Plenary speakers

Christophe Salon
UMR Agroecology, INRA
Dijon, France

Opening plenary
“Challenges and opportunities for innovative research on legume nutrition and stress adaptation: an ecophysiologist’s and phenotyping point of view”

Although Dr. Christophe Salon was first trained in research with a specialisation in Biochemistry, Molecular and Celular Biology, (Bordeaux University), his is speciliazed in plant ecophysiology. Dr Salon was Research Director of multiple INRA structures. He is in charge of operational management, budgeting, business and scientific strategies, staff training and development, human resources management.

Since 2012, Dr. Salon is Deputy Research Director of the largest Research Unit of INRA (UMR “Agroecology”, approx. 400 searchers and technicians) in which he manages i) the GEAPSI Research Group and the ii) the High Throughput Phenotyping facility Plant Phenotyping Platform for Plant and Microorganism Interaction (4PMI).

“Golden age of genebanks: using genetic diversity in the genomic era”

Studied at Charles University and Prague´s Agricultural University, graduating on plant biotechnology and molecular biology, conducting postdoctoral stays at ETH, Zurich and University of Freiburgh, Germany. Worked for 8 years at Agritec Plant Research, Ltd. CZ with focus on plant genetic resources diversity, particularly of pea germplasm. Holding university position at Palacky University Olomouc, CZ since 2011. Published 63 peer reviewed papers, several book chapters with H index of 19.

He is interested in genetic diversity and phylogeny of Fabeae tribe species and particularly in Pisum genus biogeography. The knowledge obtained by study of wild types and pea species is used to understand spatial diversity pattern in relationship to the geography and environment as well as to establish molecularly characterized introgression lines, useful both for basic research as well as in breeding.

Petr Smýkal
University in Olomouc
Czech Republic

Rajeev K. Varshney
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Hyderabad, India

“Translational genomics for accelerating genetic gains in legumes”

Professor Rajeev K Varshney, JC Bose National Fellow is a Research Program Director, Genetic Gains & Director, Center of Excellence in Genomics and Systems Biology at ICRISAT. In his dual appointment earlier, he served CGIAR Generation Challenge Program as Theme Leader for six years. Before joining ICRISAT in 2005, he worked at IPK-Gatersleben, Germany for five years. He is recognized as a leader in genome sequencing, genomics-assisted breeding, translational genomics and capacity building in international agriculture. He has made a pioneering contribution by integrating advanced discoveries in genomics with crop improvement in developing countries. Among different noted contributions, he has genome sequences of 9 crops including pigeonpea, chickpea, peanut and pearl millet and several molecular breeding products in chickpea, peanut and pigeonpea to his credit.

Rajeev is an elected fellow of all four science academies of India as well as several foreign science academies including German National Science Academy, The World Academy of Science, American Association for Advancement of Science, Crop Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy. He is recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award from Government of India amongst many prestigious awards. He has been recognized as highly cited researcher by Thomson Reuters (Clarivate Analytics) for last 5 years in row and one of 10 most influential Indian scientists by Times of India, a leading Indian daily newspaper.


„Diversification of feed protein sources for the food security – facts and myths”

Legumes geneticist and breeder. Employed in the Posnan Plant Breeders Ltd. (1972-1991) and the Institute of Plant Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań (2004-2011 – Director of the Institute).

Over 20 pea and lupin cultivars bred and 29 pea genes selected, described and localized. Co-author of consecutive, updated consensus Pisum maps. New Lupinus species, L. anatolicus and L. xhispanicoluteus described. Creator and manager of the Polish Pisum collection and the World Database of Lupinus collections. Author of 189 research papers.

V-ce president of the AEP (2001-2004), member of the CC of the Pisum Genetics Association (since 1984), member of the CC of the LS, corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (since 2007).

Wojciech Święcicki
Institute of Plant Genetics PAS

Alessio Scarafoni
University of Milan

“Legumes in Nutrition: Understanding and Applying Scientific Data Today”

Alessio Scarafoni is Associated Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Milano. He graduated MSc in Food Sciences and he got the PhD in Biochemistry. He is expert in protein purification and characterization.

