany). Her main research interests are in the area of cereal biotechnology, intracellular protein trafficking and deposition, endomembrane dynamics and the production of high-value recombinant proteins in seed crops.


 

Hanna Berger

Hanna Berger is a plant biologist and science communicator. She completed her PhD in the Univerity of Bielefeld (Germany) and continued her interest in photosynthesis and algae research at the Universities of Lund (Sweden) and Mainz (Germany). For Hanna, science management and communication are key elements of successful research. Today, Hanna supports the PLANT 2030 network of applied plant science in Germany, located at the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology. PLANT 2030 interconnects plant scientists and is a central hub for the interrelation of research, policy, plant breeding and the public.


 

Ian Baldwin

Prof. Ian T. Baldwin received an AB from Dartmouth College in 1981, his PhD from Cornell University in 1989, rose through the academic ranks at the State University of New York at Buffalo and in1996 became the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena Germany, where he heads the Department of Molecular Ecology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, European Molecular Biology Organization EMBO, Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina, Berlin Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin, and has published 450 peer-reviewed papers and one book on the induced defenses of plants.


 

Justin Cherny

Justin Cherny is Vice President of Operations at JoVE (Jounal of Visualized Experiments). Justin obtained an interdisciplinary PhD in biology and computer science from Wesleyan University, which focused primarily on identifying mRNA translation initiation on a transcriptomic scale and the development of novel approaches for quality assessment of peptide searching algorithms on a proteomic scale. Justin is continually motivated by JoVE’s mission statement, which coincides perfectly with his passion for adoption of new scientific techniques, interdisciplinary work, innovation, and changing the way science is done. 


 

Kauser Abdulla Malik

Kauser Malik had his first degree in Botany from the Governement College in Lahore and later obtained his PhD in Soil Microbiology from the University of Aston in UK. He is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and worked at the Institute of Soil Biochemistry at  FAL in Braunschweig under Prof. Konrad Haider. In Pakistan he worked at the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) and was later founder Director of the National Institute for Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) at Faisalabad. Dr Malik has been the Chairman of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, Member Biosciences at (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission) and then Member Food & Agri of Planning Commission of Pakistan.
Since 2008, Dr Malik has been appointed as Distinguished National  Professor and Dean of Postgraduate Studies at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore. Researches of Dr Malik  are in the area of Biosaline Agriculture, Bioenergy, Plant Micobe Interactions, Metagenomics and Plant biotechnology with over 200 publications. He has been awarded three civil awards for his contribution to science by the Presidents of Pakistan.


 

Lorenzo Mannella

Lorenzo Mannella works as communications officer at the University of Bologna. He holds a MSc in Plant-Microbial Biotechnology and a MA in Science Communication. As a journalist and fixer, he contributed to Galileo, CheFuturo!, Wired, Maker Faire Rome, Motherboard, Medium, Epic Magazine and Dailybest. He is fond of science fiction, storytelling and LARP.


 

Maaike Pols

Maaike holds a PhD in Cell Biology from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She’s working as Scientific Outreach Manager for F1000 and F1000Research; F1000’s open science publishing platform.


 

Paul Christou

Paul Christou received a 1st Class honors degree in Chemistry (University of London) and a PhD in plant biochemistry (UCL, London) in 1980. Following postdoctoral research at UCL, he joined one of the first plant biotechnology companies, Cetus Madison Corp (subsequently Agracetus, Inc.) Madison WI, USA, where he led a group which achieved the first transformed staple crop (soybean) followed by the development of a variety independent gene transfer method for rice. His work with rice led to an approach by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), which sponsored a new department under his leadership at the John Innes Center (JIC) to transfer this technology from the private to the public sector (1994–2001). In 2001, he joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biotechnology & Applied Ecology (IME) in Aachen/Schmallenberg, Germany, as a full professor. In 2004 he was offered a research professorship (ICREA) by the Catalan government at the University of Lleida as professor and head of the Applied Plant Biotechnology Laboratory.


 

Poul Erik Jensen

Holds a degree in agronomy (1989), a PhD in molecular genetics (1993) and worked as postdoc, in Copenhagen and in Sheffield, UK, with molecular biology and biochemistry before he initiated work on photosynthesis, in particular photosystem he, chlorophyll biosynthesis and chloroplast biology. In 2006 he became independent group leader (http://plen.ku.dk/english/research/molecular_plant_biology/photosyn/). Over the years his work involved elucidation of the function of several subunits of the photosystem I complex, characterization of enzymes involved in chlorophyll biosynthesis and he gained expertise in characterizing photosynthetic membrane protein-pigment complexes using biophysical, biochemical and physiological techniques. In recent years, his focus has been on synthetic biology and metabolic engineering in photosynthetic organisms. Specifically, his group has combined cytochrome P450-dependent biosynthetic pathways and photosystems in both chloroplasts of higher plants and cyanobacteria to achieve redirection of photosynthetic electrons towards new pathways. In these projects, the pathways use light-dependent reducing power generated by photosystem he directly circumventing metabolic energy and redox conversions. Since 2016 he has headed the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre (CPSC, http://cpsc.ku.dk/).


 

Stefan A. Rensing

Stefan A. Rensing is Professor of Plant Cell Biology at the University of Marburg, Germany. He is biologist by training, but has two decades of experience in phylogenetic and comparative genomics methods. His lab is interested in the evolution of land plants, in particular the water-to-land-transition, and involves both wetlab and computer work. Prof. Rensing is best known for his work on the moss model, Physcomitrella patens. He is leading the international effort to further improve this US Department of Energy “flagship” genome, and is president of iMOSS, the international molecular moss science community. Rensing is vice speaker for the section on plant molecular biology of the German Botanical society and member of many genome consortia studying plants and algae. Homepage: http://plantco.de. Twitter: @RensingStefan.


 

Sven Gould

Sven Gould studied biology in Marburg, completing his PhD in 2006 just there and before moving on to Melbourne, Australia for his first Postdoc. In 2010 he returned to Germany and joined the group of Bill Martin in Düsseldorf, where he received tenure in 2013 and now runs his own small independent group (cellevo.de). They analyze the cell biology of eukaryotes and their compartments on the ground of biodiversity and under the umbrella of evolutionary trajectories. A main theme is trusting the traditional power of observation and subsequent interpretation, from which they synthesize their ideas. The Gould group uses a range of different (model)systems in order to provide empirical evidence for predicted concepts. Their work is characterized by curiosity and often a bird’s eye perspective on the inner workings of a cell.

 

We look forward to welcoming our speakers in Potsdam-Golm soon!