Come find out at Sci-café!
Sci-café is a lively and interactive discussion between KAUST scientists and community members. Held in a casual setting, each Sci-café highlights a different research area each month.
This month's café will focus on Food. Come along and engage with researchers John Bedbrook, Bettina Berger, Mark Tester and Salim Al-Babili as we explore this month's hot topic and the latest, most inspiring research being done here at KAUST.
Ask questions, discuss science and have fun!
Read more about KAUST research.
Light refreshments will be served after the discussion.
This event is brought to you by the Office of Enrichment Programs and the Office of the President.
Make sure you submit the survey after you have attended this event.
This event has limited seating. If you register and later are unable to attend this event, please be sure to 'unregister' on the website so that someone else can take your seat.
Bettina Berger is the Scientific Director of The Plant Accelerator, Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
After a degree in biotechnology and a PhD in molecular biology of plants, she used a two-year fellowship to focus on the emerging field of plant phenomics. She joined the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics in 2008, where she used non-destructive imaging to study the effects of salinity on barley.
When The Plant Accelerator opened in 2010, she joined the team as Senior Scientist and became Scientific Director in 2015. The Plant Accelerator is one of the nodes of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) funded under the National Collaborative Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and provides critical infrastructure and services to the plant science community in Australia and abroad. In her roles, she has set up novel screening techniques to study plant growth and performance using automated, non-destructive imaging. She has managed large scale phenotyping projects looking at various aspects of crop performance, including early vigour, salinity tolerance and nutrient use efficiency.
Visit her profile page to learn more about her.
John Bedbrook currently is the Executive Chairman of DiCE Molecules LLC.
After completing a PhD in Molecular Virology at Auckland University, John was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Medical School, a Maria Cabot Fellow at the Harvard Biolabs and an EMBO Fellow at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, England.
He has published over a hundred scientific papers. He founded and/or managed several Biotech companies including: Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc., DNA Plant Technology Inc., Maxygen Agriculture Inc., and Verdia Inc. and after the acquisition of Verdia Inc. by DuPont company was Vice President of Agriculture and Nutrition Research then Vice President of DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology.
He recently co-founded and acts as Executive Chairman of DiCE Molecules LLC, a Pharmaceutical and Ag. Chem small molecule discovery company. He is on the board of several biotechnology companies.
Professor Mark Tester is a scientist with much energy who is passionate about research and discovery, with a commitment to lifelong learning. He is committed to education and assisting and supporting others in fulfilling their potential. He is focused on high quality science that contributes broadly to both increasing intellectual knowledge of plant function and to increasing the sustainability of the planet.
He has a high level of professional integrity and intellectual rigour, and the quality of his science is reflected in both the quality of his publications and the recognition of these by others. He leads a research program on salinity tolerance in plants at KAUST, as well as in floriculture in his private company, Bioconst.
Professor Tester operates in a broad, cross-disciplinary manner, his science spanning cell biology, whole plant physiology and genetics. He has the capacity to attract significant funding and to implement ideas, such as shown in his building of The Plant Accelerator, from inception to completion, co-ordinating a wide range of expertise from engineers and architects to plant scientists and financial managers.
He has strong financial and administrative management skills, overseeing large projects with significant budgets and many staff. His commercial acumen is clear from his establishment of private companies and successful interactions with multinational companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Pioneer-DuPont. He was, until recently, a Director of Australia’s largest wheat breeding company, Australian Grains Technologies.
Salim Al-Babili is an associate professor in Plant Science in the Desert for Agriculture Center at KAUST. The aim of Dr. Al-Babili's research is to generate crops with improved agricultural performance and enhanced nutritional value. Professor Al-Babili has long-standing experience in engineering crops with enhanced provitamin A content and in elucidating carotenoid-related metabolic pathways. Using combined enzymology-based and genetic approaches, he aims at elucidating metabolic networks and identifying new signaling molecules related to abiotic stress and plant development. Recently he has been focusing on the metabolism of the stress hormone abscisic acid and on strigolactones, a novel class of plant hormones regulating plant architecture and mediating the interaction with symbiotic fungi and root parasitic plants.
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