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Objective

Developing and applying sound science to the environmental risk assessment (ERA) of biotechnologies is crucial for safely realizing their contributions to human health and sustainable production of food, fuel, and fiber. Whether it be through improving systematic approaches to inform understanding of plausible risks associated with the use of gene drive strategies or working to maximize the value of data, the ILSI Research Foundation continues its longstanding commitment to serve as a scientific resource for governments, academic institutions, and private sector organizations.

Collaborators & Partners

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Government of Australia

Current Actvity

The ILSI Research Foundation's active programs related to environmental risk assessment (ERA) include:

Data Transportability for Field Trial Research

Confined field trials (CFTs) are conducted to inform environmental risk assessments that are required by regulatory authorities before genetically engineered crops can be approved and released for cultivation. Many countries expect CFTs to be conducted as a matter of course, even if satisfactory data are already
available from trials conducted elsewhere. The primary variable that differentiates CFT locations is agroclimate, which means that data from trials cultivated in like agroclimates should be considered relevant and sufficient to satisfy regulatory requirements, irrespective of the country where the CFTs are conducted.

ERA for the Use of Gene Drive

According to the World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide in 2016, with 90% of this total concentrated in the African region. Alarmingly, and despite an increased public health focus on the elimination of malaria, it is becoming clear that many countries will not be able to achieve this goal without considering novel management approaches. One control strategy in the early stages of development is the use of gene drive mechanisms to suppress or replace vector mosquito populations.

Past Work

The ILSI Research Foundation's concluded projects in the area of environmental risk assessment include:

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work we are doing by reading our monthly newsletter.

eLearning

The ILSI Research Foundation has developed eLearning courses that focus on environmental risk assessment.

4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The ILSI Research Foundation’s South Asia Biosafety Program is sponsoring a technical session on Biosafety and the Environment at the 4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture, which is being organized jointly by the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists and Innovation in Plant and Food Sciences.

Read more

7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference (SABC2019)

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Under the auspices of the South Asia Biosafety Program, the ILSI Research Foundation and Biotech Consortium India Limited organized the 7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference (SABC 2019), the premier biosafety meeting in South Asia.

Read more

SAARC Regional Expert Consultation Meeting on the Progress and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The ILSI Research Foundation’s South Asia Biosafety Program and the SAARC Agriculture Center (SAC) co-organized the SAARC Regional Expert Consultation Meeting on the Progress and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia to share information on the current status of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety regulations in the region.

Read more

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									Overview			
					
				Overview
							

The ILSI Research Foundation's South Asia Biosafety (SABP) Program sponsored the technical session on Biosafety and the Environment at the 4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture (4th IPFS-ICBHA 2019). Jointly organized by the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) and Innovation in Plant and Food Sciences, the 4th IPFS-ICBHA 2019 took place at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, Dhaka University, on November 11-13, 2019. Convened every two years, the conference provides a platform for Bangladeshi biotechnologists from around the world to meet and exchange thoughts, ideas, and experimental findings, as well as build capacity and create awareness about the latest trends in biotechnology. The three-day event included 22 sessions and concurrent workshops.

During the technical session on Biosafety and the Environment, Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation Deputy Executive Director, delivered a presentation about the context of biosafety for biotechnology researchers, and Dr. Aparna Islam, SABP Country Manager, discussed the regulatory system in Bangladesh.

More information about the conference is available on the GNOBB website.

Abstract Presentation: Biosafety for the Biotechnologist – Navigation Biosafety Requirements as a Researcher
Dr. Andrew F. Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

It has been nearly 50 years since the first use of recombinant DNA technology to modify the genome of a bacterium. Since then, the use of recombinant DNA organisms, together with a suite of other biotechnologies, has changed the face of biological and medical research. However, as biotechnology has moved from the laboratory into practical application, an array of political, social and regulatory issues have emerged which can confound research and development of recombinant DNA organisms. This presentation will review the history and context for biosafety regulation of recombinant DNA organisms and provide some insight into how a modern biotechnology researcher can effectively navigate biosafety regulatory requirements in pursuit of their research and the development of recombinant DNA organisms for use in food or the environment.

