Tabare Abadie, Senior Research Manager at DuPont Pioneer

With almost 35 years of career in Plant Breeding, his areas of interest include Technological Change in Large Organizations, Career Development, Education and Mentoring, and he has worked on a range of species including Maize, Wheat, Barley, Rice, Cassava and Forages. Currently in DuPont Pioneer, Tabare leads a group responsible for the deployment of Molecular Breeding across species globally. Before coming to Iowa, Tabare was a Wheat and Barley Breeder at La Estanzuela and a Full Professor in Plant Breeding at the Universidad de la Republica (Uruguay), and served as consultant for EMBRAPA CENARGEM (Brazil). Tabare earned an Engineering degree from the Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo (Uruguay), a Diploma of High Studies from the University of Birmingham (UK), a PhD in Plant Breeding and Quantitative Genetics from the University of Minnesota, and did post doc work at GRCP in UC Davis.


 Jorge Dubcovsky, University of California, Davis

Jorge Dubcovsky received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his career at U.C. Davis as a visiting scientist with Dr. Jan Dvorak in 1992 and later joined the professorial ranks in the Department of Plant Sciences. Dr. Dubcovsky now leads the U.C. Davis Wheat Breeding Program and Wheat Molecular Genetics Laboratory. For the last 12 years he has been the project director of successful Nation-wide projects to implement marker assisted selection in public wheat breeding programs. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, fellow of the CSSA and ASA and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Researcher. He is author of more than 173 publications that had a significant impact on wheat genetics (~8400 cross-references). He has generated 8 PVP patents for wheat varieties and 4 patents for discovered genes. He also has served as major professor for 7 M.S. and 12 Ph.D. students. The major goal of Dr. Dubcovsky’s research program are to gain a better understanding of the effects of allelic variants of wheat genes that are relevant to agriculture and to develop the tools required for an efficient manipulation of these genes in wheat improvement.


Janny Van Beem Plant,CGIAR International Potato Center (CIP), Peru

Janny van Beem Plant is a breeder/geneticist with experience in acquisition, conservation and distribution of genetic resources, with particular focus on the exchange of germplasm designated to the Multilateral System of the International Treaty. She received her doctorate degree from Cornell University and has worked in conservation and crop improvement of maize, beans, wheat and potato. Janny is also ISO manager for the International Potato Center (CIP) where she has worked for the last four years. She currently resides in Lima, Peru and may be contacted at


Michael Mazourek, Cornell University
The general focus of his research program is innovation of vegetables for adaptation for production in the Northeastern US of improved quality and nutrition for consumers. Much of his selection is done in Organic systems that represent a more natural environment, which allows for the creation of new varieties that better contain otherwise cryptic factors that allow for crop production with fewer synthetic inputs, as well as identify testable hypotheses regarding the genetic nature of these factors. These studies take place with pepper, squash, cucumber, melon, watermelon, and snap peas using genomics, genetics, molecular biology, field trials or analytical chemistry. The resulting germplasm and knowledge is shared with global partners that are dealing with the same issues in their diverse regions.


Hillary Sullivan, Research Director, DuPont Pioneer

Hillary Sullivan is director of GMT Core Technologies within the Global Marker Technologies program at DuPont Pioneer.   Hillary joined Pioneer in 1996 as a Research Associate in the Molecular Marker lab and since that time has held a number of roles with increasing responsibility, including Sr Research Manager in the Molecular Marker and Global Marker Technologies labs.  Today, Hillary leads a team responsible for the research and development of enabling technologies, the global deployment of molecular marker platforms and for the development and implementation of the global assay supply strategy.  As a result of her contributions to the advancement of marker technologies, she was recently recognized as a finalist for the Women of Iowa Innovation Awards. Hillary’s team was recognized in the 2011 Excellence awards.

Hillary attended the College of Graduate Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina, with a focus in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathology; and she holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College in Winter Park Florida.


Peggy G. Lemaux, Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Although not formally trained in plant biology, Peggy Lemaux was drawn to research aimed at improving agriculture because of her experiences growing up on a small farm in northwestern Ohio. She got her Bachelor’s degree at Miami University in Oxford OH and her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. After postdoctoral positions at Stanford and the Carnegie Institute of Washington, Department of Plant Biology, also at Stanford, she worked at DeKalb Plant Genetics where their group was the first to successfully engineer maize. She joined the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley in 1991 as a Cooperative Extension Specialist, the responsibilities of which are two-fold. The first is to conduct applied research, which for the most part has focused on engineering cereal crops. In her second role, she develops educational programming to increase public understanding of agricultural practices, food production and the impact of new technologies on food and agriculture. Lemaux’s research centers on the use of engineering and genomic technologies to understand and improve cereals, like wheat, barley and sorghum. Applied projects include development of faster germinating barley with improved starch characteristics for the brewing industry, a hypoallergenic wheat variety for consumers with wheat allergies, preharvest sprouting-tolerant wheat to ameliorate impacts of climate change and the nutritional enhancement of sorghum for Africa. Most recently she became involved in a DOE project to make drop-in fuels in tobacco leaves by engineering them with algal genes. Lemaux is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Agronomy and the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and is currently their immediate past president. She received ASPB’s Hoagland award for outstanding contributions to agriculture and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of In Vitro Biology.


Howard Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars Incorporated
Howard-Yana Shapiro is the Chief Agricultural Officer at Mars, Incorporated, as Distinguished Fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre and a Senior Fellow at UC Davis. Howard has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 40 years having released hundreds of cultivars into the public domain. He has worked with indigenous communities, NGO’s, governmental agencies and the private sector around the world. A former university professor for 15 years, Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow, in 2007 Howard was made a Fellow of the World Agroforestry Centre and authored the IAASTD chapter on Biotechnology and Biodiversity. He was a founding member of the Keystone Roundtable on Sustainable Agriculture, co-chair of the 1st and 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry and is Chairperson of the External Advisory Board of the Agriculture Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. In 2009 Howard was named recipient of The Award of Distinction from The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis. He led the global effort to sequence, assemble and annotate the Theobroma cacao genome and is part of the leadership team for the Arachis genome global effort. In 2010 he was named a Senior Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. In September 2011, he announced the formation of the African Orphan Crops Consortium, set up to sequence, assemble and annotate 100 of the key African food crops in order to breed more nutritious plants as well as to train senior scientists and technicians on the methods of marker assisted selection and breeding to speed new cultivars to the African rural population. In December, 2013 the first class of breeders enrolled in the academy at in Nairobi, Kenya, a collaborative effort of the Orphan Crops Initiative, the World Agroforestry Centre the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center.