Members of the Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences Scientific Committee

Dirk InzeChair: Dirk Inzé, Scientific Director of the VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie), Department of Plant Systems Biology, Belgium

Professor Dirk Inzé’s research ambition is to decipher the complex molecular networks regulating plant organ growth and crop productivity using maize and the model plant Arabidopsis. Under his directorship, the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology has become one of the world-leading centres for advanced plant sciences. Before joining the VIB, he was appointed Research Director of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) at the Ghent Joint Laboratory, where he initiated highly successful research programmes on the cell cycle and growth control in plants. He was one of the scientific founders of the biotechnology company CropDesign. Currently, he is a member of different Advisory Boards such as the International Scientific Advisory Board (CEITEC, Czech Republic), the Advisory Committee of RIKEN Plant Science Centre and the Biomass project (Japan), and SAB member of the Joint Research Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).


Ruedi AebersoldRuedi Aebersold, Professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Professor Aebersold’s research focus is the proteome, the ensemble of proteins expressed by a species. His research group moved proteomics from a technology focused on identifying the proteins contained in a sample into an essential life science technology that quantifies the functional protein modules of the cell. Moreover, the development and the distribution of open source software tools developed by his group to the proteomics community further increased the impact of proteomics on basic biology and clinical research. In the past, he has led SystemsX.ch, the Swiss initiative for systems biology that provided training for the next generation of systems biologists. Finally, he is the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Human Proteome Organisation programme to develop assays and standardised methods to make the routine and accurate quantification of all human proteins associated with a particular disease or biological process generically a reality.


Lucia BanciLucia Banci, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Centre of Magnetic Resonance (CERM) at the University of Florence, Italy

Professor Banci’s interest is focused on structural biology, within an integrated, cellular perspective. Her research exploits mainly high resolution NMR spectroscopy, to which she has also contributed methodological and theoretical advancements. Currently, she is aiming at the development of integrated and cellular structural biology projects. Moreover, her research includes studying mechanistic aspects of systems biology of metal ions and developing innovative approaches in rational vaccine design, such as the structural vaccinology. She is also developing new approaches and applications in cell NMR for characterisation of functional processes directly in living cells with an atomic resolution. Professor Banci is one of the founders and current Director of the Centre of Magnetic Resonance of the University of Florence.


Cedric BlanpainCedric Blanpain, Professor in Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium

Cedric Blanpain is also an investigator at the Walloon Excellence in Life Science and Biotechnology, Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humaine at Moléculaire, Université Libre de Bruxelles. His research group is studying stem cell fate during embryonic development, tissue homeostasis and repair as well as the role of stem cells during cancer initiation and growth. He graduated as a medical doctor and received his PhD in Medical Sciences at the ULB. Currently, he is a member of scientific evaluation committees including the ERC Starting Grant, the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Association for International Cancer Research and the International Scientific Advisory Board for the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (UK).


Janusz M. BujnickiJanusz M. Bujnicki, Head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IIMCB), Warsaw, Poland

Professor Janusz M. Bujnicki is currently leading an interdisciplinary laboratory in IIMCB in Warsaw and another small group at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. He is currently leading an interdisciplinary laboratory in IIMCB in Warsaw and another small group at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. His expertise is in the development of computer software and methods for prediction of various aspects of macromolecular structure and function and in their application to study proteins, nucleic acids, and their complexes. His current interests revolve around RNA and protein-RNA interactions and include modelling of macromolecular structure formation and structure-based sequence design. Janusz is also a member of Scientific Policy Committee – advisory body for the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, and is active in various other bodies and organizations involved in science policy.


Carlo CalfapietraCarlo Calfapietra, Researcher at Institute of Agro-Environmental and Forest Biology (IBAF), National Research Council (CNR), Porano, Italy

Dr Calfapietra’s interest is in studying plant ecophysiology and molecular biology in relation to global change, air pollution, forestry plantations, forest fires, urban forestry, and extreme environments. He obtained his PhD in Forest Ecology at the University of Padua. He received a Marie Curie fellowship to conduct his research at University of Madison, USA. He is a member of the Excellence Centre ChechGlobe for studies on global change, and co-ordinator of the COST Action FP1204. Moreover, he is a lecturer at the University of Tuscia and is involved in evaluations of various national and international grants and institutions.


Dusko EhrlichStanislav Dusko Ehrlich, Research Director Emeritus in Microbiology and Food Chain Division at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France

Doctor Ehrlich is a founder and CSO of a microbiome-based biomarker discovery start-up company, Enterome. Moreover, he was a founder of the Microbial Genetics Research Unit and Microbiology Division of INRA. His current scientific interests are in human metagenomics and the role of gut microbiome in the health and disease. Professor Ehrlich was a laureate of the Excellence of the Agriculture Award and received a prestigious grant from the French Investissement d’Avenir Metagenopolis to support research efforts in gut metagenomics. He is a member of the French Academy of Agriculture, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the American Academy of Microbiology and EMBO, as well as a Chevalier de l’Ordre de Merite et de la Légion d’Honneur.