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Dr. Morven McLean, ILSI Research Foundation Executive Director, delivered a presentation on Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Edited Plants at the Symposium on Risk Assessment and Regulation of Genome Edited Plants, which took place on October 8-9, 2019 in Manila, the Philippines. The symposium was convened by the Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture, Government of the Philippines to provide an opportunity for Filipino scientists, risk assessors, and regulators to learn about the science of gene editing, as well as how risk assessment and regulation of products of new plant breeding techniques are being considered in key countries, such as Australia, Germany, Japan, and the United States. The two-day symposium concluded with a discussion about considerations for the regulation of genome edited plants in the Philippines

Agenda and Presentations

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Infogram

Hover and then click on the three dots at the top right hand corner of the infographic for more options. Click here to access a larger version.

Overview Overview

7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference - Conference Book

Download the conference book here!

Under the auspices of the South Asia Biosafety Program, the ILSI Research Foundation and Biotech Consortium India Limited organized the 7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference on September 14-16, 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This annual conference is the premier biosafety meeting in South Asia and provides an essential forum to hear from leading scientists representing regulatory agencies, public sector research institutions, and the private sector in South Asia and internationally.

 

Presentations

Media Coverage

Below is a selection of media coverage related to the 7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference:

"Bangladesh committed to ensuring bio-safety: Razzaque." Daily Bangladesh Post, September 14, 2019. https://www.bangladeshpost.net/posts/bangladesh-committed-to-ensuring-bio-safety-razzaque-11949 (accessed September 18, 2019)

"Dhaka committed to ensure bio-safety: Minister." Green Watch, September 14, 2019. https://greenwatchbd.com/dhaka-committed-to-ensure-bio-safety-minister/ (accessed September 18, 2019).

"The Government is Working to Control 'Army Worm': Minister of Agriculture" (translated). Barta24, September 14, 2019.  http://bit.ly/2lVcgGQ (accessed September 18, 2019).

"7th Annual Conference on South-Asia Bio-safety." The Daily Sun, September 14, 2019. https://daily-sun.com/post/423488/2019/09/15/7th-annual-conference-on-SouthAsia-Biosafety (accessed September 18, 2019)

"7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference Begins at Dhaka." Agrinews24, Setpember 14, 2019. http://www.agrinews24.com/7th-annual-south-asia-biosafety-conference-begins-at-dhaka/ (accessed September 14, 2019).

"7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference Begins in Dhaka." Agricare24, September 14, 2019. https://agricare24.com/7th-annual-south-asia/ (English) http://bit.ly/2kHHlxx (Bangla) (accessed September 18, 2019).

"Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque speaking at the inaugural function of '7th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference' at a city hotel on Saturday." The News Today, September 15, 2019. http://www.newstoday.com.bd/?option=details&news_id=2542282&date=2019-09-15 (accessed September 18, 2019).

"'BD committed to ensure bio-safety.'" The New Nation, September 17, 2019. http://m.thedailynewnation.com/news/229263/bd-committed-to-ensure-bio-safety (accessed September 18, 2019).

"B'desh committed to ensuring bio-safety, says Razzaque." The Financial Express, September 15, 2019. https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/metro-news/bdesh-committed-to-ensuring-bio-safety-says-razzaque-1568476727 (accessed September 18, 2019)

"‘Committed to ensuring biosafety,’ Says agriculture minister." The Daily Star, September 15, 2019. https://www.thedailystar.net/city/news/were-committed-ensure-biosafety-1800073 (accessed September 18, 2019).

Social Media

Revisit the Conversation!

Conference attendees mentioned @ILSIRF and tweeted using #SABC2019 throughout the event. Below is a selection of the social media activity.

SABC 2019 - Curated tweets by ILSIRF

Photos

Poster Program

Presenting a poster at the South Asia Biosafety Conference was a noteworthy way to share expertise or accomplishment, and poster presenters had a dedicated time to present and discuss their work with the diverse group of attendees. All posters conveyed relevance to biosafety research, environmental or food safety assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or the regulation of GM plants, animals, arthropods, or micro-organisms.

Poster Competition

All posters accepted into the Poster Program were eligible for the Poster Competition. In cases where a registrant had two or more posters accepted for the Poster Program, s/he was asked to identify which one should be included in the poster competition, i.e., only one poster per registrant was eligible for the Poster Competition. The posters were judged on September 14-15, and the winners were announced on September 16, during the conference's Closing Session.

