Alexandre Marques

Alexandre Marques: I am a nature conservationist and this mission motivates me in performing my research. I see ISSS 2017 as the closest and most powerful way to reach broader audiences with my research. During high school, biotechnological innovations captivated me to do the bachelors in Biology at UFBA in my hometown (Salvador – Bahia – Brazil). News about cloning, genome sequencing and transgenes were super fascinating. I started the bachelor in Biology with a passion for the bio-techniques but during the course I got passionate by nature itself. Learning about all that biodiversity, complexity and fragility triggered me to work on nature conservation. Later on, I engaged in Plant Genetic Resources master program in the UEFS (Feira de Santana – Bahia – Brazil) where I learnt about plant conservation and molecular biology during my research with seed germination under drought stress. I noticed that seed desiccation sensitivity was a major issue for plant conservation. Almost half of tree species in tropical rain forests have these seeds. They cannot be dried and stored. Therefore, these species face imminent risk of extinction due to deforestation and climate changes. Then, I decided to understand and tackle this problem by doing a PhD in the Seed Lab at the Wageningen University (The Netherlands) with a focus on Desiccation Sensitivity Seeds.

Andrea Loayza

Andrea Loayza is a biologist interested in the ecology of seed dispersal, conservation and population biology. She has worked with the demographic consequences of bat- and bird-dispersal in tropical savannas and neo-tropical forests. Currently, she works at Universidad de La Serena in Chile with seed dispersal of tropical relicts in arid environments. These species, which are considered seed dispersal anachronisms, are solely dispersed by scatter-hoarding rodents that also act as seed predators. Hence, the costs and benefits of this animal-plant interaction are not always evident, and is often mediated by seed size. Andrea completed her B.S. in Universidad Mayor de San Andres In Bolivia, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Anne Pollard

Annie Pollard is a Ph.D. candidate in Soil Science at Washington State University. Since joining Washington State University in 2014 as an ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) scholar, she has been studying the influence of soil microorganisms on chlorosis of Concord grapevines and more recently, the interaction between soil fungi and dormant weed seeds in the soil seedbank. Annie earned her B.S. in Biology (magna cum laude) from the University of New Mexico and obtained her M.S. in Soil and Land Resources from the University of Idaho, where she researched biological control of a pathogenic nematode using soil fungi and reviewed the fate of chemicals of emerging concern in dairy manure-amended soils.

Buzi Raviv

Buzi Raviv is an early career seed scientist from Israel. He completed his B.Sc. in the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University, Israel. As a final project for the bachelor he studied germination traits of Chromosomal Arm Substitution Lines between Durum and Wild Wheat, focusing on drought resistance and ability to germinate from various depths. Buzi completed his M.Sc at Sede Boqer campus, Ben Gurion University, Israel, where he studied reproductive barriers in Ziziphus jujuba (Chinese date) in order to optimize fruit set and yields of this drought tolerant fruit tree. In his Ph.D. project at Prof. Gideon Grafi’s lab, he returned to the seed realm and he investigates the biological activities in dead maternal organs encapsulating embryos of Brassicaceae species and grasses. He and his colleagues discovered that these dead organs can store a set of active proteins for prolonged periods under natural conditions. The main focus of his work is to investigate the possible roles of these proteins in seed longevity, germination and seedling establishment.


Raviv, B., Granot, G., Chalifa-Caspi, V., & Grafi, G. (2017). The dead, hardened floral bracts of dispersal units of wild wheat function as storage for active hydrolases and in enhancing seedling vigor. PloS one12(5), e0177537.

Raviv, B., Aghajanyan, L., Granot, G., Makover, V., Frenkel, O., Gutterman, Y., & Grafi, G. (2017). The dead seed coat functions as a long-term storage for active hydrolytic enzymes. PloS one12(7), e0181102.

Dongfang “Emily” Zhou

Emily Zhou is currently a PhD student in Horticulture from Virginia Tech, USA. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology, China,  and Master of Science degree in Horticulture from Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on seed germination and seed ecology test, also effect of plants (special trees) on nitrogen and phosphorus removal in bioretention cells. She is also working on the agriculture extension programs.

Érica Leão-Araújo

Érica Leão-Araújo graduated in 2010 as an Agronomist from State University of Goiás, at this time working with seed production and technology, especially with seed dormancy of native species. Master´s in Plant Production by São Paulo State University – Unesp, in 2012, the subject of these degree was on physiological potencial of cultivated species. Between 2012 and 2015, I worked in soybean seed planning, quality control and production area at DuPont Pioneer Brazil. In 2015 I started as a professor at the agronomy department of Goiano Federal Institute, with teaching, research and extension activities in seed production and technology. At this Institute, until today, I am developing research with efficiency vigor tests in cultivated species. In 2016 I started my PhD at the Federal University of Goiás and the research for the thesis is on native Brazilian Savana specie that has seeds with recalcitrant behavior (Campomanesia adamantium, Myrtaceae). The main objectives of the research in Brazil are to evaluate the critical water levels and the effects of desiccation on the seed viability, vigor  and internal morphology (evaluated by means of X – ray images) of the seeds.

Inmaculada Sanchez-Vicente

Inmaculada Sánchez-Vicentec is a Plant Physiology Research at the Spanish-Portuguese Agriculture Research Institute (CIALE). She received her B.S. degree in Biology (2011), her master´s degree in Agrobiotechnology (2012) and recently, her Ph.D. in Agrobiotechnology (2017) at the University of Salamanca. During the Ph.D (supervised by Prof. Óscar Lorenzo) her research has focused on the study of nitric oxide regulation mechanisms during seed development and germination using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant.

