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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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 ( 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 

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. 

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.  

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.