Prize Winners

  • Dr. Mohammad Mostofa placed first in the Poster Competition with the presentation Strigolactones Positively Regulate Defense Mechanisms to Enhance Resistance Against Sheath Blight of Rice (Oryza sativa), receiving a cash award of USD $300 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.
  • Dr. Dipali Gupta placed second in the Poster Competition with the presentation Biocontrol of Wheat Blast Disease by Plant Probiotic Bacilli, receiving a cash award of USD $200 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Evaluation and Judging

The criteria for evaluating the posters during SABC 2019 were as follows:

Abstract (10%) - Clarity and correlation with poster.

Scientific Content (70%) - Introduction and background with literature cited, objectives, materials and methods, results and discussion, and significance to the field. The quality of the research presented was judged on its scientific rigor and significance as conveyed by the poster. Each poster needed to have been self-explanatory. Judges had the opportunity to discuss posters with the presenters, but this was not considered in the evaluation of the display.

Poster Display (20%) - Posters were judged on organization, effective use of space, legibility, grammar and spelling, and effective use of graphics.

Each poster display was judged independently by three judges on September 14-15, 2019 based on the abstract, scientific content, and poster display. Judges were encouraged to provide constructive comments for each poster. However, comments may have been very brief or absent because of the limited time available. Winners were announced on September 16.

Layout and Design

The maximum dimensions for the poster was 48 inches/122 cm (height) x 36 inches/91 cm (width). Poster boards were a plywood surface that permitted the use of removable double-sided tape, tacks, or board pins.

The following suggestions were made by conference organizers with the aim of ensuring the readability and quality of posters:

  • Check for proper spelling and grammar.
  • Use a standard typeface font.
  • Ensure text is clear and concise.
  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away.
  • Use bullets, numbering, and headlines to make it easy to read.
  • Include tables, figures, graphs, and color to enforce key points.
  • Standard abbreviations may be used without definition, but nonstandard abbreviations/acronyms should be placed in parentheses after the first use of the terminology. It is important to keep nonstandard abbreviations/acronyms to a minimum, to allow for readability and understanding.
  • Have a consistent and clean layout.
  • Include any appropriate acknowledgments, your name, and institutional affiliation.

Assigned Spaces

Each accepted poster was assigned a numbered space for where they should be posted in the conference hall. Posters were added to their assigned space on Saturday, September 14, 2019 prior to the beginning of the Poster Program. Posters remained in their assigned space until Monday, September 16, 2019, after the closing session, to ensure that attendees and judges had adequate time to view the posters.

Lightning Round

The Lightning Round was a unique opportunity for students and early career researchers to share their research in an oral presentation format that is exciting, challenging, and entertaining. All presentations had to convey relevance to biosafety research, environmental or food safety assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or the regulation of GM plants, animals, arthropods, or micro-organisms. Each participant was given 5 minutes and 5 slides to clearly present their work, challenging them to think carefully about how best to use the allotted time and visual aids. The presentations were scored by the session's Chair and Co-Chair, and prizes were awarded to the top two participants.

Prize Winners

  • Mr. Abdullah Al Noman placed first in the Lightning Round for Students and Early Career Researchers with the presentation Morphological and Molecular Diversity Among the Pyricularia oryzae Cavara Isolates Causing Wheat Blast in Bangladesh, receiving a cash award of USD $300.
  • Mr. Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan placed second in the Lightning Round for Students and Early Career Researchers with the presentation Are Root Characteristics/Architectural Traits of Rice Plants a Better Indicator of Salt Tolerance, receiving a cash award of USD $200 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Sponsors

SABC 2019 is organized by

with support from

   
 
   

 

Congratulations to 1st Place Lightning Round Winner, Mr. Abdullah Al Noman!

Congratulations to Mr. Abdullah Al Noman for placing first in the Lightning Round for Students and Early Career Researchers with the presentation Morphological and Molecular Diversity Among the Pyricularia oryzae Cavara Isolates Causing Wheat Blast in Bangladesh. Mr. Al Noman received a cash award of USD $300 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Congratulations to 1st Place Poster Session Winner, Dr. Mohammad Mostofa!

Congratulations to Dr. Mohammad Mostofa for placing first in the Poster Competition with the presentation Strigolactones Positively Regulate Defense Mechanisms to Enhance Resistance Against Sheath Blight of Rice (Oryza sativa). Dr. Mostofa received a cash award of USD $300 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Congratulations to 2nd Place Lightning Round Winner, Mr. Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan!

