Brunella Morandi

Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy

Prof. Morandi's research focuses on the fruit growth mechanisms of different crops and the effects of the environment on fruit tree physiology with the aim to develop new strategies to improve fruit quality in temperate fruit crops, especially in conditions of water scarcity and increased evapotranspiration due to climate change. She is currently involved in national and international projects addressing issues related to sustainable fruit production, fruit quality and water use efficiency.

Eike Luedeling

Head of Department Department of Horticultural Sciences, University of Bonn, Germany

Prof. Luedeling teaches and performs research in horticultural sciences, with particular focus on fruit tree dormancy and holistic systems modeling. Having worked at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya for 8 years, and at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn for 4 years, he also remains interested in agroforestry and agricultural development. His research interests include climate change impacts on temperate fruit trees, as well as multifunctional agroforestry system.

Erika Varkonyi-Gasic

Science Team Leader, Plant and Food Research in Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Varkonyi-Gasic has been studying the molecular mechanisms that regulate flowering, focusing on the application of biotechnology for faster breeding of horticultural woody perennials. As a result of the work of her and her team at Plant and Food Research, gene editing was established in kiwifruit, and this is now used to study flower induction and development, sex determination, and regulation of growth and dormancy cycles, in order to generate plants better suited for the changing climate.

Evelyne Costes

Director of Research at National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRAE)

Dr. Costes is currently the Referent scientist for Europe at INRAE BAP Department as well as the Deputy Director of "AGAP Institut" in charge of plant development and adaptation. Her experience is in tree architecture and development, tree flowering and phenology, tree physiology, quantitative genetics, and statistics and modeling.

Tom Bennett

Associate Professor in Plant Signalling and Development, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Prof. Bennett is a developmental biologist and geneticist, interested in understanding how long-distance signalling within the plant body allows growth and development to be precisely regulated in both space and time. His current research group currently focuses on two main themes: on the coordination of reproductive shoot architecture and floral duration by hormonal signals and feedback from developing fruit, and on the mechanisms by which plants sense their neighbours' roots, and how this impacts shoot development.