Alfred (Heqiang) Huo

Alfred (Heqiang) Huo is currently an assistant professor at Mid-Florida Research and Education Center at University of Florida. His current research focuses on breeding of horticultural and ornamental plants including lettuce, grapes, snapdragons and petunia. His lab applies a new technology called CRISPR-Cas9 and CIRSPR-Cpf1 to these plants for improvement of their quality. CRISPR-Cas9 or CRISPR-Cpf1 can cause genomic editing for knocking out or knocking in genes etc. and can expedite breeding programs that usually require a long term of efforts. His lab also use a type of temperature-inducible transposon Tam3 for mutagenesis of snapdragon, and use transposon-tagging to look for mutations underlying different mutants. In addition, using a lettuce recombinant inbred lines (RILs) mapping population, his lab collaborates with UC-Davis to look for seed-related QTLs.
Dr. Huo originally came from China. He finished his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in horticulture in China before he moved to U.S. for his Ph.D degree in seed development at University of Georgia. Before He joins University of Florida, he did several years of postdoctoral research on lettuce seed germination/ dormancy with Dr. Kent Bradford. His current and previous work have been sponsored by USDA, Rijk Zwann and Florida local agricultural production companies.


Corine de Groot

Corine de Groot received her MSc in Biology at Wageningen University. The main focus of her studies where Plant Ecology and Vegetation Science. In the same year, she started her PhD at the Plant Eco Physiology group of Prof. Hans Lambers at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. After receiving her PhD in 2002, she started to work for Bejo Zaden B.V. in 2003. First as a researcher, later as a Research Team Lead. The focus of her group lays on measuring and improving seed quality and includes research projects on seed production, upgrading and sorting, priming, storability, seed testing, vigour and usable plants. The team consists of 11 persons and is a mix of researchers (MSc, PhD), assistant researchers (BSc) and research technicians.


Manuela Nagel

Manuela Nagel studied agricultural sciences at the University of Gottingen, Germany. She discovered her passion for seed science while at IPK Gatersleben’s Genebank, where she studied seed longevity in various IPK research laboratories. Combining her knowledge of quantitative genetics with biochemical perspectives, Dr. Nagel next worked with Hugh Pritchard and Ilse Kranner at the Millennium Seedbank of KEW Gardens. After completing her PhD in 2011, she studied seed quality as a Post-Doctoral Scientist with the European EcoSeed project. Since 2016, as head of the cryo- and stress biology group at IPK Gatersleben, she has managed research projects involving long-term storage of vegetatively-propagated crops, focusing on stress response and mechanisms during cryopreservation, the effect of endophytes and seed and pollen viability.


Steven Penfield

Steven Penfield gained a PhD from the John  Innes centre, UK in 2001 and worked as a postdoc at the University of York, UK before gaining a Royal Society Research Fellowship to start his own research group in 2006. Steven is now back at the John Innes Centre leading a research group in the Crop Genetics Department, and was made a full  Professor in 2017. His work has focussed on seed biology from the outset, spanning the regulation of seed germination and establishment to maternal effects on the control of dormancy in progeny seed. Working in model species and more recently in Brassica crops his group studies environmental effects on seeds and their implications for seed ecology, physiology and crop performance.


Wim Soppe

Wim Soppe works as team leader seed technology research at Rijk Zwaan in the Netherlands. He obtained an MSc degree in plant breeding at Wageningen University and received a PhD from the same university for his study on the regulation of flowering initiation in Arabidopsis. In 2000 he moved to Germany where he had two postdoctoral positions. The first one was at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben where he studied chromatin organisation. In the second postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne he analysed a protein involved in flowering time regulation. In 2004 he became group leader at the same institute where he started working on seeds.
His research group was interested to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate seed dormancy. He cloned and characterised several genes that are involved in this process, which led to novel insights in our understanding of seed dormancy. This work was published in over 20 manuscripts in various journals including Nature Communications, Plant Cell, PLOS Genetics, and PNAS. He also wrote several reviews about seed dormancy and germination. In 2017 he closed his research lab at the Max Planck Institute and started a position as team leader seed technology at Rijk Zwaan.