Congratulations to Mr. Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan for placing second in the Lightning Round for Students and Early Career Researchers with the presentation Are Root Characteristics/Architectural Traits of Rice Plants a Better Indicator of Salt Tolerance? Mr. Shohan received a cash award of USD $200 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Congratulations to 2nd Place Poster Session Winner, Dr. Dipali Gupta!

Congratulations to Dr. Dipali Gupta for placing second in the Poster Competition with the presentation Biocontrol of Wheat Blast Disease by Plant Probiotic Bacilli. Dr. Gupta received a cash award of USD $200 and a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

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Download the Conference Document!

Download the Conference Document!

The Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the ILSI Research Foundation co-organized the symposium Addressing Water Variability and Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Research at IFPRI’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Presentations focused on new technologies that are being developed and/or applied to mitigate the impacts of water stress on agricultural productivity, as well as the enabling policy environment that is needed to ensure that water-related research and development efforts are effectively deployed and scaled up.

Presentations

Abstracts

An Overview of Promising Technologies for Improved On-Farm Management of Water

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D., Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Good on-farm management of water in developing countries could contribute in a major way to help vulnerable farmers out of poverty. Fortunately, we are in an era where technologies for on-farm water management are rapidly evolving. Water lifting technologies such as solar pumps have been undergoing product changes and price reductions that are increasing their adoption. Similarly water conveyance methods, such as drip irrigation, have also seen their accessibility and utilization increase in many developing countries. In addition to the technologies themselves, a strategic approach is needed to achieve widespread and sustainable adoption. Such an approach could result in improved food security, resilience, and nutrition. Four factors, called the four Ps, borrowed from the marketing field, might be useful for increasing adoption of sustainable practices for on-farm water management. First, the technology product has to fit the context and stakeholder preferences. Second, the price of the technology has to be reasonable to adopters. Third, the promotion of the technology has to be communicated well and at the right platforms. And, fourth, the technologies have to be available at the right place and time. However, these four Ps are not enough. Many other critical factors also need to be considered for the technologies to be sustainable (environmentally, socio-economically and politically). These factors include: the right crop type; good agronomic practices for fertilizer and seed; pest and weed management; access to markets for farmers to sell produce; resilience mechanisms such as insurance; equity considerations for gender and youth; and related policies.


Small Farm Use of Precision Technologies for Row Crop Production in the U.S.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

This paper considers characteristics of small farms that grow different row crops.  These structural characteristics are then related to adoption rates for various precision agricultural technologies on small farms.  Taking the smallest 10-15 percent of a nationally representative sample of farms growing each crop, small rice and wheat farms are over twice the size of small maize and soybean farms, and field sizes on these farms are much larger.  This means that small maize and soybean farms have many more fields to manage using precision technologies.  Soybean fields tend to be larger than maize fields on small farms.

Higher national adoption rates for precision practices on larger farms indicates that the smallest farms, and those with the most fields, may find adoption more difficult.  Soil mapping adoption is higher on mid-sized small farms for most crops. Guidance is more widespread on all sizes of small wheat and rice farms, and they have the largest average field sizes.  VRT seed, chemical, and fertilization are likewise more popular on larger small wheat and rice farms.

The results indicate that there is some use of each technology in most of the size categories of small farms.  This is despite the fact that adoption increases with farm size for all row crops examined at the national level.  Small farm adoption of PrecAg only goes to zero on the smallest farms for one crop – maize.  This is the crop with the highest national adoption levels.


