Features

Segenet Kelemu  Dr. Segenet Kelemu
Director General & CEO, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
Dr. Segenet Kelemnu is the Director General & CEO of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead icipe. In 2007, after more than 25 years in the United States of America and Latin America applying cutting-edge science that saw her garner numerous professional and state honours for an exceptional career as a scientist, Dr. Kelemu, returned from the diaspora to contribute to Africa’s development. Dr. Kelemu is a 2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science Awards, and one of the top 100 most influential African women featured in the May 2014 Edition of Forbes Africa. Dr. Kelemu was listed among the 10 most influential African women in agriculture by the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. 

In January 2018, she was recognised by Bill Gates, as one of five ‘Heroes in the Field’ who are using their talents to fight poverty, hunger and disease, and providing opportunities for the next generation. The ‘heroes in the field’ have been featured in a Time magazine article guest edited by Mr. Gates; a short video that he has narrated; on his blog; on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Facebook page, and through a series of tweets from Mr. Gates. 

In April 2018, the Women Economic Forum awarded Dr. Kelemu their highest award “Woman of the Decade in Natural and Sustainable Ecosystems” for outstanding leadership. In 2018, she has been featured in The CEO Magazine, Australia, as one of the six exceptional leaders from around the world, breaking ground and shattering the glass ceiling.

She has been received other awards and recognitions including the TWAS Prize for Agricultural Sciences (2011) and an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University for her professional contributions to society (2015). She has been featured in “the Mind of the Universe”, the BBC, CNN’s African Voices, The EastAfrican among others. She serves in various Boards, advisory panels in major global initiatives and has served in international juries of key science awards. 

In April 2019, Dr Kelemu was been selected a 2019 College of Agriculture Alumni Fellow of Kansas State University, USA. Dr Kelemu earned a PhD in molecular biology and plant pathology from Kansas State University in 1989, after attaining an MSc at Montana State, USA, in 1985, and a Bachelors degree from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, in 1979. 
Lisa Ainsworth Lisa Ainsworth, Professor of Plant Biology, USDA ARS Photosynthesis Research Unit, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Lisa Ainsworth is the Research Leader of the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit and an Adjunct Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She received her BS in Biology at UCLA and PhD in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her research aims to improve crop responses to global atmospheric change, including rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone pollution. Lisa serves the on editorial board for Plant Physiology and Plant, Cell & Environment. She has held leadership roles in the American Society of Plant Biologists, the International Society for Photosynthesis Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. In 2019, Lisa was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Howdy Bouis Howdy Bouis
Founding Director and Interim CEO, HarvestPlus
As director of HarvestPlus (2003-2016), Howarth Bouis coordinated an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional effort to develop, test, and disseminate micronutrient-rich staple food crops to reduce mineral and vitamin deficiencies among malnourished populations in developing countries. Since 1993, he has sought to promote biofortification globally.  In 2016, Bouis was awarded the World Food Prize, in recognition of the accomplishments of the HarvestPlus team.

Dr. Bouis received his B.A. in economics from Stanford University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Food Research Institute, a program in agricultural economics.   His past research at the International Food Policy Research Institute (he joined IFPRI in 1982 as post-doctoral fellow) focused on how economic factors affect food demand and nutrition outcomes.

During 2018 and until June 30, 2019, Dr. Bouis served as the interim CEO of HarvestPlus.  He now resides in the Philippines, working for HarvestPlus as Founding Director, and is an Institute Fellow of IFPRI.   In addition, he chairs the Board of Trustees of the Micronutrient Forum.  In 2017, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, by the University of Greenwich.

