Invited Speakers

Odd Arne Rognli
is a Professor and currently Acting Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway. His research has focused on genetics and plant breeding of forage grasses and legumes, and in addition more fundamental research on model species. Some of the main themes in his research has been seed production, natural genetic variation, climate adaptation and dissection of complex traits using molecular markers, QTL mapping, genomics and transcriptomics. He is working closely with the plant breeding industry, and is currently the project leader of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project on prebreeing of perennial ryegrass involving plant breeding companies and academic institutions from the Nordic and Baltic countries. His main research interests are population genetics and evolutionary biology, genomics of abiotic stress tolerance, natural variation, genetic diversity and adaptation of plants.



Bernadette Julier is research director at the Grassland and Forage Plants Research Unit of INRA in Lusignan, France. She is working on forage legumes, mainly lucerne, as geneticist. The finalized aim of her research is to provide tools and knowledge for breeding new varieties better adapted to current and emerging uses and constraints (production, quality and sustainability). She is frequently working in close connection with private companies. She is the coordinator of the EU project EUCLEG “Breeding forage and grain legumes to increase EU’s and China’s protein self-sufficiency” (September 2017 – August 2021) devoted to two forage species (lucerne and red clover) and three grain species (pea, faba bean and soybean).



Torben Asp is research group leader at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, Denmark. The research group conducts both fundamental and applied research to dissect complex traits mainly in temperate grasses. He is collaborating closely with plant breeding companies to develop novel breeding strategies based on genomic selection, and leading the international efforts to sequence perennial ryegrass. Research interests include deciphering and analysis of plant genomes on a structural and functional level using computational biology and comparative genomics approaches.





Kioumars Ghamkhar is the Director of Margot Forde Forage Germpalsm Centre at AgResearch in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is collaborating closely with plant breeding and seed companies to streamline the use of novel plant material and tools and leads national and international collaborations on phenomics and genomics of forage and pasture species for germplasm improvement and pre-breeding. His research has a focus on genetic and genomic diversity or intra-specific variability of traits and pre-breeding of forage grasses, legumes and oil seed crops as well as phenomics for fast and repeatable forage trait capture. He is the vice-chair of the “Phenotyping for Genebanks Working Group” at DivSeek Partnership.




Bruno Studer is a professor of Molecular Plant Breeding at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. In partnership with Agroscope, the Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research, Prof. Studer’s group aims to develop molecular tools and methods to understand the composition of complex traits and application of this knowledge to plant breeding, thereby bridging the gap between basic reseach and applied plant breeding. His research focus is on crops, particularly forage and horticultural crops and involves plant reproduction traits such as the two-locus self-incompatibility system, cytoplasmic male sterility, restoration of fertility and doubled haploid induction, and how these traits can be targeted for more efficient breeding approaches.