Novel Approaches to Breeding for Resilience in Water Stressed Environments

Todd Mockler, Ph.D., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Sorghum is the fifth most widely grown cereal crop worldwide and also an attractive system for the development of bioenergy feedstocks. It has innate resilience to drought and heat stresses, versatile end-uses, and a rapidly developing suite of genetic, genomic and phenomic tools. Drought is a complex trait, and identifying the genes underlying sorghum’s innate drought tolerance and how they are regulated requires advanced approaches in genetics, genomics, and phenotyping. Our approach has included sequencing and analyzing the genomes of several hundred racially, geographically, and phenotypically diverse sorghum lines representing all five major sorghum races. Sequencing ~400 sorghum genomes revealed millions of genomic sequence variants and identified candidate genes underlying several traits of interest. Exploration of the sorghum ‘pan-genome’ provided an initial catalog of “core” and “accessory” genes that are potential sources of adaptive alleles. Our work also leverages a field-based phenotyping infrastructure at Maricopa, AZ, which provides an exceptional capability for managed stress trials in a hot and arid environment through controlled irrigation. An automated field scanner system collects high-resolution phenotyping data using a variety of sensors throughout the growing season, from seedling establishment to harvest. Being able to assess the genotype-to-phenotype link in response to drought over the life cycle of the plant will facilitate the discovery of genes and their functions. Identifying the genes underlying drought tolerance will ultimately reveal the genetic basis for the remarkable phenotypic plasticity of sorghum.


Enabling Environments for Achieving Innovations in Water Management in Agricultural Production

Mutsa Masiyandima, Remi Trier, and Regassa Namara, World Bank – Water

Irrigation has the potential to accelerate growth in several countries, with benefits accruing to more than 180 million people and revenue in excess of US$20 billion annually. In SSA, such growth is a tool for reducing poverty. Many triggers and drivers for irrigation development exist, including climate change, decreasing farm sizes requiring intensification for farming to remain viable, more accessible and affordable technologies and services, and a proliferation of irrigation service markets. This presentation will be on creating enabling environments to harness the potential for expanding irrigation that exists.  Focusing on Africa and with examples from Africa and Asia, we will discuss (a) existing barriers to innovation in water management for agriculture including environment, financing, issues of scale, capacity, and institutions, (b) priority enabling conditions to introduce and scale-up smallholder irrigation, (c) innovative financing mechanisms, (d) technologies, and (e) efforts required to address capacity challenges in reference to the need for extension services and technical assistance for smallholder farmers, especially when transitioning from rainfed to irrigated production and when the technological changes involves the change of crops. We will close with a brief discussion of the World Bank approach for scaling up farmer-led irrigation to enhance irrigation impacts.


The New Agricultural Revolution, Water Use, and the Challenge for Public Sector Research

Mark Giordano, Ph.D., Georgetown University

We are in the beginning stages of a biological science and information revolution that will have unprecedented impacts on agriculture including the ways in which crops use water and farmers respond to increasing variation in its availability. The revolution has so far been typified by 1) dramatic rates of technologic change and diffusion, 2) reductions in the costs of technology development, 3) change in the nature of the science, scientists and implementers involved, 4) transformation in the source of investment towards the private sector, and 5) rapid growth in the volume of investment targeting agriculture. The revolution holds tremendous potential for poor farmers, particularly those in regions bypassed by the original Green Revolution and traditional agricultural water investments. However, the nature of the new revolution is rapidly shifting agricultural priority setting away from national and international public sector and NGO actors as well as traditional agricultural researchers and research centers. These actors have a major role to play in informing and shaping the new revolution so that it benefits rather than harms the poor. Whether the role can be realized will depend on how quickly they can recognize and adapt to the new agricultural research environment.

Registration

Registrations are closed for this event.

Location

The symposium took place at IFPRI, 1201 Eye St. NW, Washington, DC.

Videos

The symposium was made available via live webcast on the IFPRI website.

Video recordings of the presentations may be viewed below:

Speakers

Claudia Ringler, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Claudia Ringler is Deputy Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). A thought leader on water for food, she manages IFPRI’s Natural Resource Theme, co-leads the Institute’s water research program and is a co-manager of the Managing Resource Variability, Risks and Competing Uses for Increased Resilience (VCR) flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Claudia also chairs the Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network (FE2W) and is associated with the Sustainable Water Futures Program of Future Earth. She published more than 100 journal articles in the areas of global water and food security, gender-water and gender-climate change linkages and the synergies of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Claudia has a PhD in agricultural economics from University of Bonn and an MA in International Development Economics from Yale University.

Morven McLean, Ph.D
Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Morven A. McLean, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the non-profit International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, where she works with a dedicated team on multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary scientific and capacity building programs that span agriculture, nutrition, and the environment.

