Jack Dekkers

Dr. Jack Dekkers, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University focuses his research on quantitative and statistical genetics, including the integration of quantitative and molecular genetics and genomics for QTL mapping, genome-wide association studies, and genomic prediction and selection; design and economic aspects of breeding programs for livestock.

Appolinaire Djikeng

Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),
Senior Director, CGIAR Livestock-based systems.
Professor Appolinaire Djikeng is Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Senior Director for the Livestock-based systems of the CGIAR. At ILRI and the CGIAR he leads the premier global

Appolinaire has expertise and interest in Genomics with applications in agriculture (both animals and crops), Human and environmental health. Appolinaire serves on numerous science advisory boards and has received many awards including the Nelson Mandela Peace Award.

Prior to ILRI, Appolinaire was Director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) and based at the Roslin Institute and Chair for Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh. He has over 20 years’ research and institutional experience in academia and in international not for profit research institutions in the USA, Africa and UK.

Appolinaire is affiliated with The Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh (UK) as Professor, with the University of South Africa, College of Agriculture, and environmental science as Distinguished Professor, and with the University of Queensland, Center for Animal Science (Australia) and Honorary Professor.

Alison Van Eenennaam

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis.  She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both an MS in Animal Science, and a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genome editing approaches for cattle. She serves as the bovine genome coordinator for the USDA National Animal Genome Research Program, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has given over 650 invited presentations to audiences globally, and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology. She frequently provides a credentialed voice on controversial scientific topics, and has appeared on national media including The Dr Oz Show, NPR, Science Friday, and the Intelligence Squared debate series. She appeared in the 2017 documentary “Food Evolution” narrated by science-communicator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. A passionate advocate of science, Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) 2010 National Award for Excellence in Extension, American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) 2014 National Extension Award, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) 2014 Borlaug Communication Award, University of California – Davis 2019 James H. Meyer Distinguished Career Achievement Award, and ASAS 2019 Rockefeller Prentice Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics.

Michel Georges

Michel Georges is Professor in Genetics and Genomics at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège in Belgium.  He heads the Unit of Genetics of the GIGA Research Institute in the same university.  Georges was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1959.  He obtained his DVM degree at the University of Liège in 1983, followed by a degree in Molecular Biology at the Free University of Brussels in 1985.  From 1985 to 1988 he worked in the laboratories of Gilbert Vassart at the Free University of Brussels and Roger Hanset at the University of Liège. He obtained is habilitation from the University of Liège in 1991.  From 1989 to 1993 he was senior scientist, then director of research at Genmark Inc. and adjunct professor in the Department of Human Genetics in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Since 1994 he has been heading the Unit of Animal Genomics at the University of Liège. He played an instrumental role in establishing the GIGA Research Institute.  Georges was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 2007, and the Francqui Prize in Biomedical Sciences in 2008.

Robin Buell

University of Georgia

In July 2021, Dr. C. Robin Buell joined the University of Georgia as the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Chair in Crop Genomics in the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. Prior to joining UGA, she was a University Distinguished Faculty and MSU Foundation Professor of Plant Biology at Michigan State University (2007-2021), an Associate Investigator at The Institute for Genomic Research (1999-2007), and as Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University (1997-1998).

Mark Cooper

The University of Queensland

Professor Mark Cooper is Chair of Prediction Based Crop Improvement at The University of Queensland, and a global leader in quantitative genetics and plant breeding. His work involves integrating genomic prediction and crop growth models into an ‘end to end’ framework for crop improvement.

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

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. Author of more than 250 journal papers, including in Nature Genetics, Nature Reviews Genetics, and Science, contributing to statistical methodology for genomic, microbiome and metagenomic profile predictions, quantitative genetics including knowledge of genetic mechanisms underlying complex traits, and development of bioinformatics pipelines for sequence analysis. Thomson Reuters highly cited researcher in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.