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Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants: Phase II Technical Workshop

Washington, DC and Ashland, OH, USA

Implemented by the ILSI Research Foundation, this technical training program is structured to provide Chinese public-sector scientists in-depth technical information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Read more

Gene Drive Modeling Conference

Washington, D.C., USA

With support from the USDA NIFA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, the ILSI Research Foundation organized this conference to bring together regulators, risk assessors, modelers, and biologists who understand gene drive technology to discuss the applicability of mathematical models for the environmental risk assessment of gene drive organisms.

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Informing Risk Assessment with the Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer (MGDrivE)

Washington, D.C., USA

As part of the ILSI Research Foundation’s Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this presentation by Dr. John Marshall and Ms. Valeri Vasquez introduced the Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer framework, including assumptions, uncertainties, and planned modifications for agricultural pests.

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Next-Generation Food Shock Modeling

Aspen, CO, USA

Co-sponsored by the ILSI Research Foundation and organized by the Aspen Global Change Institute, this workshop facilitated transformational change by bringing together experts from multiple fields to advance next-generation tools and decision support systems that confront current and future challenges to food security and improved nutrition.

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By Invitation Only. 

The ILSI Research Foundation, in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, conducted the first phase of our Technical Training Program on Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants on March 5-7, 2019 in Langfang, China. Aimed at providing Chinese public-sector scientists with in-depth information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from GE crops, Phase I of the program established a baseline understanding of the food safety assessment paradigm, toxicity and allergenicity testing, compositional assessment, and animal testing.

Phase II of the technical training, comprised of laboratory tours and demonstrations of how tests are managed and conducted, as well as how data are collected and interpreted, is scheduled to take place on July 17-21, 2019 in Washington, DC and Ashland, OH, USA. The training includes a review of the concepts from Phase I, with an additional focus on critical reading and review of study reports.

Participants are asked to complete the eLearning module “Application of Problem Formulation for Food and Feed Safety Assessment” in advance of the Phase II workshop.

Agenda

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 1

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Monday, June 17, 2019 · 09:30-16:30
Welcome, Introduction, and Overview of the Workshop
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Recap of Phase I: Basic Concepts in the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods and Feeds, Problem Formulation Methodology, and Guidelines and Methods
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Review of eLearning Modules
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. FDA Regulation of Food from New Plant Varieties: An Overview
Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food & Drug Administration EPA Regulation of Plant-Incorporated Protectants
Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Day 2

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 · 08:30-16:00
Understanding the American Public’s Perceptions of Genetically Modified Food
Dr. Cara L. Cuite, Rutgers University Public Opinion on GE Plants and Food and Feed Derived from Them: China
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University Breakout Groups: Exercise 1 - Risk Communication Group Discussion and Q&A on Public Perception and Communication
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University New Plant Breeding Techniques: Global Status of Regulation of Products for Food and Feed Use
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Breakout Groups: Exercise 2 -Safety Assessment of Provided Case Studies (Case 1: Cry1Ac, Case 2: IPD072Aa), Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Day 3

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 · 08:30-17:30
Introduction to CRL and Rules
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Animal Welfare, Human Health, and Safety Considerations for Animal Testing Facilities
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Acute Oral Toxicity Studies - (a) Design, Guidelines, and Doses, (b) Surrogate Species, (c) Interpreting Results and Writing Reports
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences Breakout Groups Exercise 3: Critical Review of Acute Oral Toxicity Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Discussion and Q&A
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Quality Assurance & Good Laboratory Practices
Ms. Carrie James and Mr. Kelvin Mentzer, Charles River Laboratories Role of a Study Director
Dr. JoAnna Bultman, Charles River Laboratories

 

Biosecurity, Laboratory, and Vivarium Safety
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories

CRL Facility Tour

Day 4

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Thursday, June 20, 2019 · 08:30-17:00
Presentation on Pathology
Dr. Gary Coleman, Charles River Laboratories CRL In-Depth Facility Tour and Demonstration
Ms. Susana Rodriguez, Mr. William Miller, and Mr. Matthew Bennett, Charles River Laboratories
  • Histology
  • Necropsy
  • Neurobehavioral Testing Suite
  • Inlife Dosing and Blood Collection Demonstration
90-Day Sub-Chronic Studies
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Breakout Groups: Exercise 4 - Critical Review of 90-Day Feeding Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Discussion and Q&A