Dr. McLean first joined the ILSI Research Foundation in 2009 as Director of the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, and in 2013 was additionally appointed lead for sustainable agriculture and nutrition security across the ILSI organization internationally. She has held the position of Chief of Canada’s Plant Biotechnology Office, the federal regulatory authority for the assessment and release of genetically modified plants, and was President of AGBIOS, a consultancy that works internationally with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public and private sectors on issues of policy and regulation pertaining to genetically modified foods, crops, and forest tree species. Dr. McLean has served as a technical expert on biotechnology risk assessment, regulation, and policy for many organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the United National Environmental Program, and the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as many national governments.

Dr. McLean received her B.Sc. (Agriculture) from McGill University, M.Sc. in environmental biology from the University of Guelph, and Ph.D. in molecular plant virology from the University of British Columbia. She completed her post-doctoral training with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s Vancouver Research Station.

Mark Rosegrant, Ph.D.

Research Fellow Emeritus, Director General’s Office, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Mark W. Rosegrant is a Research Fellow Emeritus in IFPRI’s Director General's Office (DGO). Prior to joining DGO, he was director of IFPRI's Environment and Production Technology Division. With a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, he has extensive experience in research and policy analysis in agriculture and economic development, with an emphasis on water resources and other natural resource and agricultural policy issues as they impact food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. He currently directs research on climate change, water resources, sustainable land management, genetic resources and biotechnology, and agriculture and energy.

He is the author or editor of 12 books and over 100 refereed papers in agricultural economics, water resources, and food policy analysis. Dr. Rosegrant has won numerous awards, such as Outstanding Journal Article (2008), Quality of Communications Award (2004), and Distinguished Policy Contribution Award(2002) from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (formerly American Agricultural Economics Association), and Best Article Award (2005) from the International Water Resources Association. Dr. Rosegrant is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D.

Water and Irrigation Advisor, Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Biniam Iyob joined the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security in 2013 to work as a water and irrigation advisor. He is also the activity manager for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia and four Farmer to Farmer projects. Previously, he taught geography courses at the University of New Hampshire, helped assess irrigation and harvesting methods at a sugar cane farm in Mauritius, and served as a research assistant regarding tourism and business for a consulting firm. Earlier, he worked as a soil and water conservationist with the Ministry of Agriculture, as an assistant hydrogeologist for a consulting firm, and as a technical/manual laborer in irrigated farms run by the Eritrean army. He holds a doctorate in geography focusing on the Nile Basin and a master’s degree in remote sensing of vegetation change from Oregon State University, an MBA from the University of Mauritius, and a bachelor’s degree in soil and water conservation from the University of Asmara, Eritrea.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D.

Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

David Schimmelpfennig is an Agricultural Economist at USDA ERS. His areas of interest are the value of information, and agricultural research and productivity. His work on information economics relates to precision agriculture, market structure, and crop pest early-warning systems. He has investigated productivity growth and efficiency in South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom, in addition to the U.S. He was a senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and had Rockefeller Foundation projects on the impacts of genetically modified crops in South Africa. He has leadership responsibility for the information technology questions on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), the most comprehensive farm production survey conducted by USDA.  His high profile work appears in National Geographic, the New York Times, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Science.  He is an associate editor of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Todd Mockler, Ph.D.

Geraldine and Robert Virgil Distinguished Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Mockler is the Geraldine and Robert Virgil distinguished investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He has helped lead several international consortia that have sequenced plant genomes, including the Brachypodium distachyon, Oropetium thomaeum, strawberry, and black raspberry genomes and the sorghum pan-genome project. His research has also included the development of genomic and bioinformatic tools, with the end goal of improving crop performance and yield. Areas of study include gene regulatory networks, plant abiotic stress responses, genome sequencing and analysis, and high-throughput phenotyping. His published work provides critical tools and approaches for using large-scale multi-omics datasets to understand complex biological systems. In 2012, Dr. Mockler co-founded Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural diversity of plants.

He received his doctorate in molecular biology at the University of California – Los Angeles and his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Mutsa Masiyandima, Ph.D.

Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist, Water Team - West Africa Unit, World Bank

Mutsa Masiyandima joined the World Bank Water’s West Africa unit as a Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist in 2018. Her current work involves supporting implementation of irrigation projects in West Africa where she supports the implementation of the Sahel Irrigation Initiative Project (SIIP) in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, with a focus on the irrigation solutions component. SIIP is a contribution to realizing the Dakar Declaration of 2013. Prior to joining the World Bank Mutsa spent more than 16 years working on various aspects of water resources and agricultural water management. She coordinated Care USA’s water interventions work in Ghana, Malawi, and Mali, providing technical guidance to field teams on practices that enhance access to water for production and efficient use of available water (spanning soil and water conservation, conservation agriculture and irrigation) by smallholder farmers. Prior to her work at CARE she contributed to AfricaRice’s Sustainable Enhancement Program working on water management in irrigated rice systems in the Sahel. She spent 10 years as a researcher with IWMI’s Water and Environment theme in southern Africa, developing, leading and implementing research on agricultural water management, groundwater management and catchment hydrology. Mutsa has experience working in at least 21 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, including her native Zimbabwe. She has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University. The Rockefeller Foundation supported her research work on the hydrology of a small catchment in the sub-humid Guinea Savanna zone in Cote d’Ivoire.

Mark Giordano, Ph.D.

Professor, Georgetown University

Mark Giordano is Professor of Geography and Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. His research and teaching focuses primarily on the international political dimensions of water and agriculture and the geography of geopolitics. Mark serves on the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Working Group on the Global Commons, is a founding member of Georgetown’s India Initiative, and sits on the board of the Kentler International Drawing Space. Prior to joining Georgetown in 2013, Mark held multiple roles at the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute and earlier served as a trade economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has spent a substantial part of his professional life in Asia and Africa and is from Washington State.

Josette Lewis, Ph.D.

Director of Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California

Josette Lewis is the Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California. She most recently served as Associate Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, where she focused on ecosystems and sustainable agriculture. She previously served as the Associate Director of the University of California, Davis World Food Center and also worked with Arcadia Biosciences as the Director of Agricultural Development to expand the company’s licensing and partnerships, particularly in developing countries. Prior to joining Arcadia, Dr. Lewis spent 16 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Agriculture, where she played a leadership role in the development of the Administration’s global initiative on food security, development of a new strategy for agricultural research, and initiated numerous new partnerships with universities, agricultural companies, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and developing countries.

[post_title] => Scientific Symposium: Addressing Water Variability and Scarcity - The Role of Agricultural Research [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => symposium2019 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-08-01 16:45:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-08-01 16:45:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://ilsirf.org/?post_type=event&p=11015 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => event [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10954 [post_author] => 65 [post_date] => 2019-06-27 14:35:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-27 14:35:19 [post_content] => Overview Agenda Photos Overview

On June 18-20, 2019 in Gazipur, Bangladesh, the ILSI Research Foundation's South Asia Biosafety Program and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Agriculture Center co-organized the SAARC Regional Expert Consultation Meeting on the Progress and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia, with the aim of sharing information on the current status of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety regulations in the region and identifying areas where SAARC countries can adopt harmonized policies that will provide benefits to farmers and consumers through access to agricultural biotechnology. Meeting participants included biotechnology and agricultural experts from SAARC countries, including Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Agenda

Day 1 - June 18, 2019

Inaugural Session

Welcome Address
Dr Pradyumna Raj Pandey, Senior Program Specialist (Crops), SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) Keynote Lecture: Global Status and Need of Harmonization Biotechnology and Biosafety Framework
Dr. Andrew F Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation and Lead, South Asia Biosafety Program Address by Special Guest
Dr. M. Shahidur Rahman Bhuiyan, Senior Food Security and Agricultural Policy Advisor, USAID Address by Chief Guest
Mr. Kamalaranjan Das, Additional Secretary (Research Wing), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Vote of Thanks
Dr. Aparna Islam, Country Manager, South Asia Biosafety Program Technical Session I:  Status of Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety Regulatory System in SAARC Countries
Chair: Dr. Andrew F Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation and Lead, South Asia Biosafety Program Bangladesh: Country Paper Presentation
Dr. Mst. Dilafroza Khanam, CSO and Head, Biotechnology Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute Bhutan: Country Paper Presentation
Mr. Jambay Dorji, Sr. Planning Officer/Focal for Biosafety (GMO), Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Government of Bhutan India: Country Paper Presentation
Dr. Debasis Pattanayak, Principal Scientist, ICAR-National Institute for Plant Biotechnology and Professor, Division of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute Nepal: Country Paper Presentation
Mr. Balakrishna Joshi, Scientist, Nepal Agricultural Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Pakistan: Country Paper Presentation
Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chief Scientist/Director General, National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology, National Agriculture Research Center, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council Sri Lanka: Country Paper Presentation
D.M. Jayantha Bandara Senanayake, Principal Scientist (Biotechnology)/Director (Acting), Rice Research & Development Institute, Department of Agriculture, Government of Sri Lanka

