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Dr Howard-Yana Shapiro (USA)

Dr Shapiro has spent more than 50 years working in agricultural and agroforestry systems, systems biology, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics. He led the global effort sequencing, assembling and annotating the Theobroma cacao genome, and initiated the sequencing of the Arachis genome. Shapiro founded the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) and the African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA) in 2011, training mid-career plant breeders to increase the nutritional value of 101 traditional food crops. In October 2017 he launched the Foldit Aflatoxin Puzzle with 460,000 gamers to redesign and improve enzymes to degrade aflatoxins. To date over 1.5 million puzzles have been submitted. In 2018 he co-authored a seminal paper providing proof of nitrogen fixation in maize.

Shapiro’s lifetime of work in plant genetics and the food industry is reflected in his role as Senior Fellow, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, as well as a Distinguished Fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi and a Scientific Advisor, MIT Media Lab in Cambridge.

A highly regarded world leader in this space, Shapiro is the author of five books, many articles and dozens of interviews. He speaks regularly on the need for innovation in agricultural production and uncommon collaborations.

Dr Howard-Yana Shapiro is appearing on Wednesday 4 September, 9:15am-10:15am

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