Prior to beginning his graduate studies, Bouis worked for three years (1972-75) as a volunteer in the Philippines with Volunteers in Asia.
Elizabeth Bryan Elizabeth Bryan
Senior Scientist, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Elizabeth Bryan is a Senior Scientist in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where she conducts policy-relevant research on sustainable agricultural production, natural resource management, climate smart agriculture, gender, small-scale irrigation, and the water-energy-food nexus. Her current work focuses on trade-offs and synergies across the intersection of climate-smart agriculture, nutrition, gender, and the environment. Prior to joining IFPRI, Elizabeth worked at the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Group and the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has published widely on gender and climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa. Elizabeth holds an M.A. in International Development from American University.
Eric Danquah Eric Danquah
Professor & Director, West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana
Eric Yirenkyi Danquah is a Professor of Plant Genetics at the Department of Crop Science of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana. He is a recipient of the University of Ghana Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service, 2013, a member of the IAEA’s Standing Advisory Group on Nuclear Applications and the 2018 GCHERA World Agriculture Prize Laureate.   He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and a Visiting Scientist at IP-CALS, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University. He was a Visiting Scientist at the BBSRC-Long Ashton Research Institute, UK from 2000 to 2001. Currently, he serves as the Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement, established in the University in 2007 as a consequence of his shared vision and leadership to train a new generation of plant breeders to develop improved varieties of the staple crops of West and Central Africa. In February 1994, he was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2001, Associate Professor in 2004 and Full Professor in 2007.  He has served the University in several capacities. He was Senior Tutor of Legon Hall from 2002 to 2005, Head of Department of Crop Science from 2005 to 2006 and Dean of International Programmes from 2006 to 2009. He is currently a member of the Business and Executive Committee. He was the Assessor for Sciences on the Appointments Board of the University of Ghana from 2012 to 2016. He has sat on the Finance and Estimates Committees and served on a number of other committees in the University. He is a former Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana.
 
Professor Danquah’s professional focus is on genetic diversity in crop plants and associated pests and how diversity relates to performance. He has consulted for the Science Council of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the USAID and participated in over 130 international meetings in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and the United Kingdom. In 2008, he served on a six-member international panel that reviewed the International Crops Research Centre for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India. He was a member of the IFAD International Review Team that evaluated the 10 million US dollar Root and Tuber Improvement Programme in Ghana in 2003. He was also a member of the international peer-review committee of the Volkswagen Foundation’s Africa initiative on “Resources, their dynamics and sustainability - Capacity Development and Comparative and Integrative Approaches” in 2009 and 2010 and a member of the Steering and Advisory Committee of the CGIAR Dryland Cereals research project led by ICRISAT, 2014 - 2017. He is a member of the Maize Genetics Executive Committee, a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for African Leadership Investment and Development, Leipzig, Germany, a member of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded AfricaYam Project based at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria and a member of the Advisory and Management Board of the African Centre for Crop Improvement, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Professor Danquah has attracted over US$ 30 million to the University of Ghana for research and development projects, including the US$8 million World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence Project as Principal Investigator and a competitive research grant of US$ 1 million as Principal Investigator from the African Union Commission and European Union for research on food and nutrition security in some selected crops. He has facilitated the establishment of several link programmes some of which have opened opportunities for PhD placements for UG students in world-class universities. He was instrumental in securing funding for the University of Ghana Water Augmentation Programme in the mid-2000s. He has 109 refereed journal articles, 4 books, a book chapter and over 40 other publications to his credit. His WACCI project has enrolled 126 PhD students in Plant Breeding from 19 African counties and graduated 66 students who are leading plant breeding programmes in National Agricultural Research Institutions in Africa. He has also introduced a new Masters programme in Seed Science and Technology, which has attracted 49 students in four years. Three improved maize hybrids which yield between 9-11 t/ha have been released by WACCI for commercialization in Ghana under his leadership. He has a passion for and a commitment to appropriate organisational functioning and the use of science for development and has mentored many young academics. He also has the flair for farming and has engaged farmers over many decades in best practices. He serves on the Advisory Board to the Federation of Young Farmers, Ghana and is the Chairman of the Advisory and Oversight Board of the Samira Empowerment & Humanitarian Projects, Ghana. He is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth and Cambridge Philosophical Societies.  

He holds a BSc. degree in Agriculture (Crop Science) from the University of Ghana, an MPhil degree in Plant Breeding and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Rob Horsch Rob Horsch
Advocate of Innovation and Equity
Dr. Rob Horsch recently retired from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which he joined in November 2006 to develop and lead the science and technology initiative of the agricultural development program.  He managed a team of program officers and other staff that makes and managed a large and diverse portfolio of research and development grants aimed at improving the productivity of small holder farmers by improving the crops that poor farmers raise, and poor consumers eat. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, and as an Advisor to the Global Commission on Climate Adaptation and to the Global Farmer Network. 

