Keynote Speakers


Professor Dario Grattapaglia 


EMBRAPA & Universidade Católica de Brasília (Brazil)  


Research scientist at EMBRAPA and professor in the graduate programmes of Genomic Sciences at the Catholic University of Brasília and molecular biology at the University of Brasilia. His main areas of research include: (1) forest tree genetics and breeding of sustainable forest tree plantations for energy, pulp, paper and fibre; (2) genomic technologies applied to breeding practice; and (3) population genetics and conservation of tropical trees. He was project leader of the Genolyptus Project (Brazilian Network of Eucalyptus Genomic Research), and co-PI of the International Eucalyptus Genome Sequencing Project. 


Dr Antoine Kremer


Research scientist at INRA, Pierroton 

  Antoine Kremer is a senior scientist at INRA Bordeaux (France).  His research deals with the evolution of genetic diversity and differentiation between natural tree populations, at various hierarchical levels where diversity is expressed (from genes to phenotypic traits). Antoine initiated Europe-wide forestry research as early as the 1980s based on population genetics and evolutionary biology. His current interest addresses microevolution in the context of environmental changes linking genetics, genomics and ecology.

David Pont 


Research Scientist, Scion, New Zealand  

  David's current research is focussed on the detection and characterisation of individual trees in aerial and terrestrial LiDAR data. David has been developing and testing these methods to provide the basis for phenotyping trees in genetics trials, research trials and forest stands using remotely sensed data. David has over 30 years forestry research experience, specialising in the measurement and modelling of individual tree growth and wood quality and has contributed to the development of models integrating tree growth, branch growth and within-stem wood properties, used to quantify tree, log and product quality.  


Professor Dr Ulrich Schurr


Institute Director of IBG-2: Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

  Ulrich is interested in the performance and optimization of plants in spatially varying and environmental conditions. In recent years he developed with his team non-invasive techniques to quantitatively acquire structural, physiological and molecular data. He founded the Jülich Plant Phenotyping Centre (JPPC), which forms the core of the German Plant Phenotyping Network (DPPN), and coordinates the European (EPPN) and the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) to develop new methods and innovative experimental concepts for plant phenotyping.

Dr Jerry Tuskan


Group Leader, Plant Systems Biology, BioSciences Division, Oak Ridge Laboratory, TN, USA


Jerry's research focuses on the genetic basis of tree growth and development including collaborations on the genome sequences of poplar and Populus genomics including the assembly of the draft sequence, comparative genomics and functional gene identification. More recently Jerry has been involved with the development of Eucalyptus biofeedstocks. In 2012, he was the fourth award recipient of the Institute of Forest Biotechnology's Forest Biotechnologist of the Year, and in 2014 he was named a Corporate Fellow by UT-Battelle.



Professor Brian Cullis


Inaugural Professor of Biometry, Grains Research and Development Corporation & CSIRO, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia  

  Brian is Professor of Biometry at the University of Wollongong, a position co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and CSIRO. Up until 2011, Brian worked as a biometrician for more than 30 years with NSW Department of Primary Industries. Brian is interested in the design and analysis agricultural and biological data, with his expertise more recently being applied in forestry. Much of his work has involved the analysis of experimental data using linear mixed models, and he is a co-author of the ASReml software package and the R package ASReml-R. Brian has co-authored more than 180 journal articles, has served as a Co-Editor of Biometrics and currently is an Associate Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics and the Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge.


David Balfour


ACTING CEO, Timberlands, NZ

  David is the acting CEO of Timberlands in Rotorua, New Zealand. 

David has over 30 years' experience in the forest industry. He is a member of the Forest Owners Association Executive, Chairman of the Forest Research Committee, and serves on the  Forest Growers Levy Trust Board.

Formally David was Chief Executive of BSW Timber, a Scottish company, which owned five sawmills and stumpage operations. His experience includes forest management, management of harvesting and marketing operations, site manager for a large sawmill and lumber sales. David graduated from Edinburgh University with a BSc (Hons) in Ecological Science. He is a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Foresters (UK) and is an associate member of the NZ Institute of Forestry.  


Dr Robert Banks


Director of Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), University of New England, NSW, Australia

  Rob has been involved in the genetic improvement of Australia's extensive meat and livestock industries for over 30 years, in the establishment of the genetic evaluation system for the Australian lamb industry, LAMBPLAN which was then of extended to provide genetic evaluation for the Merino industry. More recently, and in response to rapid advances in genomic technologies, Rob has led the development of Information Nucleus flocks and herds. Intensive phenotying in these populations will help maximise the returns from investing in genomic testing in the Australian red meat industries. Since taking up the role of Director, Rob has guided projects focussed on genetic evaluation of dairy goats and honeybees, as well as contributing to AGBU's portfolio of projects.

Rob is on the board of the Southern Tree Breeding Association. 

John McEwan


Senior Scientist, Animal Genomics, AgResearch Invermay, New Zealand 

  John is involved in animal genetics and genomics research. His previous and current work includes sequencing genomes and building genotyping platforms including SNP chips and genotyping by sequencing methodologies; trait specialties are host genetics of methane emissions, disease and meat. 

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