Open Discussion

Day 2 - June 19, 2019

Technical Session II: Possibilities of Harmonization in Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety Regulatory System in SAARC Countries
Chair: Dr. Pradyumna Raj Pandey, Senior Program Specialist (Crops), SAARC Agriculture Centre Bangladesh’s Positions on the Issues of Harmonization in Biosafety
Mr. Md. Solaiman Haider, Director (Planning), Department of Environment Bureau of Indian Standards: Update on the Status of Regional Food Safety Standard
Dr. Anil Kapri, Scientist-C, Food & Agriculture Department, Bureau of Indian Standards Regional Perspective and Possible Areas of Harmonization in Agriculture and Biosafety Regulations
Dr. Aparna Islam, Country Manager, South Asia Biosafety Program Technical Session 3: Case Study - Fall Armyworm
Chair: Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited and Senior Advisor, South Asia Biosafety Program Background on Fall Armyworm
Dr. Timothy J. Krupnik, Senior Scientist and Systems Agronomist, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Regional Harmonization for Pest Control Strategy
Dr. Joseph Huesing, Technical Expert, Independent Consultant

Open Discussion 

Technical Session 4: Mechanism for Regional Harmonization
Chair: Dr. Syed Humayun Kabir, Ex-Director General, South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO), SAARC Secretariat SARSO as an Instrument for Regional Harmonization
Mr. Ramesh Khadka, Deputy Director, South Asian Regional Standards Organisation Possible Harmonization Between India and Bangladesh: A Case Study
Chair: Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited and Senior Advisor, South Asia Biosafety Program

Open Discussion

Concluding Session

Recommendation on Harmonization in Agriculture and Biosafety Regulations
Dr. Andrew F Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation and Lead, South Asia Biosafety Program Address by Special Guest
Dr. Syed Humayun Kabir, Ex-Director General, South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO), SAARC Secretariat Address by Chief Guest
Director General, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economical Cooperation Vote of Thanks
Dr. Pradyumna Raj Pandey, Senior Program Specialist (Crops), SAARC Agriculture Centre

Day 3  -June 20, 2019

Field Visit: Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI)

Briefing on BARI

Tour of Biotechnology Lab

Tour of IPM and Toxicology Lab

Tour of FMPE Lab

Tour of Post-Harvest Lab

Photos

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The ILSI Research Foundation's South Asia Biosafety (SABP) Program sponsored the technical session on Biosafety and the Environment at the 4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture (4th IPFS-ICBHA 2019). Jointly organized by the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) and Innovation in Plant and Food Sciences, the 4th IPFS-ICBHA 2019 took place at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, Dhaka University, on November 11-13, 2019. Convened every two years, the conference provides a platform for Bangladeshi biotechnologists from around the world to meet and exchange thoughts, ideas, and experimental findings, as well as build capacity and create awareness about the latest trends in biotechnology. The three-day event included 22 sessions and concurrent workshops.

During the technical session on Biosafety and the Environment, Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation Deputy Executive Director, delivered a presentation about the context of biosafety for biotechnology researchers, and Dr. Aparna Islam, SABP Country Manager, discussed the regulatory system in Bangladesh.

More information about the conference is available on the GNOBB website.

Abstract Presentation: Biosafety for the Biotechnologist – Navigation Biosafety Requirements as a Researcher
Dr. Andrew F. Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

It has been nearly 50 years since the first use of recombinant DNA technology to modify the genome of a bacterium. Since then, the use of recombinant DNA organisms, together with a suite of other biotechnologies, has changed the face of biological and medical research. However, as biotechnology has moved from the laboratory into practical application, an array of political, social and regulatory issues have emerged which can confound research and development of recombinant DNA organisms. This presentation will review the history and context for biosafety regulation of recombinant DNA organisms and provide some insight into how a modern biotechnology researcher can effectively navigate biosafety regulatory requirements in pursuit of their research and the development of recombinant DNA organisms for use in food or the environment.

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OECD Consensus Document of the Biology of Mosquito Aedes aegypti

Volume 8 of the series Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment contains the first OECD biosafety consensus document to deal with the biology of an insect, the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Read more

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