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Keynote Speakers

Monday 19 September & Tuesday 20 September

Ivan Baxter
USDA-ARS/Danforth Centre (St Louis), USA

Professor Iain Young
University of New England

Dr Xavier Sirault
Australian Plant Phenomics Facility

Dr Llorenc Cabrera-Bosquet
INRA, France

Wednesday 21 September and Thursday 22 September

Professor Jennifer McElwain
University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr Bruce Bugbee
Utah State University

Dr Michael Chelle

Public Seminar - Shine Dome
Held in conjunction with the Australian Academy of Science
Wednesday 21 September, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Dr Gioia Masa
NASA Kennedy Space Centre, USA

Dr Ray Wheeler
NASA Kennedy Space Centre, USA

Dr Cary Mitchell
Purdue University, Indiana, USA

Dr Ivan Baxter

Ivan’s research uses high-throughput elemental profiling to measure the elemental composition of plant tissues including soybean seeds and corn kernels. These data are used to perform genetics and modeling to understand how the interactions of elements, genes and the environment determine the elemental composition of plants and allow plants to adapt to different environments.

Dr. Bruce Bugbee

Dr. Bugbee’s career has been guided by the idea that teaching is the highest form of understanding. Over a 34 year career he has mentored 33 graduate students. Six of his students are now on the faculty at other universities.

He is internationally known for his research with NASA. He and his students developed a dwarf variety of wheat that has been used in studies on the Space Station and he is currently studying the use of fiber optics for growing plants in space.

He recently gave a TEDx talk entitled: “Turning water into food.”

Dr Llorenc Cabrera-Bosquet

Llorenç Cabrera-Bosquet is a research engineer at INRA-LEPSE in Montpellier, France. He obtained a PhD in Plant Ecophysiology from the University of Barcelona and CIMMYT where he studied the use of stable isotopes to assess plant performance and stress adaptation in different cereal species under controlled conditions and in the field. Since September 2013 he is the technical coordinator of the PhenoArch high-throughput plant phenotyping platform where he develops and combines tools and methods to characterize the environmental conditions as sensed by individual plants and to estimate plant growth, architecture and transpiration, with the final aim to extract valuable traits that can be used in crop modelling and genetics. He is also the technical coordinator across the French Plant Phenotyping Network.

Dr Michaël Chelle

Michaël Chelle is research director at INRA, France. He is senior scientist in bioclimatology with a strong focus on 3D modelling (mainly for radiation) and has a liking for interdisciplinary approach, as shows his scientific background (engineering degree in agronomy, 1992; MS and PhD in computer science applied to physics, 1997; Accreditation to Supervise Research (HDR) in plant science, 2008). He has developed research on the physical environment perceived by individual plant organs (phylloclimate) and on its interaction with plant and pathogens functioning. He has led the team of plant ecophysiology at INRA Grignon until this year. His current research focus on the response of foliar fungal pathogen to leaf temperature as well as modeling the fluorescence radiance going out vegetation. In 2015, he has been nominated deputy scientific delegate to the digital transformation at INRA headquarter. Last, since 2013, he has represented Europe in the board supervising the Function-Structure Plant Modeling (FSPM) workshop series, where phenotyping questions clearly arise.

Dr Gioia Masa

Gioia Massa is a NASA scientist at Kennedy Space Center in Florida working on food production for the International Space Station (ISS) and future exploration endeavors. She led the science team for the Veggie hardware validation on ISS and she heads an interdisciplinary group to study fertilizer and light impacts on nutrition and flavor of Veggie-grown crops. In addition to Veggie she helps with science needs for other space station hardware and works with external investigators to get their science to function on station. She also is involved with education and outreach programs related to plants in space.

Gioia became interested in growing plants in space in an agriculture class when she was 12 years old. She has a BS in Plant Science from Cornell University (with a wonderful semester at University of Tasmania in 1994), a PhD in Plant Biology from Penn State, and postdoctoral research from Purdue University. Her work has spanned the spectrum of plant space biology and bioregenerative life support.
Her goal give residents at a habitat on Mars in the future a better quality of life in that extreme environment, where they will be able to enjoy the sight, smell, taste, and nutrition of green growing plants. Her passion is to enable NASA’s grand challenge of space colonization as humanity transitions from a planet-bound to a spacefaring civilization.

Professor Jennifer McElwain

Professor Jennifer McElwain is a research leader in Earth system science and plant biology. She is an Associate Professor of University College Dublin’s School of Biology and Environmental Science, member of UCD’s Earth Institute and Director of the Programme for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate (PEAC) facility. Over the past 20 years her research and teaching have focused on the development and use of palaeobiological proxies to understand the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and climate on multimillion year timescales and how fluctuations in both have influenced large scale patterns in plant evolution and ecology throughout Earth history. Controlled Environment Chamber experiments are used in her research programme to calibrate palaeobiological proxies and investigate plant-atmosphere interactions.

Dr Cary Mitchell

Cary Mitchell comes from a home background in the garden center / nursery / landscape industry, received a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Illinois, a Master’s degree in Horticulture from Cornell University, and a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of California at Davis. In his role as a faculty member in Horticulture at Purdue University, Mitchell has taught courses in environmental plant physiology, plant growth and development, controlled environment agriculture, photobiology, aquaponics, and others. His early research on mechanical stress physiology of plants led to association with NASA’s Space Biology program. His space life science connection gradually segued to involvement with NASA’s first generation Controlled Ecological Life-Support System (CELSS) program, which gradually evolved into NASA’s Advanced Life-support (ALS) program. Mitchell became Director of two NASA Specialized Centers of Research and Training (NSCORTs) in bioregenerative and advanced life support, respectively, and between NSCORTs served as Program Scientist for the Gravitational Biology and Ecology program at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He has served as President of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology as well as for the American Society for Horticultural Science, and is a fellow of ASHS. In 2012, Mitchell received the AIAA Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award for outstanding contributions to space life sciences through ground-based research and project leadership. Mitchell recently served as Director of a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project to develop LED lighting technology and practices for sustainable specialty-crop production. He credits NASA with providing the leadership and funding for advances in lighting technology that have enabled CEA development on Earth to develop into a current growth industry with importance for food production on Earth as well as in space.

Dr Ray Wheeler

Ray Wheeler is a plant physiologist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) where currently leads the KSC’s Advanced Life Support research efforts. Ray did his graduate work at Utah State University studying plant gravitational responses, and then went to postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin, where he studied potatoes as a candidate crop for space life support systems. Ray moved to Kennedy Space Center, Florida in 1988, where he has studied controlled environment production of crops for human space travel. His NASA research has focused on hydroponic cultivation approaches, studies of CO2 and light responses in plants, and whole canopy photosynthetic measurements. Ray is the author or co-author of over 240 scientific publications, he has received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, the USDA/ARS B.Y. Morrison Lecturer Award, NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal, the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Founder’s Award, and he currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Life Sciences Commission of the International Committee for Space Research (COSPAR). Throughout his career, Ray has held adjunct or courtesy appointments at the University of Florida, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, University of Arizona, Cornell University, and Utah State University.