Julia Buitink 


Julia Buitink is research director at the Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement (INRAE), and works at the Institute of Horticulture and Seeds in Angers, France. She earned her PhD in Plant Sciences at the Wageningen University on biophysics and seed survival in the dry state. Her current research focusses on understanding the regulatory pathways and molecular mechanisms underlying the acquisition of physiological seed quality during seed development and its expression upon subsequent imbibition to ensure rapid and homogenous seedling emergence. Her research combines systems biology approaches and functional genomics, and exploits the large natural genetic variation within the legume family. She is the current President of the International Seed Science Society. 

Brian Diers

Brian Diers is the Charles Adlai Ewing Endowed Chair of Soybean Genetics and Breeding in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He teaches plant breeding and conducts res earch on soybean breeding and genetics. His research focuses on improving disease and pest resistance, seed quality, and yield potential of soybean. His breeding program is developing nonGMO varieties for commodity and specialty markets with an emphasis on developing varieties with high oleic acid and low linolenic acid oil. He received the Young Crop Scientist Award given by the Crop Science Society of America, and he is a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Iani Chihaia  

Iani CHIHAIA is a feed and animal nutrition industry professional with a solid scientific and technical education. Iani holds a Ph. D. in Animal Nutrition from Bucharest Agricultural University and has been extensively involved for the past 25 years with the feed and livestock industry from the Southeast Europe, focusing on Romania, Bulgaria, Russia and Greece markets. Following his passion about animal nutrition, Iani was for more than seven years the Editor in Chief of the Romanian Feed Industry Magazine where he wrote and published over 50 technical press articles and gave presentations at national, regional and international events. 

Since 2010-year, Dr. Iani Chihaia initiated the formation of the Romanian Feed Manufactures Association- ANFNC and shortly after that, the newly established organization was affiliated as a full member at the European Federation of Feed Manufactures - FEFAC.  In June 2018 Iani was elected as the President of the ANFNC and from this position he actively promotes the Romanian feed industry development, building strategies to secure supply for the imported feed ingredients, to attract new investments and to upgrade the feed industry biosecurity standards and practices. 

Tomislav Duvnjak

Dr. Tomislav Duvnjak is Senior Scientific Adviser in the Department of Breeding and Genetics for Industrial Plants at the Agricultural Institute Osijek, Croatia. In the soybean breeding team he works as a phytopathologyst. His main scientific focus are soybean fungal diseases. His research career started in 1997 as a scientific novice. He obtained his Master degree in phytomedicine at the Faculty of Agronomy in Zagreb, Croatia, and Ph.D. in phytopathology at the Agricultural faculty in Osijek, Croatia. During his scientific education he spent few months in Station d'Agronomie (INRA, Toulouse, France) and Istituto Sperimentale per la Patologia Vegetale (Rome, Italy). He is a member of the American Phytopathological Society.

Michael Gohn

Michael Gohn is general manager of Probstdorfer Saatzucht, which is a family owned seed producing and joint shareholder of the breeding company Saatzucht Donau.

He is currently the president of Euroseeds, having been on the Euroseeds Board since nearly 20 years, previously as chairman of the Section Cereals and Pulses.

Michael Gohn studied chemistry at the University of Vienna, and carried out his Ph.D. in radiation chemistry at both RISÖ Denmark and Max Planck Mülheim/Ruhr FRG institutes.

He then joined the Austrian oil company OMV, where he was in charge of research and product development, mainly fuels. End of 1990 he joined the Mauthner company group, and took over the management of Probstdorfer Saatzucht mid 1999. In 2000 he was elected chairman of the Agricultural Trade in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, a position he held for 3 periods till 2015.

In 2004 he was nominated as Austrian representative for the Euroseeds Board, and consequently elected 2010 as chairman of the Austrian Seed Association, a position he is still holding.

Michael Gohn is representative of the Mauthner company group on the Donau Soja Board since its founding in 2012.  

