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Speaker Bios

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Dr. Geoffrey Morris

Associate Professor, Crop Quantitative Genomics, Colorado State University
Dr. Morris is an Associate Professor of Crop Quantitative Genomics at Colorado State University. His research group develops and implements new approaches to understand and improve crop adaptation with the mission of the development of climate-resilient crops. The methodology includes mapping of genes that underlie climate adaptation and develop new approaches to understand and predict adaptation taking Sorghum as a focal crop. He works directly with breeding programs in developing countries (Senegal, Niger, Haiti, and others) and in the US (Kansas, Texas, South Carolina) to facilitate development of better-adapted varieties of sorghum.

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Dr. Christine Diepenbrock

Assistant Professor, Plant Reproductive Biology, UC Davis
Dr. Diepenbrock is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Her research program aims to understand and improve the nutritional quality and abiotic stress resilience of staple and specialty crops, to ensure a food supply sufficient in quality and quantity for the long term. Her research group focuses on the statistical genetics, computational genomics, phenotyping, and development of integrative models for crop productivity, agronomics, and nutritional quality, in the presence of abiotic stressors such as drought and/or high temperature. With a focus on product delivery, the ultimate goal of her research program is to contribute to the improved nutritional statuses of human beings and livestock on a regional and global scale.

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Dr. Kevin Begcy

Assistant Professor, Plant Biochemistry and Physiology, University of Florida
Dr. Begcy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida. His research group focuses on understanding plant developmental responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. He uses molecular, biochemical, physiological, and genomics/computational tools to elucidate mechanisms used by plants to improve resilience under detrimental conditions. His overall research goal is to elucidate novel pathways and mechanisms that could be used to improve crop performance under unfavorable environmental conditions.

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April Taylor, M.S.

Sustainability Scientist, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
April Taylor is a Tribal Liaison for the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center. She received her B.S. from Texas A&M University in Marine Science and a M.S. from the University of South Carolina in Earth and Environmental Resource Management. As a Chickasaw citizen with a family tradition of Native American grafted pecan trees, she is inspired by helping the tribes manage and plan for the many environmental impacts of climate variability and change. April works with the goal of building research relationships with the 68 tribes in the South Central region. She is actively involved with the training and development of resources for tribal health and vulnerability assessments.

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Dr. P.V. Vara Prasad

Professor, Crop Ecophysiology, Kansas State University
Dr. Prasad is passionate about international research and education. He has several on-going international research programs in Africa (Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Kenya) and Asia (India, Philippines) focusing on soil, water, nutrient and crop management practices, and stress tolerance for improving crop productivity. His research mainly focuses on understanding responses of food grains crop to changing environments (temperature, water and climate change factors) and developing crop management strategies for efficient use of inputs.

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Dr. David Bubeck

Research Director, Plant Breeding, Corteva Agriscience
Dave Bubeck grew up on a diverse crop and livestock farm near Clarion, Iowa. He is currently a Research Director in Seed Product Development for Corteva Agriscience. Dave earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and his Master of Science degree in plant breeding and cytogenetics from Iowa State University. He received his Ph.D. in plant breeding and crop science at North Carolina State University.In his current role, Dave oversees global parent characterization, global germplasm security, as well as providing support for multiple regulatory/compliance/stewardship aspects for the Corteva plant breeding organization. Dave also is currently Past President of the National Association of Plant Breeders, serves on the board of the Seed Science Foundation for the American Seed Trade Association as the Research Chair, and serves on the Board of Directors for Living History Farms.

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