Professor in Plant Physiology at the University of Cape Town
Title of presentation: ‘Resurrection plants as models for production of extremely drought tolerant crops’ (preliminary title)
Prof Jill Farrant, Professor in Plant Physiology at the University of Cape Town will be delivering a keynote address on ‘Resurrection plants as models for production of extremely drought tolerant crops’ (preliminary title). She is currently Full Professor and SARChI Research Chair in Systems biology studies on plant desiccation tolerance for food security at the University of Cape Town.
Professor Farrant is an acknowledged world leader in the field of plant desiccation tolerance (holding an A rating by the South African National Research Foundation), working on both seeds and resurrection plants.
She has received considerable recognition for her research, having achieved 10 national and international awards, including the L’Oreal-UNESCO award in life sciences (2012) that ‘recognizes women whose exceptional careers in science have opened up new and sometimes revolutionary ways of improving human well-being’ and the EPFL WISH Foundation Erma Hamburger award (2015) for ‘ground-breaking work in phytology
Field of research: Plant science particularly vegetative desiccation tolerance. Disciplines used include physiology, biochemistry, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. With interests in plant biotechnology.
Jill has 145 peer reviewed publications, 16 book chapters, over 200 conference proceedings, and has graduated 36 MSc students and 30 PhD students during the 27 years she has been an academic. She is a Fellow of 4 prestigious societies and acts in Editorial capacity for 3 International Journals. Her work has been the subject of several local and International documentaries, which can be found on her website ‘(see below)
Professor of Plant Physiology at Wageningen University
Title of presentation: ‘How to prosper on grape berries: the tricks and treats of Botrytis infection processes’ (preliminary title)
Prof Jan van Kan, Professor of Plant Physiology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands will be delivering a keynote address at the symposium in the theme of Biotic Interactions The preliminary title of the presentation is ‘How to prosper on grape berries: the tricks and treats of Botrytis infection processes’. Prof van Kan plays an instrumental role in the development of fungal model systems such as Botrytis and his insight into fungal-plant pathosystems will provide excellent context for the biotic interactions theme of the conference.
Field of research: Molecular genetics, comparative genomics, biochemistry, fungal and plant physiology
MSc degree in biochemistry and plant molecular biology (Leiden, NL, 1983) PhD degree on a thesis, entitled “Structure and expression of virus-inducible plant genes” (Leiden, NL, 1988) Postdoc researcher (Wageningen, NL, 1989-1991) cloning and expression analyses of Cladosporium fulvum effector genes and tomato Pathogenesis-Related protein genes. Assistant/associate professor (Wageningen, NL, 1991-present) Botrytis molecular genetics and functional genomics, with emphasis on Botrytis cinerea virulence factors (secreted effector proteins and hydrolytic enzymes, such as plant cell wall degrading enzymes, proteinases). In recent years expansion into other (host-specific) Botrytis species and other Sclerotiniaceae fungi: comparative genomics with the aim to identify host range determinants, effectoromics strategies for resistance breeding purposes.