Plenary speaker

Scott Jackson

Genetic Pipeline Design Lead Bayer Crop Science

Scott Jackson is the Genetic Pipeline Design Lead at Bayer Crop Science. Also, he is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia.  At the University of Georgia, he led the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. Scott’s research has focused on decoding plant genomes to better understand their evolutionary histories and how to better engineer crop plants for the future. He led several genome sequencing efforts (e.g. soybean, peanut, common bean) and has been involved in translating genome sequences into advances in understanding the structure and function of plant genomes with a focus on genome duplications common in plant histories.

Currently, he leads a team of scientists at Bayer Corp. responsible for innovating and designing optimal crop improvement strategies.

Anne E. Dorrance

Professor, Associate Dean and Director, Department of Plant Pathology College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Ohio State University, USA

The long term efforts in the soybean pathology lab are aimed at understanding the components of partial resistance at both the phenotypic and physiological level with the potential of linking this response to genetic markers as well as the genetic and cultural drivers that are affecting change in the pathogen populations. Her work is focused on development of disease resistance in soybeans to Phytophthora sojae, Pythium spp. and Fusarium graminearum, population assessment of P. sojae, mapping of both single Rps genes and quantitative trait loci associated with resistance to P. sojae, evaluation of fungicide seed treatments, detection and identification of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, fungicide efficacy and timing studies and development of integrated disease management strategies for management of all soybean diseases

Junyi Gai

Professor & Honorary Director National Center for Soybean Improvement Nanjing Agricultural University, China

Junyi Gai, former director of China National Center for Soybean Improvement and professor of genetics and plant breeding at Nanjing Agricultural University, has been devoting his efforts in studies on soybean germplasm resources, genetics and breeding for 60 years. He collected and studied ~20 thousand accessions of soybean germplasms, especially from southern China. His studies explored the genetic diversities of the Chinese germplasm through genetic and genomic analysis, mined multiple traits’ QTLs/genes and generated excellent materials. Junyi Gai extended the maturity group system to China and proposed a Chinese soybean eco-region system. As a breeder, he managed the National Soybean Breeding Plan comprising 24 institutions for 15 years and released 25 cultivars from his own program. As a geneticist, he established the generalized major gene plus minor gene mixed inheritance hypothesis and analytical procedures for quantitative traits.

Larry C. Purcell

Distinguished Professor and Altheimer Chair for Soybean Research Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences University of Arkansas, USA

Larry C. Purcell is a Crop Physiologist, and his research focuses on genetic differences in the efficiency with which crops use essential resources, particularly water and nitrogen, and how these resources can be managed effectively for crop production. Dr. Purcell is recognized as an authority in soybean on the response of nitrogen fixation to drought and for collaborative research developing agronomic drought tolerance. Dr. Purcell has published 126 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 20 book chapters, and over 150 abstracts. He also has been awarded three patents. Dr. Purcell served on the Crop Science Editorial Board for 6 years as an associate editor and for 3 years as a technical editor. He served 3 years on the Crop Science Society of America Board of Directors representing the Crop Physiology and Metabolism Division, and he is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Plant Production.

Session Moderators





Dr. Henry T. Nguyen

Division of Plant Sciences and National Center for Soybean Biotechnology
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA 

Dr. Henry T. Nguyen is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Plant Genetics. He has a distinguished career in plant genetics and biotechnology research and teaching and is internationally recognized for his research in plant adaptation to stress environments. His research focuses on genetic analysis of abiotic stress tolerance, nematode resistance, and value-added seed composition traits in soybean and applies genomic technology to legume crop improvement.

Dr. Emerson Nafziger

Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois USA

Dr. Emerson Nafziger is Professor Emeritus in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He served as Professor and Extension Agronomist for 36 years at the University of Illinois, doing applied research and extension educational programming on production of maize, wheat, and soybean, including nitrogen nutrition in maize. His international experience began with four years in Bangladesh working to introduce soybean as a crop, and he has experience in soybean and maize production in South Asia, China, and Brasil.


Dr. Tomislav Duvnjak

Agricultural Institute Osijek, 31000 Osijek, Croatia 

Dr. Tomislav Duvnjak is a Plant Pathologist at the Department for Breeding and Genetics of Industrial Plants, Agricultural Institute Osijek, Osijek, Croatia. His research is focused on mainly fungal soybean diseases. He is the member of the Scientific Committee of the 11th World Soybean Research Conference.

Dr. Julio Ferrarotti

JF AgroSciences Consultant, 2000 Rosario, Argentina

Julio Ferrarotti is an independent soy breeder, currently advising companies from various countries. His research focused on the development of new soybean cultivars for different regions of the world in both hemiospheres. He is currently an advisor to seed companies in the field of genetic improvement and a member of the Continuing Committee of the 11th World Soybean Research Conference.


Dr. Vidyadhar Kawalkar

World Noni Research Foundation Chennai, India. World Wellness Organization, Chennai, India. 

Dr. Vidyadhar Kawalkar is a special invitee member of the Research Advisory Board of the World Noni Research Foundation and President, WAM of the World Wellness Organization and President, Academic Advisory Board, Life Success Academy, World Wellness Organization, Chennai, India. His research focused on nutritional studies. He is President & Convenor of the Nutrition Society of India, Bhopal Chapter & Member of the National Executive Council of Nutrition Society of India, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. He elected in Brazil, is former Continuing Committee Member of the International Soybean Processing & Utilization Conference- ISPUC V.

Dr. Brian Diers

Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

Dr. Brian Diers is a soybean breeder and geneticist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, USA. His research is focused on developing soybean varieties with improved seed quality and disease and pest resistance. He is also currently part of the Soybean Innovation Lab, a USAID funded project that is focused on soybean improvement in Africa.

Dr. Christopher Tinius

Formerly Head of Soybean Breeding, BASF now retired 

Dr. Christopher Tinius is formerly the Head of Soybean Breeding at BASF and retired at the end of 2019 after 41 years involved with soybean breeding. He managed breeding projects for several companies in both North and South America and developed numerous improved soybean cultivars.