Keynote Sessions

The ICPP2018 Organizing Committee is pleased to announce the following keynote session topics and speakers. These sessions are open to all ICPP2018 participants. No other programming is scheduled during these sessions.


Keynote Session I:
Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security


Lise Korsten, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa


ISPP Task Force on Food Global Security
  • Lise Korsten, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
  • Fen Beed, World Vegetable Center, Thailand
  • Eric Craswell, Australian National University, Australia
  • Etienne Duveiller, CIMMYT, India
  • Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University, U.S.A.
  • Richard Falloon, National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies, New Zealand
  • David Grzywacz, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, U.K.
  • Maria Lodovica Gullino, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy
  • Sarah Gurr, University of Exeter, U.K.
  • Clayton Hollier, Louisiana State University, U.S.A.
  • Jill Lennã, Turiff, U.K.
  • Chris Mundt, Oregon State University, U.S.A.
  • Jean Ristaino, North Carolina State University, U.S.A.
  • Serge Savary, INRA, France
  • Peter Scott, ISPP, U.K.
  • Richard Strange, University College London, U.K.
  • Wenhua Tang,China Agricultural University, China
  • Paul Teng, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Jennifer Thomson, University of Cape Town, Republic of South Africa
  • Stephen Waddington, Mexico


Lise Korsten, Codirector DST/NRF Centre of Excellence Food Security,
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
Jean Ristaino, Director, Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster,
Science Advisor and Jefferson Fellow USAID, North Carolina State University, U.S.A.
The session will be one of three devoted to food security and plant disease:
  • From the Irish Famine to Today: Crop Diseases Still Threaten Global Food Security and Your Breakfast (Open to the public)
  • Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security (This keynote session)
  • Innovative Technologies for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (A concurrent session)

Invited Speakers and Presentations:

Plant diseases, global food security and the role of Glenn Anderson —The Glenn Anderson Lecture
Sanjaya Rajaram, ICARDA Jesse Dubin, CIMMYT

R. Glenn Anderson was Norman Borlaug's "green fingered agricultural scientist" humanitarian who captained the wheat revolution in India during the 1960's. Afterward he directed the CIMMYT Wheat Program where he was instrumental in establishing increased wheat disease surveys, broadening of the wheat genetic diversity, adaptation and disease resistance, e.g., slow rusting. He institutionalized multi-location yield and disease testing/analysis, regional breeding programs, as well as strengthening the training of young scientists. Aspects of his work and other issues will be discussed in relation to present day global food security.

Metadata: Monitoring the Threat of Plant Disease
Sarah Gurr, University of Exeter, U.K. Fen Beed, World Vegetable Center, Thailand

Fungal diseases have been increasing in severity and scale since the mid-20th Century and now pose a serious threat to global food security and ecosystem health. We face a future blighted by known adversaries, by new variants of old foes and by new diseases. Modern agricultural intensification practices have heightened the challenge and climate change compounds the problem - pathogens are on the move poleward in a warming world. We shall highlight some current notable and persistent fungal diseases and consider the evolutionary drivers underpinning emergence of new diseases; reveal some recent disease modelling work concerning the global distributions of crop pathogens and their predicted movement; and discuss the concept of crop disease saturation. We shall conclude with some thoughts on future threats and challenges, on fungal disease mitigation and ways of enhancing global food security.

Plant Diseases, Climate Change, and Food Security
Karen Garrett, University of Florida, U.S.A. Adrian Newton, Hutton Institute, U.K.

Global change drives changes in disease management systems, for better or for worse. At the same time, the science of disease management sustainability and the science of phytobiomes are still in the early stages of development. A fuller understanding of what makes cropping systems resilient, and how to achieve deployment of improved systems, is a grand challenge for agriculture in the 21st century.