Rob is a leader in the effort to create agricultural technologies that help improve yields and incomes for farmers around the world.  He joined Monsanto in 1981 and led the company's plant tissue culture and transformation efforts until 1995. In that capacity, he contributed to the development of the Bollgard, Yieldgard, and Roundup Ready traits in broad use today and directed an expanding research group to apply genetic transformation technology to many important crops, including potato, tomato, cotton, soybean, corn and wheat. From 1996 to 2005 he led the companies programs for International Development Partnerships with responsibility to help small-holder farmers in developing countries gain access to better agricultural products and technologies. 

Rob received his Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of California, Riverside, in 1979, and then conducted postdoctoral work in plant physiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He has served on the editorial boards of several leading journals in the plant sciences and as an advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He was awarded the 1998 National Medal of Technology by President Clinton for contributions to the development of agricultural biotechnology.
Jonathan Jenkinson
Jonathan Jenkinson
Head of Analytics and Pipeline Design, Global Plant Breeding, Bayer Crop Science
Twitter: @Jonathan_Jenk

Jonathan Jenkinson currently serves as Head of Analytics and Pipeline Design and is a member of the Plant Breeding Leadership Team for the Crop Science division of Bayer. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Jonathan leads a team of scientists who strive to deliver the latest data science and genomic tools to plants breeders who develop industry leading products for farmers around
the world.

Jonathan came to Bayer in 2018 after working at Monsanto for 22 years Throughout his 22-year career tenure, Jonathan has held several roles in the Global Plant Breeding organization including managing a soybean breeding program in Canada, leading corn and canola breeding programs across North America, and leading corn and cotton breeding teams across the Asia and Africa regions.

Jonathan holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from Iowa State University. Jonathan and his wife, Alison, live in the St. Louis area, have two boys: Evan and Connor, and a dog named Reggie. Outside of work, Jonathan enjoys coaching his sons’ hockey teams, hiking, camping, fishing, and sailing.
Thomas Juenger
Thomas Juenger
Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Tom Juenger is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral research at the University of California Berkeley as a Miller Fellow. Tom’s research focuses on interface of ecological and evolutionary quantitative genetics in natural plant populations. Much of his research has focused on studies of the genetics of physiological traits, abiotic stress tolerance, local adaptation and gene-by-environment interaction. His lab uses a variety of tools including statistical genetic analyses, quantitative trait locus (QTL) and association mapping, studies of gene expression, and genome sequencing. A longstanding effort has centered on the identification and characterization of genes underlying drought adaptation and physiology among natural populations collected from diverse habitats. More recently, we have begun several projects exploring plant stress responses to climate change and local adaptation in C4 perennial grasses.
Rolf Klemm
Rolf Klemm
Vice President for Nutrition, Helen Keller International and Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Rolf Klemm is the Vice President for Nutrition at Helen Keller International and a Senior Associate in the Program for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Klemm has >30 years of professional experience in international public health nutrition including roles as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Country Director for Helen Keller International (Philippines), Technical Director of USAID’s flagship A2Z micronutrient program, and Hopkins faculty member and principle/co-investigator for micronutrient and child growth intervention trials in Asia and Africa.  Rolf holds an MPH and Dr PH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and has published >45 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Sally Mallowa
Sally Mallowa
Plant pathologist, Food Security, Gender & Education Advocacy, Augustana University
Sally Mallowa is a plant pathologist by training, as well as a food-security and youth education advocate. She is a member of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), the Global Cassava Partnership (GCP 21) and has an affiliation with Science Center Kenya amongst others. Within APS, she is the current chair for the Committee for Diversity and Equality and also serves as lead for the Scientific Ambassador Program within APS- Office for International Programs. She has served as session chair within APS and GCP21 for matters related to women, youth and minorities as skilled professionals and growers.

