Invited Speakers


Dr. Laurence (Larry) V. Madden

Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University

Larry Madden is an international authority in plant disease epidemiology. He was hired at OSU in 1980, and was appointed the Distinguished Professor of Plant Protection in 2008.  He has served as interim chair of the Department of Plant Pathology three different times, and is currently associate chair.  Dr. Madden specializes in the mathematical and statistical modeling of plant disease dynamics in time and space. He has a particular interest in the effects of environment on disease development and in the prediction of epidemics based on environment and pathogen demographics. He and his lab have developed many disease prediction (forecasting) systems that are used to identify high-risk periods for disease outbreaks and recommend control interventions. He has pioneered numerous approaches for characterizing the temporal and spatial components of plant disease epidemics. He is an authority on meta-analysis and mixed models in agriculture. Dr. Madden has published over 260 scientific journal articles and two textbooks. He is a former president of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), the largest professional organization of plant pathologists in the world. He has received many honors, including the Ruth Allen Award and Award of Distinction from APS, and the Jakob Eriksson Gold Medal from the International Society of Plant Pathology. He is an elected fellow of two scientific societies.


Dr. Rachel W. Martin

Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine

Rachel W. Martin is a Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at the University of California, Irvine. She did her Ph.D. at Yale and postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley.  Her group studies protein structure and function broadly defined. Research directions include stability of long-lived proteins, discovery of enzymes from genomic data, developing instrumentation and methodology for magnetic resonance spectroscopy and predicting enzyme activity from genomic data. Most recently, she has applied methodology originally developed for characterizing new enzymes from carnivorous plants to track mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 main protease.


Dr. Peter H. Seeberger

Director at the Max-Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, and Professor at the Free University of Berlin, Germany

Peter H. Seeberger studied chemistry in Erlangen (Germany) and completed a PhD in biochemistry in Boulder (USA). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Research in New York he advanced to tenured Firmenich Associate Professor of Chemistry at MIT. After six years as Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich he assumed positions as Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Professor at the Free University of Berlin in 2009. In addition, he serves as honorary Professor at the University of Potsdam. From 2003-2014 he was Affiliate Professor at the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research (La Jolla, USA). He is a member of the governing bodies of the Max-Planck Society (“Senate”) and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (“Rat”). Professor Seeberger’s research on the chemistry and biology of carbohydrates, carbohydrate vaccine development and continuous flow synthesis of drug substances spans a broad range of topics from engineering to immunology and has been documented in over 550 peer-reviewed journal articles, four books, more than 40 patents, over 200 published abstracts and more than 850 invited lectures. This work was recognized with more than 35 international awards from the US (e.g. Arthur C. Cope Young Scholar Award, Horace B. Isbell Award, Claude S. Hudson Award from the American Chemical Society), Germany (e.g. Körber Prize for European Sciences, Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbandes), Holland (Havinga Medal), Israel (Honorary Lifetime Member Israel Chemical Society), Japan (Yoshimasa Hirata Gold Medal), Switzerland (“The 100 Most Important Swiss”), the Philippines (“Gusi Peace Prize”) and international organizations (Whistler Award 2012, Int. Carboh. Soc.). In 2013 he was elected to the Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian) Academy of Sciences. Peter H. Seeberger greatly supports the idea of open access publishing as the Editor-in-Chief of the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry and serves on the editorial advisory boards of many other journals. Through his work in the area of neglected diseases, Peter Seeberger has become involved in philanthropic causes. He is a co-founder of the Tesfa-Ilg “Hope for Africa” Foundation that aims at improving health care in Ethiopia that recently helped to build a bed-net factory and established an IT training center. The research in the Seeberger laboratory has given rise to nine successful companies in the USA, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany. 


Dr. Francisco M. Zerbini

Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil

Francisco M. Zerbini is a Professor at the Department of Plant Pathology at UFV (Brazil) since 1996. He did his undergraduate in Agronomy at UFV and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at UC Davis (1996). His early work was mostly related to potyviruses (RNA viruses transmitted by aphids), including virus-host interactions and the production of virus-resistant transgenic plants. Nowadays, his main area of research is the ecology and evolution of begomoviruses (ssDNA viruses transmitted by whiteflies). Dr. Francisco was editor-in-chief of Tropical Plant Pathology (2012 to 2017) and associate editor of Archives of Virology, Annals of Applied Biology, Journal of General Virology, Plant Pathology and Virology. Is currently the President of the International Committee on Virus Taxonomy (ICTV).