Keynote Speakers

Interactions Between Plants And Microbiomes

Linda Kinkel's research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary biology of soil and endophytic microbes in relation to plant health. Through integrated studies of agricultural and natural habitats, her work sheds light on community assembly and selection processes that mediate the capacities of bacterial and fungal populations to suppress plant pathogens, and sheds light on novel practical approaches for managing microbiomes to control plant diseases.

Genetics And Genomics: Basis For Innovative Control Strategies

He is a Professor at Virginia Tech's School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. His research spans from molecular plant-microbe interactions to molecular evolution and taxonomy of plant pathogenic bacteria. He takes advantage of the revolution in DNA sequencing technology to develop bioinformatics tools for precise and fast detection, classification, and identification of plant pathogens and biocontrol agents. A second area of research focuses on environmental microbes that may play a role in the formation of precipitation. He teaches an interdisciplinary undergraduate course in Microbial Forensics and Biosecurity in which he covers concepts of biosecurity through examples of bioterrorism and natural disease epidemics of humans, animals, and plants. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed research articles and book-chapters.

Epidemiology and Forecasting Models

He is Professor of Microbiology and Plant Pathology at the University of Girona. He earned his graduate studies in Biology and PhD in Microbiology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1982). He created a Plant Pathology group at the University of Girona in 1986. and was visiting Lecturer in the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University (1994). His area of research and development is focused on Plant Pathology, in the field of biopesticides (microbial and antimicrobial peptides), and epidemiology and control of plant quarantine bacteria. His group have contributed to the field of biocontrol with several strains of beneficial bacteria producing functional peptides. He is inventor in several patents, and contributed to the creation of a spin-off company.

Biocontrol of Bacterial Diseases

Professor of plant pathology, plant bacteriologist and leader of the Faculty of Agriculture Laboratory for Phytobacteriology; Research focus: plant pathogenic bacteria associated with economically important crops grown in Serbia; Possesses an expertise in bacterial detection and identification, as well as in disease diagnosis, control and management; Created the biocontrol research program based on isolation and use of bacteriophages in control of plant pathogenic bacteria; Responsible for the Laboratory accreditation by National Plant Protection Directorate in monitoring several quarantine bacteria including X. fastidiosa; Participated in several national and international projects; Mentored five PhD theses; Member of the national Plant Protection Council.

Fire Blight Control: Innovation From Science to Field Applications

She is is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Vineland, Ontario, Canada, specializing in fire blight management and the development of biological control agents for the control of pre- and post-harvest pathogens. Current research includes management of young orchards to prevent fire blight infections and the development of a novel biopesticide that uses bacteriophages with a carrier bacteria Her ultimate goal is to keep on advertising (to any one that will listen) and promoting the importance of incorporating biologicals in fire blight control programs.

Improvements in Bacterial Wilt Biocontrol

She is scientific researcher at Plant Pathology Research Institute, Agric. Res. Centr. Egypt. She is specialised in management of potato brown rot disease and detection of its causal agent, Ralstonia solanacearum from its natural habitats (22 years). She worked in disease management with non-chemical approach such as Biological Soil Disinfestation (BSD), application of organic amendments, natural antioxidants and crop rotation as well as strengthen the efficiency of biocontrol agents. Her research focus in disease suppression, induced resistant and crop production in relation to soil microbial biodiversity.

Sustainable Strategies for the Control of Fastidious Bacteria and their Insect Vectors

She started her research in plant pathology on the detection and characterization of olive-infecting viruses developing protocols for virus detection and for setting in vitro cultures for virus elimination and sanitation. In 2003, she begun to work on the development of molecular tools for Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) and viroids, in Italy and then at the USDA in California in the framework of two stages funded by the CNR short-term mobility program 2006 and 2007. More recently she has extended her expertise in the field of the next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, by using this approach for metagenomic analysis of diseased trees affected by unknown causal agents. The results have contributed to the discovery and characterization of three novel citrus viruses: Citrus yellow vein clearing, Citrus chlorotic dwarf virus and Citrus virus A. During the last five years, she has extended her scientific interest to the development of several research programs on Xylella fastidiosa, at national and European level. She contributed to the first report of Xylella fastidiosa in Europe; to define the genetic relatedness of the Apulian strain to the X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca and to identify the first ascertained vector of X. fastidiosa in Italy (Philaenus spumarius). Recently, she contributed to fulfill the kock’s postulates on Xylella fastidiosa and the olive quick decline disease, and to obtain the first complete genome of a EU strain of X. fastidiosa. She currently coordinates the EU project H2020 XF-ACTORS “Xylella Fastidiosa Active Containment Through a multidisciplinary-Oriented Research Strategy” (2016-2020).

Production, Safety and Regulation of Biocontrol Agents

Mr. Nico Horn is Director-General of EPPO, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. He graduated in Plant Pathology from the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, where he also obtained a PhD degree in Plant Virology. He worked for many years in Asia and in Europe, setting up research in plant pathology, training plant pathologists, negotiating EU plant health legislation and working towards global harmonization of approaches in Plant Health. Since January 2019, he has been leading EPPO, an intergovernmental organization responsible for cooperation in plant health within the Euro-Mediterranean region. EPPO has 52 member countries and its objectives are to protect plants, by developing international strategies against the introduction and spread of pests which are a threat to agriculture, forestry and the environment, and by promoting safe and effective pest control methods. Setting Standards on the safe use of biological control is part of the core work programme of EPPO. Under this programme several Standards have been developed on import and use of biological control agents. Mr Horn is also the Editor-in-Chief of the EPPO Bulletin, which publishes many papers on biological control from around the EPPO region.

Science and Politics Meet Industry

She is involved in research of plant growth promoting microorganisms for 20 years, preferentially in study of biocontrol of soil borne pathogenic fungi. Since ten years she has been directly involved in the commercialization of biocontrol microbes, biostimulants and biofertilizers by registration of these product worldwide. Simultaneously via two trade organizations such as IBMA and EBIC, she is involved development of proposals on how to make EU regulatory environment more suitable for biological-based agricultural inputs.