Fall 2021 International Plant Breeding Seminar Series

Scheduled Seminars

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Dr. Paul Chavarriaga (Bioversity-CIAT, Colombia): Fostering agricultural development through gene editing in tropical crops.

OCTOBER 7, 2021

Professor Nigel Maxted (Univ. of Birmingham, UK): Genetic diversity: maximizing the founding resources for plant breeding

OCTOBER 14, 2021

Dr. Stephen Smith (Former Pioneer/DuPont, US): Estimating the Global Usage of Corn Belt Dent Germplasm: Implications for the Sustainable Use of Maize Genetic Resources.

OCTOBER 21, 2021

Professor Motoyuki Ashikari (Nagoya University, Japan): Rice breeding for Africa by using useful agricultural trait genes.

OCTOBER 28, 2021

Professor Susana Milla-Lewis (NC State University, US): Turfgrass breeding at NC State University: Finding commercial niches for a new public program.

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

Dr. Vincent Asiago (HM Clause, US): Strategic Portfolio Management and Innovation for a Global Vegetable Seed Company.

Fund Our Work

Support our efforts to advance international plant breeding research, education, and outreach.

Funds supporting the International Plant Breeding Enhancement Fund are collected and managed by The North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax id 56-6049304. You will receive an official receipt for your donation.

Dr. Paul Chavarriaga

  • Current role: Leader Platform for Advanced Breeding; International Center for Tropical Agriculture -CIAT
  • Biography: Graduated as a Biologist (Genetics Major) from Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, in 1986, with a Master of Arts from Washington University (St Louis, MO, USA), MSc in Botany from the University of Georgia (Athens, GA, USA), and PhD in Biology from Universidad del Valle. Joined CIAT in 1998 and currently leads the Platform for Advanced Breeding in the same institution, a laboratory dedicated to the genetic transformation and genome edition of tropical crops such as rice, cassava, cocoa and beans. Was also a professor of Molecular Biotechnology at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia, between 2012 and 2017. Has over 45 publications among indexed journals and book chapters and has been the director/co-director of over 20 theses for undergraduate and graduate students.

Professor Nigel Maxted

  • Current roles: Professor of Plant Genetic Conservation (Univ. of Birmingham, UK); International Science Advisor for Alliance of Biodiversity and CIAT, CoChair of IUCN Crop Wild Relative Specialist Group; Chair of European Wild Species Conservation in Genetic Reserve WG; Chair of UK Defra Plant Genetic Resources Committee; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Honorary research fellow (2013-2016); IUCN Plant Conservation Committee (2010-2017).
  • Previous roles after graduate school: International consultant for UN FAO, Bioversity International; UNDP Global Environmental Facility, ICARDA, Australian CLIMA, IUCN, WWF, European Commission, European Parliament and serval national governments.
  • Where did you attend graduate school? MPhil and PhD University of Southampton, UK
  • Where did you grow up? Cornwall and Kent, UK
  • A particular side of you, people should know: I worked as a farm hired man in Canada (Alberta) and US (Wisconsin) and now live on my own farm. I like to paint, but I am terrible!

Dr. Stephen Smith

Dr. Stephen Smith grew up on a farm in eastern England. He has a B.Sc. from the University of London, a M.Sc. in Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources; and a Ph.D. in Evolution of Maize, from the University of Birmingham, U.K. In 1977, he came to NCSU to do post-graduate research focusing on maize genetics, diversity, and evolution research using isozymes under Drs. Major. M. Goodman and Charles W. Stuber.

In 2015, he completed a 35 year scientific research career with Dupont Pioneer. He received the Henry A. Wallace Award for Revolution in agriculture and DuPont’s highest scientific recognition, the Lavoisier Medal for scientific achievement. During his tenure at Pioneer, he served on intellectual property committees of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the International Seed Federation (ISF). He developed expertise in legal aspects of germplasm and gene protection. He is a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America and an Honorary Member of ASTA and ISF. He is currently an affiliate Professor and visiting scientist in the Departments of Agronomy and Seed Science at Iowa State University, USA.

In his spare time, he plays the organ and works on various committees with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra having served as President of the Symphony Association and the Symphony Foundation Association. I am also a Board member of Living History Farms, an outdoor historical museum in Des Moines.

Professor Motoyuki Ashikari

  • Current roles: Professor(2007~), rice researcher (Nagoya University, Japan)
  • Previous roles after graduate school: Posdoc(1999~2000), assistant professor(2000~2004), Associate professor(2004~2007)
  • Where did you attend graduate school? Kyushu University, Japan
  • Where did you grow up? Ooita prefecture, Japan

Professor Susana Milla-Lewis

  • Current roles: Professor and University Faculty Scholar; Turfgrass breeding at NC State University (NCSU)
  • Previous roles after graduate school: Senior Researcher, Crop & Soil Sciences, NCSU 2004-2008; Assistant Professor, Crop & Soil Sciences, NCSU 2009-2015; Associate Professor, Crop & Soil Sciences, NCSU 2015-2021
  • Where did you attend graduate school? MS Tobacco Breeding, Crop & Soil Sciences, NCSU 1998; PhD Peanut Breeding, Crop & Soil Sciences, NCSU, 2003
  • Where did you grow up? Lima, Peru

Vincent Asiago

  • Current roles: Dr. Asiago is currently the Director of R&D Portfolio, Innovation, and Intellectual Property at HM.CLAUSE a business unit of Group Limagrain. HM.CLAUSE is an innovative global leader in the development, production, and commercialization of vegetable seeds. HM.CLAUSE belongs to the top 5 vegetable seed entities in the world. With over 2,000 varieties in more than 20 vegetable crops, HM.CLAUSE provides innovative solutions to growers worldwide.
  • Previous roles after graduate school: Vincent started his career at legacy DuPont Pioneer in Research and Development as a Research Scientist. He later moved to the Strategy and Business Development department as the Governance manager. Before joining HM.CLAUSE, Dr. Asiago worked for Corteva Agriscience as the Disruptive Business Innovation Process Leader. He was instrumental in designing and implementing a learning-based Innovation framework for differential management and investment of Corteva’s Disruptive Business Innovation Portfolio.
  • Where did you attend graduate school? Dr. Asiago holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue University, Indiana. He is a certified Program Management Professional (PMP) and is a graduate from the Ivy College of Business School with an executive MBA program from Iowa State University, Iowa.