Modeling epidemics to optimize disease management at the landscape level
Nik Cunniffe, University of Cambridge, UK Frédéric Fabre, INRA Bordeaux

Pathogens routinely spread over very long distances, and landscape-scale spread is gaining ever-increasing amounts of attention from theoretical epidemiologists, as well as from agricultural managers and policy makers. At such large spatial scales modelling is very important, particularly since experimentation is difficult or even impossible. We will illustrate how modelling approaches can be used to improve decision-making concerning when, where and how to detect and control plant diseases, drawing on a range of examples including durability of resistance genes to viruses of annual crops, quarantine approaches in orchards, and spatially explicit control and detection strategies for citrus diseases.

The orange-fleshed sweet potato: disease threats and usefulness for feeding Africa
Jan Low, CIP, Nairobi Wilmer Cuéllar, CIAT, Colombia

The sweet potato is known as the classic food security crop. In Africa, it is the crop that is there when the maize fails, but it also helped Americans survive the 1930s depression, the Chinese survive famine in the 1960s, and the Rwandans recover from genocide in the 1990s. Orange-fleshed types are a rich source of pro-vitamin A, being used in integrated agriculture-nutrition efforts to combat vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. There are over 30 known viruses of sweet potato, many of which are symptomless and most synergized when combined with Sweet Potato Chlorotic Stunt Virus (SPCSV), which is the mediator of severe, yield declining virus disease. Advances in detection of specific viruses, in conventional breeding for virus resistance, and in managing viruses through improved “seed systems” have been significant during the past decade. Under climate change, these efforts need to intensify, with greater attention paid to understanding the behavior of white flies and aphids, the key virus vectors, and determining the economic relevance of emerging and understudied viruses.



Keynote Session II:
Novel Approaches to Controlling Insect-Vectored Plant Diseases

Organizer and Chair:

Saskia A. Hogenhout, John Innes Centre, U.K.

Invited Speakers and Presentations:

Utilize Effector Targets to Generate Plant Resistance to Both Phytoplasma and Insect Vectors
Saskia A. Hogenhout, Professor, Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, U.K.

Description: Phytoplasmas are insect-transmitted bacterial parasites that inhabit the vascular tissues of plants and induce dramatic changes in plant development, including proliferation of stems (witch’s brooms) and the reversion of flowers into leaf-like structures (phyllody), and convert plants into more attractive hosts for feeding and egg laying by phytoplasma insect vectors. Phytoplasmas generate these disease symptoms via the production of an arsenal of virulence proteins, named SAPs, which interact with and promote the degradation of a diverse range of plant transcription factors, including homeodomain proteins. Knowledge of the mechanisms of SAP interactions with plant targets has revealed avenues for phytoplasma disease control.

The Many Cell Density-Dependent Behaviors of Xylella fastidiosa: Achieving Disease Control via Pathogen Confusion
Steven Lindow, Professor, University of California, U.S.A.

Description: The xylem-limited plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa has a complex life cycle involving traits required for movement between and growth within plant xylem vessels that are incompatible with its ability to colonize the mouthparts of sharpshooter vectors needed to transmit it to other plants. The expression of these traits is coordinated in a cell density- dependent manner involving the secretion and perception of unsaturated fatty acid quorum sensing signal molecules. Disease control can be achieved by elevating the abundance of the fatty acid signal molecule in the absence of large pathogen populations in transgenic plants and by other means to inhibit the expression of appropriate plant colonization traits in a process aimed at conferring “pathogen confusion”.

Citrus Huanglongbing: What Can We Learn from Pathogen Effectors
Wenbo Ma, Professor, University of California, U.S.A.

Description: The citrus industry is facing an unprecedented challenge from Huanglongbing (HLB). Vectored by phloem-feeding insects, the HLB-associated bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) colonizes the phloem tissue and eventually leads to tree decline and death. CLas possesses the Sec secretion system that delivers virulence proteins into the phloem of infected trees and promotes disease development. These Sec-delivered effectors can be used as molecular probes to uncover important mechanisms of host-pathogen arms race and set the foundation for the development of the urgently needed management strategies for HLB.