Kamble Nitin

Kamble Nitin obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Savitribai Phule Pune University (Formerly known as University of Pune, Maharashtra, India). He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Seed Biology in Dr. Majee’s lab at National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi (India). His current research is focusing on the role and regulation of PROTEIN L-ISOASPARTYL O-METHYLTRANSFERASE (PIMT) in rice, in perspective of seed desiccation tolerance and seed longevity.

Masoume Amirkhani

Masoume Amirkhaniis a Postdoc in the Horticulture Section of Cornell University. Her research program is in Seed Science and Technology Laboratory of New York State Agriculture Experimental Station where the focus is in “Modern Seed Technology”. She actively working in different projects of Dr. Taylor’s Lab., including organic seed treatments using plant based biostimiulators and developing drought resistant seed coating formula for cover crops and cooperating in seed coat permeability project. She completed her Ph.D in Rangeland Sciences with focus on Plant regeneration systems by seed, tissue culture and somatic embryogenesis at Gorgan Agriculture and Natural Resources University in Iran and was an Assistant Professor at UMA in Iran before joining Cornell University in 2014. Her research interests are on seed technology, seed coating and pelleting formulation, seedling enhancement, seed physiology and biology, Seed ecology, plant abiotic stress and land restoration.
You can follow Masi’s publications in the link bellow:

Michelle D’Aguillo

Michelle D’Aguillo is an evolutionary ecologist and PhD student at Duke University, advised by Dr. Kathleen Donohue. She obtained a BS in Biology from the College of William & Mary and a MS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston before turning towards terrestrial ecosystems! She is broadly interested in the extent to which seed dormancy and germination phenology enable plants to modify the environment that they experience. How does variation in seed dormancy and germination phenology lead to variable habitat selection, and how does variable phenology affect natural selection on traits expressed across the entire life cycle? Her dissertation research currently combines microevolutionary field experiments using the genetic model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, with macroevolutionary analyses of the evolution of seed dormancy across all seed plants. Additionally, she has a personal interest in natural history of the southeastern US and is performing complimentary experiments characterizing germination phenology and seedling habitat selection in a few annuals native to the Southern Appalachians.

Nicholas Genna

Nicholas Genna received his master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Florida after studying intraspecific seed mass variation and germination in the wildflower Rudbeckia mollis. Nicholas is currently pursuing a doctoral degree from the University of Florida in Horticulture where his research focuses on intraspecific seed mass variation and deterioration during in situ burial and ex situ storage in Rudbeckia mollis seeds. Following his education, Nicholas hopes to work in the seed conservation industry focusing on the long term preservation of wild plant germplasm from around the world.

Patricia Silva

Shantel Martinez

Stephanie Sjoberg

Stephanie Sjoberg is a PhD student at Washington State University in the Crop and Soil Sciences program, advised by Dr. Camille Steber and Dr. Arron Carter. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in 2010. She worked in the vegetable seed industry for 6 years, for much of the time as a Scientist in the Molecular Breeding group at Bayer Vegetable Seeds in West Sacramento. In 2016, she left the industry to pursue her graduate degree in the Winter Wheat breeding program led by Dr. Arron Carter at Washington State University. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms controlling preharvest sprouting in wheat, and using a genomic selection model to improve sprouting tolerance in the breeding programs.

Waheed Arshad

Waheed Arshad is a student of London’s prestigious Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership; in 2015, he joined the Seed Biology Group at Royal Holloway, University of London, after deciding to pursue research on the phenomenon of seed and fruit heteromorphism in Aethionema arabicum (Brassicaceae). Prior to this, Waheed completed his BSc (Hons) Biology from the University of Durham in 2013, and then joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he worked with world-leading botanists to provide curatorial support to systematics teams. He went on to study a Master’s degree in plant biodiversity and evolution at the University of Reading, collaborating with the Royal Horticultural Society on a research project investigating powdery mildew (a fungal plant pathogen). Waheed then spent a year working at the University of York, on a project addressing fundamental questions in plant energy metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana. When he is not enthusing about plants, Waheed is awake at daybreak, monitoring bird populations for the British Trust for Ornithology.

Wenjing Ge

Wenjing Ge is a third­‐year doctoral candidate from the State Key Laboratory of  Grassland and Agro‐Ecosystems of Lanzhou University in China. Obtained her BS  and  MS  degree  of  ecology  in  Lanzhou  University,  which  is  one  of  Chinese  “985” and “211” colleges. Since master stage, her research project has been focusing on the effect of plant endogenous hormones on seed dormancy and germination.  Since  from  October  2016,  studying  in  Washington  State  University as a visiting scholar, working on examining the function of GID1-­‐regulated genes in Arabidopsis in Camille Steber’s Lab.

Wirat Pipatpongpinyo

Wirat Pipatpongpinyois a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at South Dakota State University. His current research interests involve QTLs mapping, gene discovery and studies of function and molecular mechanism of the genes associated with seed dormancy, and longevity in rice. He obtained a BS.C. and MS. degree in the Department of Genetics from Kasetsart University, Thailand. His master study focused on understanding the three-way relationship between gene regulated by epigenetic mechanisms and what activates/modulates epigenetic response genes in adverse environments. He was working on rice genomic segment associated with DNA methylation and responses to photoperiod. In 2009-2011, he was an instructor of the Molecular Genetics, and Molecular Biology courses for an undergraduate Biotechnology program at The Escuela Politecnica del Ejercito, Quito, Ecuador.