She has been the recipient of several awards including 2015, APS-OIP Global Experience award, for a multi-institutional extension and teaching project on cassava brown streak disease. The 2016, Steven C Nelson Professional Development Award to represent APS at the British Society for Plant Pathology Meeting in Oxford. She is also the recipient of the GCP 21 2016, Next Generation Female Cassava Scientist Award. In 2019, she was nominated as an APS Leadership Institute Fellow and will represent APS at the Brazilian Phytopathological Society 2019 meeting.

She has been working on different aspects of cassava research and capacity building since 2001, and is now a champion for the crop and is interested in development of teaching tools to educate the youth in Africa and the world about cassava, its importance and potential for transformation. She loves communicating about the contribution of cassava and other agricultural research to development in Africa. She is the coordinator of the Sam & Hannah Obura Education Awards, that since 2015, has raised tuition scholarships for over 125 students interested in Biology and Agricultural Sciences in Western Kenya.

Currently she is an assistant professor of plant pathology at Augustana University in Sioux Falls South Dakota, USA. She teaches courses in General Biology for majors and non-majors, she developed a case study teaching tool, to inform students about cassava and increase student’s global competence. She teaches an upper level undergraduate course on Global Food Security and Plant Pathology and a study abroad course to East Africa on Food Security and Education.
Allison Miller
Allison Miller
Member and Principal Investigator Professor, Saint Louis University
Allison Miller is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Saint Louis University and a Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. She is also a Research Associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Her research program investigates evolutionary processes in contemporary and emerging perennial crops and their wild relatives. Ongoing work in her group focuses on grapevines, perennial, herbaceous legumes, and tropical fruit trees. Originally from the Chicago area, Allison became interested in plants through trips to nearby prairie patches and summer vacations in northern Wisconsin. She earned BS and MS degrees in Botany from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and Colorado State University respectively, and holds a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. She is passionate about uniting botanical diversity research with plant breeding communities to facilitate crop improvement, sustainable agriculture, and the conservation of crop genetic resources. More information is available on the Miller Lab Website or on twitter @ajmiller4233
Shanti Parikh
Shanti Parikh
Associate Professor of Anthropology and of African and African-American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
Professor Shanti Parikh is in the Departments of Anthropology and African & African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She has researched various aspects of gender and inequality in agrarian Africa for the past 20+ years. Her particular interests are around gender, health, sexuality and unintended consequences of global interventions. She has spoken widely on how gender, sexuality, race and other forms of inequality intersect to shape risk for HIV transmission and impact households and communities. In addition to numerous articles, she is author of two books -- Regulating Romance: Youth Love Letters, Moral Anxiety, and Intervention in Uganda's Time of AIDS (2015) and The Secret: Love, Marriage, and HIV (2009). Her work has been funded by the NIH, Fulbright, CDC, and Andrew Mellon Foundation to name a few.

She is currently working on two projects -- one on Black masculinity along the TransAfrica Highway and the other on extractive economies and commercial sex work in Uganda in truckstops, fishing communities, and sugar growing areas. She is the Director of Behavioral Intervention for the CDC's capacity building project on PrEP for the mid-west region, which includes 11 states. She has consulted on gender and sexual health programs and policies around the world, including the Caribbean, India, and the U.S. 

Professor Parikh is highly involved in civic engagements in the St. Louis region, having served as past Board Chair of Planned Parenthood, Board Vice Chair of St. Louis Effort for AIDS, and on the boards of Public Radio/NPR, the Deaconess Foundation, and Safe Connections. Her contributions to the region have been recognized by The Business Journal's list of 7 Women to Watch, Alive Magazine's Influential Power Couples, the NAACP's Impact Players, Women's Network's Women of Distinction, and the Rosa Park's Citizen's Award

She holds a BS in Finance from the University of Virginia and a PhD from Yale University, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya where she served as a small business advisor for farmers and women's groups.  She and her husband have two active boys ages 9 and 11.
Vivian Polar
Vivian Polar
Gender, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB)
RTB leads the CGIAR Gender and Breeding Initiative that works to develop strategies for gender-responsive breeding with supporting methods, tools and practices.