Day 5

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Friday, June 21, 2019 · 08:30-14:30
Bringing It All Together: Writing Relevant and Informative Risk Assessment Summaries
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. RNAi Food and Feed Safety Assessment
Dr. Xu Hu and Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Investigation of an In Vitro Method for Protein Hazard Characterization
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Presentation of Completion Certificates and Workshop Closure

Speakers

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj joined the ILSI Research Foundation as Scientific Program Manager in July 2018. She has worked in academia, the biotechnology industry, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has a combined research and teaching experience of 12 years.

Dr. Bajaj has worked on plant secondary metabolites of nutritional, agricultural, and medicinal importance. Prior to joining the ILSI Research Foundation, Dr. Bajaj held the position of Visiting Scientist at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, where she worked on carotenoid pathway regulation in high polyamine containing tomatoes. Before then, she was an Associate Investigator with the Plant Protection Group at DuPont, where she worked on metabolic engineering as a strategy for insect control in soybean. During her postdoctoral training, she worked on targeted metabolite profiling of triterpene glycosides and phenolic acids in cell suspensions of black cohosh and developed an in vitro protocol for accelerating its seed germination. Dr. Bajaj has also worked as an Assistant Professor at Jaipur National University, India, where she taught genetic engineering, enzymology, and biochemistry courses to masters level students.

Dr. Bajaj received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, India. Her graduate level research comprised of genetic diversity studies on bacterial blight pathogen of clusterbean using molecular markers.

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer is a regulatory scientist in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Additive Safety. He helps administer the Plant Biotechnology Consultation Program, which works with plant biotechnology developers to help them ensure the safety of food from new plant varieties prior to marketing. He joined the Federal Government as a class of 2013 Presidential Management Fellow. Patrick received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2013, where he studied the cell biology of the plant immune system. Prior to graduate school, Patrick worked for the science communication company Genius GmbH in Germany, where he helped develop EU-funded websites to inform consumers about the safety and regulation of genetically engineered plants. Patrick completed a Bachelor of Science in plant science and German studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2005.

Dr. Cara Cuite, Rutgers University

Dr. Cara Cuite is an Assistant Extension Specialist in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Dr. Cuite is a health psychologist who studies community food security, risk communication, and public perceptions of food-related issues, including food safety and genetically engineered foods. More recent projects have focused on communicating about weather-related emergencies as well as interventions to reduce household food, energy, and water use. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, New Jersey Sea Grant, and Johnson & Johnson. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University and a B.S. in Psychology and Modern Languages from Union College.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso is an independent consultant and director at Estel Consult, Ltd. She has been working in the area of risk assessment of genetically modified crops and regulatory affairs for more than 20 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a specialty in zoology and entomology, and a master’s degree in insect physiology and ecology from the University of Barcelona, as well as a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Reading. She worked for Syngenta for 19 years and set up her own consultancy eight years ago. She now supports private and public research activities aimed at developing GM crop solutions and provides training on risk assessment to regulators and developers around the world.

Dr. Xu Hu, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Xu Hu received his B.S. in Plant Protection from Henan Agricultural College, China in 1982. He earned his M.S. in Plant Pathology in 1985 and then worked as a research associate for three years at Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS), Beijing, China.  He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph, Canada in 1994.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Xu Hu conducted postdoctoral research in Colorado State University, working on the expression of antifungal protein genes in transgenic potato plants and on the improvement of seed oil content in Brassica napus at the Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of Canada. Xu joined Pioneer in 1998 as a discovery post-doc for molecular characterization of Sclerotinia resistance in transgenic sunflower plant, and then as a senior research associate for the generation of novel resistance against soybean cyst nematode (SCN). As a principal research scientist, Xu led a team working on transgenic resistance to soybean fungal diseases and contributed in RNAi studies on SCN and corn rootworm control. In 2011, Xu took the role of corn rootworm RNAi project leader where he collaborated across functions to progress the RNAi technology through the trait development pipeline. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Xu briefly worked corn diseases and transitioned to input trait discovery, Corteva Agrisciences in 2019, working on genomics-based insecticidal discovery.

Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University

Dr. Xenia Morin is the Senior Associate Dean for Learning, the Undergraduate Program Director for the Agriculture and Food Systems Program, and an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. Dr. Morin works and collaborates at the intersection of science, social science, and society, and she participates in tackling the formidable challenge of feeding our growing population. As a trained plant biochemist, her research and teaching has grown increasingly interdisciplinary over the years and she now focuses on agriculture and food systems. She has studied, researched, published, and taught on the topic of genetically modified food since 2001 at Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University, and now at Rutgers University.

Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Jason Roper earned his B.S. in Biomedical Science with a minor in Chemistry from Western Michigan University in 1997. He then completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Following his post-graduate studies, Jason worked for six years as Senior Toxicologist and Study Director at a contract research organization specializing in GLP mammalian toxicology studies. He joined DuPont Pioneer in 2011 as Research Scientist and Toxicologist, managing a team of scientists responsible for the planning and execution of mammalian, livestock, and avian toxicology studies to support product safety evaluations for global regulatory submissions of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant maize, soybean, rice, and canola products.

Jason joined the DuPont Central Research and Development (CR&D) group at Haskell Global Centers for Health and Environmental Sciences in 2013 as Principal Investigator and Senior Research Toxicologist, providing consulting services for the several DuPont businesses in the agricultural, biotechnology, and food industries. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Jason led the general, neuro- and inhalation toxicology competencies at Haskell Global Centers until transitioning to the Corteva Agrisciences (a division of DowDuPont) seeds business in 2019, as a subject-matter expert for regulatory toxicology and product safety. Jason has served as Chair of the CropLife International Toxicology Expert Team (2016-2018) and the DuPont Agricultural Animal Resource Committee (2016-present), Vice-Chair of the Haskell Animal Welfare Committee (2013-2017), and is a member of the HESI Protein Allergen, Toxin, and Bioinformatics (PATB) group and the Haskell Contract Laboratory Evaluation and Approval Team (2015-present).

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak received his training in Plant Pathology and Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where his research efforts focused on understanding cell differentiation and morphogenesis in Sorghum bicolor. As a post-doctoral associate, Chris then worked to develop insect resistant cotton and to develop protocols for genetic transformation of sugarbeet. He subsequently joined the USDA-ARS full time to study the biological control of an insect pest in sugarbeet.

After 18 years in plant science research, Chris entered the world of regulatory science at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Pesticide Programs as a risk assessor and human health specialist. At EPA, Chris performed risk assessments of microbial and plant-based pesticides, particularly in the areas of human health and environmental consequences of gene flow.

As a Biotechnology Special Assistant in the Office of Pesticide Programs at US EPA, Dr. Wozniak focuses on issues of biotechnology policy, interagency coordination of biotech regulation, and environmental risk assessment of plant-incorporated protectants and sterility mechanisms in mosquitoes.

Group Photo of Phase I & II Participants and Key Faculty (Langfang, China,  March 5, 2019) Group Photo of Phase I & II Participants and Key Faculty (Langfang, China, March 5, 2019) [post_title] => Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants: Phase II Technical Workshop [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => china-phase2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-10 15:43:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-10 15:43:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsirf.org/?post_type=event&p=10928 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => event [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10780 [post_author] => 65 [post_date] => 2019-04-18 18:41:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-18 18:41:08 [post_content] => Overview Agenda Webinar Series: Videos Registration Overview

Gene drive technology refers to any of a set of similar mechanisms that can be engineered to drive inheritance of an allele through a population through higher transmission from parents to offspring than predicted by Mendelian inheritance. The potential applications of this technology in agriculture are many and include uses for pest, disease, and weed control. Because field-testing of gene drives in the environment is problematic, mathematical modeling of gene drives will be important in understanding their potential environmental impacts. The ILSI Research Foundation organized the Gene Drive Modeling Conference to bring together regulators, risk assessors, modelers, and biologists who understand gene drive technology to discuss the applicability of models for the environmental risk assessment of gene drive organisms, as well as to identify criteria for establishing the quality of information that will be needed to inform future risk assessments of gene drives.

The conference was made possible through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program for the purpose of fostering a discussion between U.S. regulatory agencies and scientists in the field of modeling for gene drive research. 