Volker Hahn

Dr. Volker Hahn is head of the Soybean Breeding Group at the State Plant Breeding Institute of the University of Hohenheim, Germany. His research focuses on genetic variation of yield traits, adaptation of soybeans to northern conditions, use of near infrared spectroscopy for phenomic selection and methods of speed breeding. Dr. Volker Hahn is coordinator of a citizen science project with over 1000 participants in Germany. He has authored 25 soybean cultivars registered in Europe. 

Jeong-Dong Lee 

Jeong-Dong Lee is working for Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Republic of Korea as Professor with research areas in soybean genetics and breeding. He ist doing research on improving fatty acids with high oleic, high omega-3 and balanced ratio between omega-6 and omega-3. He also does research on the development of salt tolerant, drought tolerant, herbicide tolerant and wild soybeans. To achieve various goals, he uses techniques such as mapping QTLs, combining genes, and genome data analysis. 

Zenglu Li

Dr. Zenglu Li is a professor with Georgia Seed Development Professorship in Soybean Breeding and Genetics in the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, and Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the University of Georgia, USA. Li earned his Ph.D. degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtained his postdoctoral training from the University of Georgia. He worked as a Research Scientist/Lab Manager at DuPont Pioneer and then was a Corn Genotyping Lead and Soybean Discovery Breeding Lead at Monsanto. During his time at Monsanto, Li was the recipient of two Above & Beyond Awards and one Research Innovation Award. Li joined the University of Georgia faculty in 2012. His research focuses on the development of improved soybean cultivars by integrating classical breeding with genomic technology, trait/QTL/gene discovery, and molecular breeding. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers and received the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research from the University of Georgia in 2021. 

Hong Liao

Hong Liao is the director of Root Biology Center, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China. She teaches plant nutrition and conducts research on genetic and molecular mechanisms of legumes in response to nutrient stresses, particularly in response to phosphorus deficiency in roots, including: 1) architectural, physiological and molecular basis of the root system with functions as related to nutrient efficiency; 2) genetic breeding for nutrient efficient crops through transgenic and MAS approaches; 3) best nutrient management for crops growing on acidic soils. She received over 30 major research grants and published over 200 articles in international journals.

Keshun Liu

Keshun Liu is a Research Chemist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service.   He received a B.S. degree in Horticulture from Anhui Agricultural College, China and Ph.D. degree in Food Science from Michigan State University  and did post-doctoral work at University of Georgia.  Prior to joining in USDA, he was an employee at Monsanto Co. and University of Missouri-Columbia.  His expertise and research interest relate to chemistry, processing, and value-added utilization of soybeans, grains, and other plant-based products.  Over the years, he authored or co-authored 145 publications, wrote, edited or co-edited four scientific reference books, including soybeans. For his outstanding achievements in food science and technology, over the years, Keshun has been selected as fellow of AOCS, IFT, IUFoST . He is also a recipient of AOCS Award of Merit, AOCS Protein Division Lifetime Achievement Award, and AOCS Elton Bailey Award. 

Jegor Miladinovic

Prof. Dr. Jegor Miladinović currently holds the position of the Director of the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. 

His research career started in 1993, when he started working as a research assistant in soybean breeding at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. Dr. Jegor Miladinović completed postdoctoral training in soybean breeding at the North Carolina State University, USA in 2000, and the Changchun University of Agricultural and Animal Sciences, P.R. China in 2001. He has authored or co-authored 72 soybean cultivars registered in Serbia, and 59 soybean cultivars released abroad. Dr. Miladinović was one of 20 most innovative breeders in the European seed sector in 2019, while his soybean variety Blackstar was one of the 20 most innovative plant varieties of 2020.

Seth Naeve

Dr. Seth Naeve is a Soybean Agronomist with the University of Minnesota and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.  His effort is split between a soybean production/physiology research project and his soybean extension activities. Dr. Naeve’s research program focuses on development of novel strategies for the efficient production of high quality soybean.  His research effort is split between analyzing genetic, environmental, and cultural effects on soybean seed quality (oil, protein, fatty acid, amino acid, and carbohydrate composition) and researching management strategies to maximize production efficiencies.  Seth was raised on a corn and soybean farm in Northern Iowa, and received his bachelor’s degree in Biology and PhD in Agronomy (Crop Production and Physiology) from Iowa State University. 

