Antonio Augusto Franco Garcia

University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

The ultimate goal of my research projects is trying to have a better understanding of the genetic architecture of quantitative traits, specially (but not exclusively) for polyploids, with emphasis on sugarcane. This could be useful for breeding programs and for geneticists interested on complex traits.

Sarah Hearne

Sarah Hearne, principal scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), focuses on identification and application of native genetic variation for crop improvement. Working with multi-disciplinary teams she explores, harnesses, re-combines and develops applications in the areas of genomics, informatics and biometrics, in order to leverage data synergies and more efficiently and effectively identify and use high value genetic variation in targeted breeding.

She currently leads Seeds of Discovery initiative (SeeD) of CIMMYT and the trait discovery and deployment space of the Excellence in Breeding Platform. Her science is complemented by emphasis on data management and equitable, IP-sensitive knowledge sharing; facilitating access to data, tools, services, germplasm, advice and training for other researchers and breeders.

Gregor Gorjanc

University of Edinburgh

I lead the HighlanderLab, which focuses on managing and improving populations using data science, genetics, and breeding. We focus on populations used for food, feed, and fibre production We are particularly interested in: (i) methods for genetics and breeding, (ii) design and optimisation of breeding programmes, and (iii) analysis of data to unravel biology and to find new ways of improving populations.

Ben Hayes

University of Queensland

Professor Hayes has extensive research experience in genetic improvement of livestock, crop, pasture and aquaculture species, with a focus on integration of genomic information into breeding programs, including leading many large scale projects which have successfully implemented genomic technologies in livestock and cropping industries.

Charlie Johnson

Charles Johnson is director and founder of the Texas A&M AgriLife Genomics and Bioinformatics Service (TxGen), a multimillion-dollar agrigenomics research unit within Texas A&M AgriLife Research, part of the Texas A&M System. The center conducts next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics research with collaborators in 42 countries, working with hundreds of different groups including other universities and companies. His current internal research is centered around low-cost high throughput genotyping methods supporting AgriGenomics.

Dr. Johnson grow up on a farm in Northern Michigan, receiving his PhD from Texas A&M University and has worked for more than two decades in genomics and bioinformatics research, leading highly successful research teams in both industry and academia.

Farhad Hormozdiari

HealthAI Team at Google Research

Farhad Hormozdiari, a research scientist in the HealthAI team at Google Research, where he combines genetic data and machine learning techniques to improve disease understanding for a diverse set of populations. His long-term research aim includes utilizing genetics and machine learning for better social good. Recently, Farhad has grown his interests and focus in leveraging deep learning and statistical genetics to understand plant genomics and improve crop resistance to climate changes.

Dr. Joanna (Jo) Newton, OAM

Agriculture Victoria Research, Australia

Passionate about research that delivers tangible benefits for farmers, since obtaining a PhD in animal breeding and genetics from the University of New England, Jo’s work has focused on practical tools to illustrate the benefit of better herd-improvement decisions on farm. Jo currently works as a research scientist for Agriculture Victoria on the DairyBio initiative where she uses a multi-disciplinary approach in developing and valuing decision support tools that enable more informed breeding and management decisions on-farm. As a 2018 Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellow, Jo spent 6 months as a visiting scientist Teagasc Moorepark, Ireland.

Jo has a history of active involvement across the wider agricultural sector across numerous not-for-profit organisations, particularly in advocacy and support of young people in agriculture. Jo was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2020 for her service to agriculture through her advocacy and support of young people, volunteering, and contribution to dairy research.

Renee Lafitte

Renee Lafitte is Deputy Director for Crops R&D in the Agricultural Development group at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has a background in crop physiology, agronomy, and agro-ecology, with experience in technology discovery and product development for both intensive agriculture and resource-limited cropping systems. Prior to her current appointment, Renee was a Research Fellow at DuPont Pioneer and then at DowDuPont, where she focused on application of new phenotyping and remote sensing technologies for crop improvement, gene discovery, and the evaluation of new microbial and crop protection products. Previously, Renee worked for 20 years in the CGIAR system, based at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, and at the Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

University of Pretoria

Prof. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is a recognized leader, practicing farmer and esteemed policy advisor with a career spanning 30 years. She currently serves as Chair of the CGIAR System Board, Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Council Chair, National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe.

A white man with salt and pepper hair gently smiles into the camera.

Nathan Lakey

Nathan Lakey is President and Chief Executive Officer of Orion Genomics, a company bringing cutting edge scientific expertise, innovation, proprietary technologies and commercial and academic partnerships throughout the globe to change how the world approaches feeding, fueling and healing itself. Lakey was awarded the top 40 under 40 award (2004 St. Louis), presented the governor’s top technology award (2005 Missouri), and he currently serves as Chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee, Biogenerator, and on the Patient Care Committee of the Board of Missouri Baptist Hospital. He has more than 20 years of experience in genomics. Prior to the founding of Orion Genomics, he was Director of DNA Sequencing at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1994-98), where he built and operated Millennium’s DNA sequencing platform, and helped form three strategic business units – Millennium Predictive Medicine, Millennium Biotherapeutics and Cereon Inc. Before joining Millennium, Mr. Lakey held various positions with Molecular Dynamics (Sunnyvale, CA), Ambion Inc (Austin TX) and Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, in George Church’s laboratory. Mr. Lakey received a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas (Austin), and an MBA from Washington University Olin School of Business (St. Louis) where he received the C. William Emory Executive MBA Award. Mr. Lakey holds multiple issued patents in the U.S. and abroad.