[caption id="attachment_10940" align="alignnone" width="1015"] Participants of the Gene Drive Modeling Conference (June 11, 2019)[/caption]

Agenda

[supsystic-tables id=14]

Webinar Series: Videos

The Gene Drive Modeling Conference was preceded by a series of invitation-only webinars, for which recordings are available below.


[supsystic-tables id=15]

Registration

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Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series

valeri_vasquez_square

Ms. Valeri Vasquez

Berkeley Institute for Data Science
University of California, Berkeley

The advent of CRISPR/Cas9-based gene-editing and its demonstrated ability to streamline the development of gene drive systems has reignited interest in the application of this technology to disease-transmitting mosquitoes and insect agricultural pests. The versatility of the technology has also enabled a wide range of gene drive architectures to be realized, creating a need for their population-level and spatial dynamics to be explored using mathematical models. The Mosquito Gene Drive Explorer (MGDrivE) is a simulation framework designed to investigate the population dynamics of a variety of gene drive systems as they spread through spatially-explicit insect populations. While MGDrivE was primarily designed for application to the mosquito vectors of malaria and arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, its modularity means that, with a few small changes, it could be applied to insect pests of agricultural significance, such as the medfly, spotted wing drosophila, or the Asian citrus psyllid vector of Citrus Huanglongbing. As part of the Gene Drive Modeling Conference Seminar Series, this online presentation focused on the modules of the MGDrivE framework, including assumptions, uncertainties, and planned modifications for agricultural pests. The presenters demonstrated the tool's application in a few toy scenarios and discussed relevance to important risk assessment questions in the agricultural space.

The online seminar was by invitation only. A recorded webcast may be viewed below (or at this link).

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Organized by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)
Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Staff_Mclean_updated

Dr. Morven McLean

Executive Director
ILSI Research Foundation

The ILSI Research Foundation is a non-profit, scientific organization engaged in applied research, technical capacity building, and outreach on topics that cut across agriculture, environment, and nutrition. Our commitment to interdisciplinary science has opened up opportunities for the organization to extend its work, sometimes in unexpected ways. During this event, Dr. Morven McLean, Executive Director, shared some examples, including how the ILSI Research Foundation's conceptual work in environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered plants ended up being used to help frame discussions about the potential release of gene drive mosquitoes for malaria control in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Morven McLean is the Executive Director of the ILSI Research Foundation, where she provides strategic direction, and management of, the ILSI Research Foundation's investigator-initiated research programs and its extensive portfolio of education and training activities in the fields of nutrition, food safety, sustainable agriculture, and human and environmental risk assessment.

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By Invitation Only. 

The ILSI Research Foundation, in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, conducted the first phase of our Technical Training Program on Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants on March 5-7, 2019 in Langfang, China. Aimed at providing Chinese public-sector scientists with in-depth information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from GE crops, Phase I of the program established a baseline understanding of the food safety assessment paradigm, toxicity and allergenicity testing, compositional assessment, and animal testing.

Phase II of the technical training, comprised of laboratory tours and demonstrations of how tests are managed and conducted, as well as how data are collected and interpreted, is scheduled to take place on July 17-21, 2019 in Washington, DC and Ashland, OH, USA. The training includes a review of the concepts from Phase I, with an additional focus on critical reading and review of study reports.

Participants are asked to complete the eLearning module “Application of Problem Formulation for Food and Feed Safety Assessment” in advance of the Phase II workshop.

Agenda

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 1

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Monday, June 17, 2019 · 09:30-16:30
Welcome, Introduction, and Overview of the Workshop
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Recap of Phase I: Basic Concepts in the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods and Feeds, Problem Formulation Methodology, and Guidelines and Methods
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Review of eLearning Modules
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. FDA Regulation of Food from New Plant Varieties: An Overview
Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food & Drug Administration EPA Regulation of Plant-Incorporated Protectants
Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Day 2

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 · 08:30-16:00
Understanding the American Public’s Perceptions of Genetically Modified Food
Dr. Cara L. Cuite, Rutgers University Public Opinion on GE Plants and Food and Feed Derived from Them: China
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University Breakout Groups: Exercise 1 - Risk Communication Group Discussion and Q&A on Public Perception and Communication
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University New Plant Breeding Techniques: Global Status of Regulation of Products for Food and Feed Use
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Breakout Groups: Exercise 2 -Safety Assessment of Provided Case Studies (Case 1: Cry1Ac, Case 2: IPD072Aa), Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Day 3