Wilhelm HeinrichWilhelm Heinrich, Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology at the University of Berlin and at the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, Germany

Professor Heinrich’s interest is studying mineral equilibria, mineral-fluid phase relations and compositions of immiscible fluids in geologically relevant systems. His current research includes major and trace element partitioning between solids and fluids, structure, composition and phase transformations of minerals at high P,T, and reaction-enhanced transport of fluids in synthetic systems and natural rocks. Quantification of transport processes on the nano- and microscale plays a dominant role in current research. Professor Heinrich is the President of the European Mineralogical Union.


Hojka KraigherHojka Kraigher, Professor at the Slovenian Forestry Institute (SFI), Slovenia

Professor Kraigher’s interest is in physiology and ecology of forest trees and their symbionts and conservation of forest genetic resources. Currently, she is a Professor of Botany and Head of Department for Forest Physiology and Genetics at the Slovenian Forestry Institute in Ljubljana. She is co-ordinating at present an EU Framework Programme 7 project dedicated to infrastructures. Professor Kraigher is the authorised person by the Ministry for Agriculture and Environment responsible for the field of conservation of forest genetic resources and certification of the forest reproductive material. Moreover, she serves as the President of the Scientific Council for Biotechnical Sciences at the Slovenian Research Agency, and the Scientific Advisor to the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.


Kai LindstromKai Lindström, Professor at the Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

Professor Lindström’s interest is in the evolutionary processes related to reproduction and in particular the evolution of male parental care through sexual selection. His research group also addresses questions on mating system evolution, ecological effects on sexual selection and mate choice evolution. Professor Lindström has been a member of various boards and faculties such as the Ecology and Systematics Board of the University of Helsinki, and the Mathematical and Natural Sciences Faculty of the Åbo Akademi University. He was first a member and then served as the Chair of the Research Council for Biosciences and Environment of the Academy of Finland.


Peter LissPeter Liss, Professorial Fellow in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Professor Liss’s interest is in the processes of air-sea gas exchange, the mechanisms of trace gas formation in the oceans, and their reactivity and role in the atmosphere. He received the Challenger Society Medal, the Plymouth Marine Sciences Medal, and the John Jeyes Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has been Chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the Scientific Steering Committee for the international SOLAS Project and the ERC’s Advanced Grants Panel in Earth System Science. Currently, he serves as the Chair of the Marine Environmental and Data Information Network, the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology in Scotland Advisory Board and the National Oceanography Centre Association’s Board. Currently, he has been appointed as an Interim Executive Director of the International Council for Science based in Paris.


Franz MakeschinFranz Makeschin, Chair of the Soil Science and Soil Protection Commission, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany

Professor Makeschin serves as the Chair of several Commissions, including the Soil Science and Soil Protection at the Dresden University of Technology, the Federal Environment Agency and the German Soil and Land Use Alliance. Professor Makeschin’s interest is in studying land use, soil protection and integrated land use assessment. He has worked on various international research projects in Brazil (BMBF: water resources management in Brasilia), Ecuador (DFG: land use indication) and Guangxi-China (BMBF and Chinese Academy of Forestry: assessment of sustainable forest land use). Professor Makeschin is a member of numerous institutions and committees, including the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech) and the German UNESCO Commission.


Ülo NiimemetsÜlo Niinemets, Professor and the Head of the Department of Plant Physiology at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia

Professor Niinemets is currently the Head of the Department of Plant Physiology at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, where he is in charge of a research team dealing with quantification and predictive modelling of plant carbon gain and trace gas exchange from leaf to ecosystem, landscape and biome scales under globally changing climates. He obtained his PhD in plant ecophysiology at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Bayreuth, Germany among others. Professor Niinemets is a member of the Science Policy Committee of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. He has provided input to development of relevant science policy legislation in Estonia and has participated in scientific committees of several Estonian research institutions.


Ina TegenProfessor Ina Tegen, Head of the Modelling Department of the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, University of Leipzig, Germany

Professor Ina Tegen’s research focuses on the atmospheric transport and effects of atmospheric aerosols. The recent Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognizes that aerosol particles are a major uncertainty factor in global radiative forcing estimates. Ina Tegen investigates the atmospheric controls and effects of the particles by means of computer models, ranging from small-scale regional to global model studies. In particular, she has a strong interest in understanding the different aspects of mineral dust aerosol, that are transported from the World’s deserts over thousands of kilometers by atmospheric wind systems. Dust particles impact on the atmospheric radiation budget and cloud formation, as well as on oceanic and possibly even terrestrial ecosystems when deposited to the surface by sedimentation or precipitation. She heads the department ‘Modelling of Atmospheric Processes’ at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research and is a professor for Meteorology at the University of Leipzig, Germany.


Rinus WortelRinus Wortel, Professor at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Professor Wortel’s interest is in dynamic processes in the earth’s lithosphere and upper mantle, with integration of numerical modelling and geological, geophysical and geodetic observations. He has long experience in structuring and co-ordinating national and international collaborative and integrative earth science projects. He served first as a member and then as the Vice-Chairman of the board of the Earth and Life Sciences section of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He is a member of the Academia Europaea, of the Earth Science section of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and of the KNAW task force on Agenda 2020 for Geosciences. Moreover, currently he serves as a member of various scientific evaluation committees, including the ERC panel on Earth System Science.

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