Dr. Polar is a specialist on gender and inclusion with 15 years of experience working directly with women and indigenous groups in rural communities, on agricultural technology innovation, adaptation to climate change and food security. She has skills in gender analysis, project design, monitoring and evaluation.  Dr. Polar currently leads the Gender Research and Inclusion Agenda in RTB. She previously worked with PROINPA Foundation in Bolivia coordinating the multidisciplinary teams in the quinoa breeding program. Her current areas of research include gender-responsive breeding and gender-responsive scaling of agricultural innovations. She holds a PhD in Finance and Management from SOAS University of London, with emphasis on participation, empowerment and agricultural technology innovation.
Inez H. Slamet-Loedin
Inez H. Slamet-Loedin
Cluster Lead-Trait and Genome Engineering, International Rice Research Institute

Inez Slamet-Loedin is a Cluster Leader of the Trait and Genome Engineering-Strategic Innovation Platform at The International Rice Research Institute. She is an elected fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries, and an adjunct professor at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.  She has over 25 years of experience working on genetic engineering and recently genome editing for rice improvement. Her current major research focus now is rice biofortification.

Over the course of her career she has worked for Indonesian Institute of Sciences (IIS), ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST)-sub committee on biotechnology, UNEP consultant, a CBD expert on biosafety clearing-house and a member of Indonesian biosafety technical team. She was a Rockefeller Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular Plant Science- Leiden University and obtained a Ph.D. degree the University of Nottingham, UK, and agriculture engineer degree at the IPB Bogor, Indonesia. She received the Indonesian Presidential and ministry agricultural awards for advancement of biotechnology for food security in Indonesia, and IIS best young scientist award.  In 2017, her research team received IRRI Best Scientific team award, and the Los Baños Science community award. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Inez_Slamet-Loedin/publications
Dominique Van Der Straeten
Dominique Van Der Straeten
Professor of Plant Physiology, Research Director, Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology, Ghent University

Dominique Van Der Straeten is a senior full professor at Ghent University, and research director of the Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology

With a fellowship of the British Council, she conducted pre-doctoral research at the University of Reading (UK), under supervision of Prof. J.B. Harborne. She was awarded a PhD fellowship from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) to start her doctoral thesis at Harvard University (Boston, MA, USA) under the guidance of Prof. H.M. Goodman, continued at Ghent University in the laboratory of Prof. M. Van Montagu. For her PhD on ACC synthases, Dominique was awarded the Soenen Prize for Plant Breeding and nominated Laureate of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Literature and Fine Arts of Belgium. Shortly before earning her PhD degree, she initiated research on remote imaging of plant stress. In this context, she conducted a brief post-doctoral stay at the University of Utrecht (NL) with Prof. H. Lambers, and was a pioneer on remote detection of plant disease and nutrient stress using multispectral imaging. Dynamic visualization of biological phenomena remained a fascination which she kept carrying along. She further expanded the ethylene research to signal crosstalk with other hormones and light. Last but not least, while being a fundamental scientist at heart, she initiated research on biofortification of crop plants, driven by the aspiration to contribute more directly to society. 
D. Van Der Straeten was affiliated to the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) for 16 years (from Research Assistant to Research Director). She was a visiting professor in Ecuador, Thailand, and Brazil. She published over 200 contributions indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection. Thus far, 22 students have completed their PhD under her guidance. As a course responsible, Dominique teaches 5 courses related to plant physiology and plant molecular biology, to Bachelor and Masters students in Biochemistry & Biotechnology, and in Biology.

She is an elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.
Hale Ann Tufan Hale Ann Tufan
Associate Director for Gender, International Programs CALS

Hale Ann Tufan is the co-Director of the Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project, Associate Director for Gender for International Programs, and International Adjunct Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University. She has a multidisciplinary background spanning Ph.D.-level research in molecular plant pathogen interactions, plant breeding with CIMMYT, international agricultural research for development program management, and gender capacity and strategy development across SSA. 

Her work focuses on building gender responsive agricultural research systems, through curriculum development and training delivery for GREAT, and leading research on priority setting, market research, gender research and on-farm testing for the Nextgen Cassava project and gender, quality trait preference profiling, and participatory processing evaluation for the RTBfoods project.

She completed her PhD in molecular biology from the John Innes Centre, UK.
For questions, please contact Tam McGuire by email at tmcguire@danforthcenter.org or by phone at 314-587-1403.