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 · 08:30-17:30
Introduction to CRL and Rules
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Animal Welfare, Human Health, and Safety Considerations for Animal Testing Facilities
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Acute Oral Toxicity Studies - (a) Design, Guidelines, and Doses, (b) Surrogate Species, (c) Interpreting Results and Writing Reports
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences Breakout Groups Exercise 3: Critical Review of Acute Oral Toxicity Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Discussion and Q&A
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Quality Assurance & Good Laboratory Practices
Ms. Carrie James and Mr. Kelvin Mentzer, Charles River Laboratories Role of a Study Director
Dr. JoAnna Bultman, Charles River Laboratories

 

Biosecurity, Laboratory, and Vivarium Safety
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories

CRL Facility Tour

Day 4

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Thursday, June 20, 2019 · 08:30-17:00
Presentation on Pathology
Dr. Gary Coleman, Charles River Laboratories CRL In-Depth Facility Tour and Demonstration
Ms. Susana Rodriguez, Mr. William Miller, and Mr. Matthew Bennett, Charles River Laboratories
  • Histology
  • Necropsy
  • Neurobehavioral Testing Suite
  • Inlife Dosing and Blood Collection Demonstration
90-Day Sub-Chronic Studies
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Breakout Groups: Exercise 4 - Critical Review of 90-Day Feeding Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Discussion and Q&A

Day 5

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Friday, June 21, 2019 · 08:30-14:30
Bringing It All Together: Writing Relevant and Informative Risk Assessment Summaries
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. RNAi Food and Feed Safety Assessment
Dr. Xu Hu and Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Investigation of an In Vitro Method for Protein Hazard Characterization
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Presentation of Completion Certificates and Workshop Closure

Speakers

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj joined the ILSI Research Foundation as Scientific Program Manager in July 2018. She has worked in academia, the biotechnology industry, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has a combined research and teaching experience of 12 years.

Dr. Bajaj has worked on plant secondary metabolites of nutritional, agricultural, and medicinal importance. Prior to joining the ILSI Research Foundation, Dr. Bajaj held the position of Visiting Scientist at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, where she worked on carotenoid pathway regulation in high polyamine containing tomatoes. Before then, she was an Associate Investigator with the Plant Protection Group at DuPont, where she worked on metabolic engineering as a strategy for insect control in soybean. During her postdoctoral training, she worked on targeted metabolite profiling of triterpene glycosides and phenolic acids in cell suspensions of black cohosh and developed an in vitro protocol for accelerating its seed germination. Dr. Bajaj has also worked as an Assistant Professor at Jaipur National University, India, where she taught genetic engineering, enzymology, and biochemistry courses to masters level students.

Dr. Bajaj received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, India. Her graduate level research comprised of genetic diversity studies on bacterial blight pathogen of clusterbean using molecular markers.

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer is a regulatory scientist in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Additive Safety. He helps administer the Plant Biotechnology Consultation Program, which works with plant biotechnology developers to help them ensure the safety of food from new plant varieties prior to marketing. He joined the Federal Government as a class of 2013 Presidential Management Fellow. Patrick received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2013, where he studied the cell biology of the plant immune system. Prior to graduate school, Patrick worked for the science communication company Genius GmbH in Germany, where he helped develop EU-funded websites to inform consumers about the safety and regulation of genetically engineered plants. Patrick completed a Bachelor of Science in plant science and German studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2005.

Dr. Cara Cuite, Rutgers University

Dr. Cara Cuite is an Assistant Extension Specialist in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Dr. Cuite is a health psychologist who studies community food security, risk communication, and public perceptions of food-related issues, including food safety and genetically engineered foods. More recent projects have focused on communicating about weather-related emergencies as well as interventions to reduce household food, energy, and water use. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, New Jersey Sea Grant, and Johnson & Johnson. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University and a B.S. in Psychology and Modern Languages from Union College.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso is an independent consultant and director at Estel Consult, Ltd. She has been working in the area of risk assessment of genetically modified crops and regulatory affairs for more than 20 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a specialty in zoology and entomology, and a master’s degree in insect physiology and ecology from the University of Barcelona, as well as a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Reading. She worked for Syngenta for 19 years and set up her own consultancy eight years ago. She now supports private and public research activities aimed at developing GM crop solutions and provides training on risk assessment to regulators and developers around the world.