Rex Nelson

Rex Nelson is the current Curator of the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Soybean Genetics and Genomics Database, SoyBase (SoyBase.org). He received his Doctorate in Microbiology from the University of South Florida. He served Post Doctoral appointments at the Saint Louis University E. A. Doisey Department of Biochemistry in St. Louis, MO and with the USDA-ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Ames, IA.  He became SoyBase Curator in 2019. Dr. Nelson is a member of organizations such as the AgBioData Consortium, Sigma Xi Honor Society and the International Society for Biocuration 

Thomas Nemecek

Thomas Nemecek is working as deputy leader of the LCA research group and senior researcher at Agroscope in Zurich, Switzerland. His field of research are the environmental life cycle assessment of agricultural production systems in general and cropping systems, animal production systems, food supply and nutrition in particular. He works on the development of LCA methodology for agriculture (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment, SALCA) and made an important contribution to the development of agricultural life cycle inventories in ecoinvent. Environmental impacts of the production and use of grain legumes as impact of soya in animal and human nutrition were the topics of several research projects. The current main focus of his research are the environmental impacts of nutrition and food systems. He coordinates the EU project OptiSignFood with the aim of developing a tool for optimising environmental impacts, nutritional value and food quality for the food and beverage industry. 

Daniel Ploper

Dr. L. Daniel Ploper is the Director of the Obispo Colombres Agro-industrial Experiment Station (EEAOC), the oldest agricultural research station in Argentina. He received his undergraduate degree from the National University of Tucumán, Argentina, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, Indiana, USA.  He also did postdoctoral work at Auburn University, Alabama, USA.  He is Principal Investigator in Plant Pathology at the EEAOC, Principal Investigator of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), and Professor of graduate courses at the National University of Tucumán.  His research and extension interests focus on the integration of different strategies to control diseases of field crops grown in northwestern Argentina, including soybean, common bean, and chickpea.  Special emphasis is given to the development of disease resistant cultivars, as a member of multidisciplinary breeding teams.

Carl Parsons

Carl Parsons is Professor in the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Illinois.  His position is 50% Teaching:50% Research.  His primary area of research is Comparative Nutrition, with major emphasis on poultry.  Two of his major research interests are feed ingredient evaluation using different digestibility methods and nutrition and health.

Istvan Rajcan

Dr. Istvan Rajcan is a Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Rajcan has been leading a dynamic soybean breeding and genetics program at the University of Guelph since 1998, where he focuses on seed compositional traits for food, nutreaceutical and industrial uses. His research involves exploration of genetic variation for yield and disease resistance traits using exotic germplasm and organic soybean breeding using classical genetic and genomic tools. 

Mian Riaz

Dr. Mian N. Riaz is Holder of the Professorship in Food Diversity Food Science and Technology Dept. at Texas A&M University, USA. He joined Texas A&M University 30 years ago after completing his Ph.D in Food Science from the University of Maine, USA.  His first academic appointment was in 1992 at Texas A&M University, Food Protein R&D Center, where he was put in charge of the Food and Feed Extrusion Program and went on to become the head of the Extrusion Program and a member of the Graduate Faculty in the Food Science and Technology Program. He served as Director of the Process Engineering R&D Center (formally Food Protein R&D Centre) from 2005 to March 31, 2020. He organizes 5 courses every year in the area of extrusion. Three of these courses are in the area of petfood/feed and two of them are in the area of food extrusion. Currently, he is offering these courses through Professional & Continuing Education program, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Extrusion Technology Program. He has published seven books (three of them are in the area of extrusion technology) 28 chapters and more than 143 papers on extrusion and other related topics.   