His major scientific interests are in the field of structural/functional characterization of proteins, in particular seed storage proteins and enzyme inhibitors.
Research themes include the study of molecular and cellular aspects of deposition and mobilization of seed proteins, the in vivo and in vitro study of the biological action and properties of food-derived molecules, and the implementation of molecular methods applied to the analysis of food matrices.

“Improving nutritional and health-associated traits in Pisum sativum (pea)”

PROF. CLAIRE DOMONEY is Head of the Department of Metabolic Biology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK. She has extensive experience of research on seed quality in pea, focussing mainly on understanding the genetic basis for protein accumulation and its relevance to nutrition.
More recently, her work has extended to understanding the implications of variation in starch composition on human health. She uses a combination of metabolomic and genetic approaches to reveal links between pathways in developing grain legume seeds, generating germplasm which provide novel insights to legume seed traits.

By linking fundamental knowledge of metabolic processes to genes and QTL, her research provides tools, advanced knowledge and novel germplasm to breeding and end-use industries. Major partnerships are crucial to her work, including leadership of the Defra-funded Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network (PCGIN), and participation in EU and LINK consortia projects, all involving wide-ranging collaborations with breeders and additional industries.

Claire Domoney
John Innes Centre
Norwich, UK

Jeremy Murray
John Innes Centre/Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology
United Kingdom/China

“The Infectosome: A Novel Protein Complex Required for Polar Growth of Rhizobial Infection Threads”

Jeremy first began working on legumes during his PhD at the University of Guelph in Canada. He then carried out post docs at plant research institutes in Canada (SCPFRC, ON) and USA (Noble Foundation, OK) where he made discoveries using model legume systems which provided the first genetic evidence for the requirement of cytokinin in nodulation, and discovered VAPYRIN, a gene required for infection by both rhizobia and arbuscular mycorrhiza, which showed that the commonalities between the symbioses were not limited to signalling.

He then took up a David Phillips Fellowship at the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK) where his work included analysis of the rhizobial 'infectome' which revealed that root hair infection was associated with the activation of genes involved in the cell cycle and early auxin responses, and the discovery of a novel 'infectosome' complex required for polar growth of the infection thread.

In January 2018 he re-established his lab at the Shanghai Institute for Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE) in Shanghai, China, where his focus is on the mechanisms of endosymbiotic infection of legumes by rhizobia.

“Battle of the stresses: keeping pods and seeds”

Rosalind Bueckert is a crop physiologist in western Canada, working in teaching and research at the University of Saskatchewan since 2000. She obtained a BSc (Honours) in Agricultural Botany from Reading University, UK, followed by MSc, PhD and post-doctoral research in cotton and soybean physiology (Agronomy) at the University of Arkansas, USA. Her major research focus is abiotic stress physiology –yield response and crop adaptation to temperature and water, and nitrogen. She initially focused on lentil and faba nitrogen acquisition and legume yield formation but the last decade has been an excursion into pea reproductive response to heat stress.

Current projects include soybean physiology in northern latitudes, predicting pea heat response through leaf and pollen surface lipids, and lately, phenomics and canola nitrogen use efficiency. Her legume research is targeted at landscape, field, whole plant and organ levels, in collaboration with pulse breeding programs and more basic biology - reproductive and molecular specialists. The presentation at IL3 will bring together findings in lentil and pea yield formation, with a sortie into pea ovules, embryos and pods to highlight traits to improve cultivar yield in stress.

Rosalind Bueckert
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Canada

Judith Burstin
Dijon, France

“The pea genome and beyond”

Dr Judith BURSTIN is Director of research at INRA UMR1347 Dijon-France. With an initial background in agronomy, quantitative genetics and breeding, she has acquired competencies in genomics and post-genomics methodologies. Her research focuses on pea and aims at deciphering the control of seed yield and quality in the context of low-input farming systems and climate change. A major scope of her research is the molecular understanding of plant adaptation. She leads a group of 30 people.

She authored or co-authored more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed international journals. She has been coordinating several large projects such as the International Pea Genome Sequencing Consortium and the multi-disciplinary Investment for the Future project PEAMUST. She contributes in national and international organizations dealing with grain legumes and has been part of the organizing committee of major conferences on legumes.