Keynote Session III:
The Role of Plant Pathology in Food Safety

Organizers and Moderators:

Maria Lodovica Gullino, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy Jacqueline Fletcher, Regents Professor, University of Oklahoma, U.S.A.
A Multipronged Approach for Aflatoxin Mitigation in Africa Centered on Biological Control
Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria

Description: Aflatoxin has serious negative impacts on health, trade, income and food security affecting more than 4.5 billion people globally. The talk will analyse key challenges in implementing various recommendations for reducing aflatoxin and propose elements of technological, institutional and policy options that can be combined into aflatoxin management systems in developing country agriculture.

Ranajit Bandyopadhyay is a principal plant pathologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria where he has been guiding research and development activities related to crop diseases and mycotoxins since 2002. He completed his PhD from Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar and joined the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in 1980. He has 36 years of research and development experience in Asia, Africa and the Americas. His research on mycotoxins focuses on surveillance, bio-ecology of toxigenic fungi, integrated management of mycotoxins and policy and institutional issues. Ranajit leads initiatives on research, tech transfer, commercialization and scaling-up of the aflatoxin biocontrol technology Aflasafe in 11 African nations. He has authored nearly 175 publications and serves on the editorial board of two international journals. Ranajit is a Steering Committee member of the African Union’s Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) and Chairs its Technical Sub-Committee. He was jointly named as ‘Change Agent for Research and Technology’ by PACA in 2016. The American Phytopathological Society honoured him with the Excellence in International Service Award in 2017. IITA recognized Ranajit with the Outstanding Scientist Award in 2010, Outstanding Team Award in 2012, and Outstanding Paper Award in 2015.

Pesticide Residues in Food: A Never-Ending Challenge
Carmen Tiu, Dow AgroSciences

Description: How safe is our food within the context of a world with exponential growth of the population and food needs, which requires a large variety of top-notch technologies? This presentation will review main achievements so far, as well as future tasks and challenges.

Carmen Tiu has been Lead Research Scientist at Dow AgroSciences for 30 years and is currently Global Residues and MRL Strategy Leader, based at Dow the global headquarters in Indianapolis, USA. She has worked in R&D in the United States for 17 years, and previously in Latin America for 13 years. She has extensive expertise in Residues, MRL’s and Food Safety, Risk Assessment (human and environmental), Regulatory & Public Affairs, and Formulations Development. Tiu is member of ACS - Agro Division Executive Board, OECD-Residue Chemistry Expert Group, Chair of CLA-Residue Working Group, member CLI-CS PT, IUPAC-Pesticides Chemistry, Dow representative to Codex CCPR and JMPR.

The Molecular Basis to Colonization of Plants by Human Pathogens: Implications and Risks
Nikola Holden, The James Hutton Institute, Scotland

Description: It has been well established that edible plant produce can act as a transmission vehicle for food-borne pathogens. Bacterial pathogens are able to interact with plant and use them as secondary hosts, and here I will discuss the molecular mechanisms that underpin the interactions, and how this information can guide us in risk management.

Nicola Holden has worked at the James Hutton Institute (prev. Scottish Crop Research Institute) in Dundee for 10 years where the work encompasses bacteria-plant interactions and looks at the success of bacteria within the plant environment; focused on bacteria that are pathogenic to humans or animals and are transmitted through contaminated food. Holden obtained her PhD in 1999 in Maurice Gallagher’s lab (Edinburgh university, UK), investigating how Salmonella enterica adapts to temperatures just above and just below the minimum growth temperature. She then moved to post-doctoral positions with David Gally (Roslin Institute, UK) to investigate the adherence mechanisms of uropathogenic E. coli in humans and then enterohemorrhagic E. coli in bovine hosts. These projects focused on the molecular regulation controlling the phenotypes, providing a deeper understanding of how the bacteria are able to adapt to different environments. Working with the same pathogens in the plant environment was then a logical extension in bacterial adaptive mechanisms.

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