EFS14 - EUROPEAN FUSARIUM SEMINAR
APR. 8 – 11, 2018
Update March 7., 2017: Speaker information updated.
Antonio Di Pietro is Professor of Genetics at the University of Córdoba. He received a M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree in Biology from University of Basel and was a Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and a visiting scientist at Novozymes Inc. in Davis, CA. He joined University of Córdoba in 1992 as a Marie Curie Fellow. His research is centred around the genetic bases and evolution of pathogenicity in fungi. His group has pioneered the use of trans-kingdom virulence models to study fungal infection on plant and animal hosts. Current interests include molecular fungus-plant signaling and the role of genome plasticity in pathogen adaptation.
Donald joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, in 2005 and is based in the Agriculture and Food unit. Prior to that he worked at the University of Queensland, Australia, in mammalian genomics. His doctoral research at the University of Melbourne investigated the molecular genetics of toxin biosynthesis in fungal pathogens of both plants and animals.
Since joining CSIRO he has worked with Fusarium pathogens including F. oxysporum, F. pseudograminearum and F. graminearum. For the wheat infecting Fusaria, the groups applies comparative genomics, functional analyses including forward and reverse genetics and biochemical analyses to understand how this group of pathogens is so successful against these important crops. Through these approaches the groups work has uncovered the importance of a pathogens ability to overcome host derived defence compounds. In some cases the ability of pathogens to overcome these defence compounds have been acquired via horizontal gene transfer including across biological kingdom boundaries from bacteria and signatures of these transfer events are evident in the genomes of these pathogens. His team also has a strong interest in understanding how toxins and secondary metabolites in general are synthesised and regulated by these pathogens.
Rudolf Krska is full professor for (Bio-)Analytics and Organic Trace Analysis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). He is head of the Center for Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Agrobiotechnology (IFA-Tulln) at BOKU with some 50 staff. From 2010-2015 Prof. Krska also served as head of the BOKU-department IFA-Tulln with more than 200 staff. He was also member of the Working Group Fusarium of the Scientific Panel on Contaminants of the European Food Safety Authority and worked for one year as A/Chief of Health Canada´s Food Research Division (2009/10) where he was responsible for the research on chemical contaminants in foods carried out within Health Canada´s National Food Chemical Safety Laboratory Network.
Prof. Rudolf Krska has received 10 scientific awards and is (co‑)author of more than 300 SCI publications (h-index: 52; citations in 2016: >1250). In 2015 and 2016, Thomson Reuters (Web of Science) identified Prof. Krska as one of the world’s most influential contemporary researchers due to his ranking among the top 1% most cited authors in the field of agricultural sciences. His current research interests are in the area of plant-fungi metabolomics, IR-spectroscopy and novel mass spectrometric methods for the determination of multiple mycotoxins including their conjugation and transformation products in food, feed and other biological matrices. As of March 2016, Prof. Krska acts as coordinator of the European Commission funded project MyToolBox (Safe Food and Feed through an Integrated ToolBox for Mycotoxin Management) with 23 partners (including 40% industry participation and 3 partners from China) and a funding volume of more than 6 Mio Euro. Since 2017, he is also Green Area Leader at the Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation (FFOQSI) with 18 company partners and a project volume of >5 Mio Euro.
Dr. Ajjamada C. Kushalappa, is a professor at McGill University, Quebec, Canada. Current focus of his research is on the identification of resistance genes in plants against biotic stress based on comprehensive transcriptomics and semi-comprehensive metabolomics, and use of these genes/gene segments to replace those that are polymorphic in commercial cultivars based on genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 system. His team has identified several R-genes in wheat against fusarium head blight and in potato against late blight. The mechanism of resistance is mainly due to resistance related metabolites, polymers and conjugates, that are deposited to reinforce the cell wall, thus containing the pathogen to initial infection. These metabolite biosynthetic genes are regulated by a hierarchy of genes, such as transcription factors, MAP kinases and receptors, following pathogen invasion. He was an invited speaker at several national and international conferences. He has published more than 100 papers and was awarded Dr. and Mrs. Bailey award, by the Canadian Phytopathological Society, for an exceptional and distinguished contribution to plant pathology.