Keynote Speakers

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Local Organizing Committee


John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

Eugenio Butelli

John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

Cathie Martin researches into the relationship between diet and health and how crops can be fortified to improve diets and address the global challenge of escalating chronic disease. This work has involved linking leading clinical and epidemiological researchers with plant breeders and metabolic engineers to develop scientific understanding of how diet can help to maintain health, promote healthy ageing and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Cathie has recently initiated collaborative research in China to research on Chinese Medicinal Plants, particularly those producing anti-cancer metabolites used for complementary therapies.

Cathie was Editor-in-Chief of The Plant Cell (2008-2014) and is now an Associate Editor for Molecular Horticulture. She is a member of EMBO, AAAS, a Fellow of the Royal Society, in 2014 she was awarded an MBE for services to Plant Biotechnology, in 2019 she was elected Janniki Ammal Chair of the Indian Academy of Sciences for outstanding women in science and in 2022 she was awarded the Rank Prize for outstanding contributions to research on nutrition.

Eugenio Butelli

Eugenio started his career in Italy as a biomedical scientist and pharmacologist. Fascinated by the potential of GM technology, he moved to Norwich where he obtained a PhD in Plant Biology at the University of East Anglia. He has worked as an academic scientist at the John Innes Centre for more than twenty years. He has expertise in plant genetic modification and metabolic engineering, and he is author of several scientific publication on tomato and citrus. He is Scientific Director of Persephone Bio, a spin-out company that develops GM tomatoes as efficient biofactories to produce cosmetic and nutraceutical products.


Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University/New York and Abu Dhabi

Michael Purugganan is the Silver Professor of Biology at New York University Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, and is also an affiliate faculty member at the NYU campus in Abu Dhabi. His research focuses on plant evolutionary genomics, especially the evolutionary genomics of crops, including genetic adaptation of rice and date palms. Prior to joining the NYU faculty in 2006, he was the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Genetics at North Carolina State University.  He has been a Guggenheim and Kavli Fellow, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005 and a corresponding member of the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines in 2019. He serves on the international advisory boards of the Philippine Genome Center and the Barcelona Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics.


Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52428 Jülich, Germany

Uli Schurr is a plant physiologist and heads the Institute of Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The institute is a leading institute in plant phenotyping, developing quantitative methods for analyzing plant architecture and function in controlled environmental conditions and in the field, and translating these methods with partners into practical applications in horticulture, agriculture, and breeding. He initiated and coordinates the German Plant Phenotyping Network DPPN; is the chairman of the ESFRI project EMPHASIS and president of the global International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) ). Uli Schurr has been leading the Bioeconomy Science Center (, the largest European research network on sustainable bioeconomy based on the cooperation of the Universities of Bonn, Aachen, Düsseldorf and the Research Center Jülich, for 10 years. He initiated the BioeconomieREVIER initiative ( to establish a model region for sustainable bioeconomy in Germany.

Marc-André SELOSSE

Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France; University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland

Marc-André SELOSSE is professor at Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris), and at Universities of Kunming (China) and Gdansk (Poland). His researches focus on the ecology and evolution of mycorrhizas, a major symbiosis between soil fungi and roots of most land plants. He has a general interest for symbiosis and its evolution. He was head of the French Botanical Society for ten years and is now president of the Fédération BioGée, member of the French Academy of Agriculture and of the Institut Universitaire de France. He (co-)edits four international scientific journals: New Phytologist, Ecology Letters, Symbiosis and Botany Letter.

All his papers (more than 200 scientific papers and 200 outreach papers) are downloadable at He published outreach books in French on microbiota  (Jamais seul, 2017), tannins (Les goûts et les couleurs du monde, 2019) and soil (L’origine du Monde, 2021). Website:

Sabater Award

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Nazareth Torres

Winner of the Francisco Sabater Award 2023, given by the Spanish Society of Plant Biology
Ramon y Cajal, Public University of Navarra, Spain

Nazareth Torres is a Ramón y Cajal Researcher in Plant Biology and Agronomy at the Public University of Navarra (Spain). Her research on grapevines has involved the study of the physiology of the symbiosis between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and grapevines to respond to climate change challenges, sustainable vineyard management and agricultural soil health. She obtained her PhD in Biology and Environmental Science in 2018 at the University of Navarra, and worked for two years in the Department of Viticulture of Enology of the University of California, Davis. Later, she got two competitive postdoctoral contracts to continue with her research in her hometown. She has 28 relevant scientific papers (most of them in Q1 journals), a current H-index of 15, and about 600 citations. Nazareth Torres is the winner of the prestigious and competitive “Sabater Award 2023” that the SEBP grants amongst the young plant researchers in Spain every two years.