Dr. Xu Hu, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Xu Hu received his B.S. in Plant Protection from Henan Agricultural College, China in 1982. He earned his M.S. in Plant Pathology in 1985 and then worked as a research associate for three years at Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS), Beijing, China.  He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph, Canada in 1994.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Xu Hu conducted postdoctoral research in Colorado State University, working on the expression of antifungal protein genes in transgenic potato plants and on the improvement of seed oil content in Brassica napus at the Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of Canada. Xu joined Pioneer in 1998 as a discovery post-doc for molecular characterization of Sclerotinia resistance in transgenic sunflower plant, and then as a senior research associate for the generation of novel resistance against soybean cyst nematode (SCN). As a principal research scientist, Xu led a team working on transgenic resistance to soybean fungal diseases and contributed in RNAi studies on SCN and corn rootworm control. In 2011, Xu took the role of corn rootworm RNAi project leader where he collaborated across functions to progress the RNAi technology through the trait development pipeline. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Xu briefly worked corn diseases and transitioned to input trait discovery, Corteva Agrisciences in 2019, working on genomics-based insecticidal discovery.

Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University

Dr. Xenia Morin is the Senior Associate Dean for Learning, the Undergraduate Program Director for the Agriculture and Food Systems Program, and an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. Dr. Morin works and collaborates at the intersection of science, social science, and society, and she participates in tackling the formidable challenge of feeding our growing population. As a trained plant biochemist, her research and teaching has grown increasingly interdisciplinary over the years and she now focuses on agriculture and food systems. She has studied, researched, published, and taught on the topic of genetically modified food since 2001 at Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University, and now at Rutgers University.

Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Jason Roper earned his B.S. in Biomedical Science with a minor in Chemistry from Western Michigan University in 1997. He then completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Following his post-graduate studies, Jason worked for six years as Senior Toxicologist and Study Director at a contract research organization specializing in GLP mammalian toxicology studies. He joined DuPont Pioneer in 2011 as Research Scientist and Toxicologist, managing a team of scientists responsible for the planning and execution of mammalian, livestock, and avian toxicology studies to support product safety evaluations for global regulatory submissions of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant maize, soybean, rice, and canola products.

Jason joined the DuPont Central Research and Development (CR&D) group at Haskell Global Centers for Health and Environmental Sciences in 2013 as Principal Investigator and Senior Research Toxicologist, providing consulting services for the several DuPont businesses in the agricultural, biotechnology, and food industries. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Jason led the general, neuro- and inhalation toxicology competencies at Haskell Global Centers until transitioning to the Corteva Agrisciences (a division of DowDuPont) seeds business in 2019, as a subject-matter expert for regulatory toxicology and product safety. Jason has served as Chair of the CropLife International Toxicology Expert Team (2016-2018) and the DuPont Agricultural Animal Resource Committee (2016-present), Vice-Chair of the Haskell Animal Welfare Committee (2013-2017), and is a member of the HESI Protein Allergen, Toxin, and Bioinformatics (PATB) group and the Haskell Contract Laboratory Evaluation and Approval Team (2015-present).

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak received his training in Plant Pathology and Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where his research efforts focused on understanding cell differentiation and morphogenesis in Sorghum bicolor. As a post-doctoral associate, Chris then worked to develop insect resistant cotton and to develop protocols for genetic transformation of sugarbeet. He subsequently joined the USDA-ARS full time to study the biological control of an insect pest in sugarbeet.

After 18 years in plant science research, Chris entered the world of regulatory science at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Pesticide Programs as a risk assessor and human health specialist. At EPA, Chris performed risk assessments of microbial and plant-based pesticides, particularly in the areas of human health and environmental consequences of gene flow.

As a Biotechnology Special Assistant in the Office of Pesticide Programs at US EPA, Dr. Wozniak focuses on issues of biotechnology policy, interagency coordination of biotech regulation, and environmental risk assessment of plant-incorporated protectants and sterility mechanisms in mosquitoes.

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