Leonard Sagis 

Leonard Sagis is an Associate Professor at the Laboratory of Physics and Physical Chemistry of Food, in the Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences of Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands. He obtained an MSc degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Technology of Eindhoven in 1990, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1994. After postdocs at the University of Leiden and Amsterdam, he joined the faculty of Wageningen University in 1998. Since then, his research focus has been on the stability and dynamics of soft multiphase materials such as foams, emulsions, and gels, with a particular interest in the relation between structure of these materials and their highly nonlinear dynamic behavior. In recent years he has primarily focused on plant-ingredient based materials, such as meat and dairy replacers, based on protein extracts from soy, pea, fava bean, rapeseed and many other sources. He is particularly interested in the relation between the structure of the proteins and their functionality in foaming, emulsification and gel formation, and how this relation is affected by growth conditions and extraction processes.

Angela Sessitsch

 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 team A. Sessitsch published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, she belongs to the Highly Cited Researchers and is co-inventor of several patents. 

Asheesh K Singh

Dr. Asheesh K Singh (Danny) is a Professor of Agronomy and Soybean Breeder at Iowa State University. He obtained PhD from the University of Guelph in 2007. He has research and breeding experience in multiple crops - barley, durum, maize, millets, oats, soybean and wheat. He has developed more than 75 varieties and germplasm lines that are grown in wide geographic regions. He has published ~150 peer-reviewed publications on topics related to plant breeding, genetics, phenomics and application of ML/AI in breeding and production. In 2021, he published a plant breeding textbook. He shares leadership of the Soynomics team at Iowa State University, bringing AI and Plant Science/Breeding together to solve complex agricultural problems. He is a co-lead on several projects, most notably in the AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture. He is currently serving as the Crop Breeding and Genetics division chair in the Crop Science Society of America.  

Bob Stupar 

Bob Stupar is a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. He received his B.S. from the University of Minnesota (Biology) and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics). Bob holds a 75% research and 25% teaching appointment. His research program focuses on legume genomics, specializing in soybean gene function, genetic resources development, and applying modern genetic approaches to crop improvement. Bob is recognized for developing unique methods to study genome diversity in natural and mutant populations, and applications in soybean biotechnology. Bob is an active member of the scientific community and was recently elected as a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America.

Yuanchao Wang 

Yuanchao Wang, Professor of Nanjing Agricultural University in China. He studied Plant Pathology and received Ph.D. in Nanjing Agricultural University in 1996, and did three years postdoc in the Institute of Biotechnology, Zhejiang University. He is now the director of the Soybean Pest and Disease Control in China Agricultural Research System and the executive member of the Oomycete Molecular Genetic Research Collaboration Network. His research is centered on the pathogenesis of soybean pathogens, plant innate immunity and development of novel sustainable disease control strategies. His research has been published in the journals including Nature, Science, Nature Review Microbiolgy, Plant Cell, PNAS, Current Biology, PLoS Pathogens, authorized 20 domestic and foreign patents, and won 6 provincial and ministerial science and technology awards.

Tessie Wilkerson

 Dr. Tessie Wilkerson received her B.S. degree in Biology from Delta State University. Tessie also received a M.S. degree in Natural Science from Delta State University. Prior to enrolling at Mississippi State in the fall of 2013, Tessie held research positions with Monsanto Company and Valent USA. She completed her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University in 2017. Tessie’s PhD research focused on managing charcoal rot in soybean by incorporating soil applied nutrients. She currently is an assistant research professor for Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center located in Stoneville, MS. Dr. Wilkerson’s program primarily centers around row crops including corn, cotton, soybean, and peanuts. Her research concentration is seed treatments, root and stem diseases, plant-parasitic nematodes, and soybean grain quality concerns. Among many interests, her primary focus considers efficacy of seed-applied fungicide and nematicide products on multiple crops combined with cultural efforts to minimize disease. The program’s main research efforts support the major plant disease issues for Delta row crop farmers and addressing those concerns through integrated research strategies. 

Her philosophy for growers is “Diseases won’t always cause yield losses so make treatment decisions based on economic return or how it will influence future growing seasons.”