Keynote Speakers


Dr. Edward Coe

Professor Emeritus, Plant Science & Technology, University of Missouri

Website - Dr. Edward Coe

Dr. Edward Coe Photo Dr. Coe learned maize genetics from Dr. Charles Burnham at the University of Minnesota during B.S. and M.S. studies there. His Ph.D. at the University of Illinois was with Dr. John Laughnan (whose mentor was Dr. Lewis J. Stadler at the University of Missouri). At Illinois, in addition to Laughnan, Dr. Marcus Rhoades was a senior mentor. After a postdoc with Ernest G. Anderson at Caltech Coe joined the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and the University of Missouri, where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Plant Sciences. His research has contributed to sequencing of the genome and database development, and to anthocyanin biosynthesis, haploidy, epigenetics, and extrachromosomal inheritance. He is author or co-author of multiple refereed journal articles, and co-edited the noteworthy book, Mutants of Maize. Coe for 26 years was editor of the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter (1974-2000). His honors include the prestigious Thomas Hunt Morgan Award from the Genetics Society of America in 1992, and others.


Dr. Tim Kelliher

Science Fellow, Syngenta / Adjunct Assistant Professor, Plant & Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University

Website - Dr. Tim Kelliher

Dr. Tim Kelliher Photo Dr. Tim Kelliher has a B.A in Biology from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. During college he studied leaf cell fate specification under Professor Scott Poethig and Dr. Stuart Gillmor at the University of Pennsylvania, and then studied germinal cell fate acquisition in Drosophila under Professor Steven DiNardo. He has a Ph.D. in Biology from Stanford University, where he studied with Professor Virginia Walbot the topic of reproductive cell fate specification in maize. He joined Syngenta in 2013 and cloned the haploid inducer gene in maize MATRILINEAL and used this gene to developed haploid induction in rice and other crops. He then developed a method of elite germplasm editing while producing non-transgenic doubled haploids (HI-Edit). He is a Science Fellow at Syngenta and run the Breeding Technology Group in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and he is a science leader of two research programs (Genome Editing Application Technologies, and New Innovation).


Dr. Yunde Zhao

Professor, Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego (UCSD)

Website - Dr. Yunde Zhao

Dr. Yunde Zhao Photo Dr. Yunde Zhao received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, where he studied nitric oxide signaling mechanisms. Dr. Zhao received his postdoctoral training in the field of plant molecular genetics at the Salk Institute, where he was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Life Sciences Research Foundation. Currently, Dr. Yunde Zhao is a professor in the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego (UCSD). He is also the director of Plant Biology of Food & Fuel for the 21st Century, UCSD. Dr. Zhao is the Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology. Dr. Zhao’s research is centered on two areas: 1) Development of gene editing technologies; 2) Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms by which auxin regulates plant development. Dr. Zhao invented several technologies including ribozyme-based guide RNA production, RUBY reporter for gene expression and plant transformation, and the Transgene-Killer CRISPR, which enables efficient isolation of edited, transgene free plants. Dr. Zhao played a leading role in solving the complete auxin biosynthetic pathway in plants.




Invited Speakers


Dr. Sona Pandey

Principal Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center / Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, Washington University (ST.Louis)

Website - Dr. Sona Pandey

Dr. Sona Pandey Photo Dr. Sona Pandey is a Principal Investigator and Member at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, USA. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Washington University, St. Louis. She is the director of the Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program at the Danforth Center and also served as a Member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee of ASPB till recently (2015-2021). She received a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Banaras Hindu University, India. She received her Ph.D. in Life Sciences form Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She worked as a research scientist in Center for Plant Molecular Biology, New Delhi, India before starting a post-doctoral career at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. She joined the Danforth Center in 2008 as a Principal Investigator and Assistant Member. Her area of specialization is Molecular and Cellular Plant Biology, with special focus on understanding the signaling and developmental mechanisms that are operative during stress tolerance in plants. She is also passionate about training the next generation of plant scientists, improving equity, diversity and inclusion in work force and effective science communication.


Dr. Diego Jarquin

Assistant Professor, Integration & Application of Artificial Intelligence and Omics in Plant Breeding, University of Florida

Website - Dr. Diego Jarquin

Dr. Diego Jarquin Photo Dr. Diego Jarquin completed his PhD in Statistics at the University of Postgraduate Education (Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico), in 2012. After completing his PhD, he continued his training as Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB, USA) for one year (developing genomic prediction models accounting for the genotype-by-environmental interaction G×E) and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL, USA) for three years (working on the optimization of genomic selection on soybean and maize). In 2017 he was appointed as Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and in 2021 Dr. Jarquin was promoted to Research Associate Professor. Currently, Dr. Jarquin is an assistant professor in the Agronomy Department working in the area of Integration and Application of Artificial Intelligence and Omics in Plant Breeding at the University of Florida. In 2020, Dr. Jarquin was awarded with the Early Career Scientists Award by the National Association of Plant Breeding (NAPB) that recognizes a young scientist who is active in the plant breeding field. Also, since 2016, Dr. Jarquin belongs to the National System of Researchers (Level I) Mexico City, Mex (member in the Area of Physics, Mathematics and Earth Sciences).


Dr. Huirong Gao

Research Scientist, Core Technology, R&D Biotech, Corteva Agriscience

Website - Dr. Huirong Gao

Dr. Huirong Gao Photo Dr. Huirong Gao grew up in a small village in the countryside and developed a fascination with plants as a child. This led her to pursue her first degree from Beijing Agricultural University, now known as China Agricultural University, with a major in plant pathology. She went on to obtain a doctorate in plant biology from the University of Rhode Island. Following her studies, she was a research associate at the Noble Foundation in Oklahoma. Prior to joining Corteva in 2001, she was at the University of California, Berkeley working on a bacterial pathogen that causes blight disease in walnuts. Her passion is to find ways to improve plant health and to help plants tolerate various stresses. Her research is mostly focusing on 1) Improving genome editing efficiency in corn, soybean, wheat, canola and other crops; 2) Piloting company’s newly developed CRISPR-Cas with plant traits of agronomic importance; 3) Editting target genes for product development; 4) Collaborating with internal groups and external organizations on various genome editing projects through Open Innovation.





Abstract Speakers


Dr. James Birchler

Professor at the University of Missouri

Dr. James Birchler Photo


Dr. Chong Teng

Postdoc at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Dr. Chong Teng Photo


Duy Trinh

Graduate student in Plant Science at the University of Missouri

Duy Trinh Photo


Hany Hassan Abdelhamid Badr

Graduate Student & Specialist of drug control and research at National Organization for drug control of research, Giza, Egypt

 Hany Hassan Abdelhamid Badr Photo