Schedule and Speakers

Moving Towards Sustainable Agriculture: Leveraging Scientific Innovations to Improve Current Farming Systems

Part of the Plant Sciences Symposia Series(link is external)

Friday, November 19, 2021

The day-long virtual seminar is completely free to attend. The event includes a Poster Session and speakers with different backgrounds.

2021 Program

All times EST.

8:15 AM          Gathering
8:30 AM Opening remarks from organizing committee and Corteva Representatives 
9:00 AM Dr. Magan Lewis and Dr Kevin Falk - Corteva Agriscience
Title of presentation: Field Science Modernization: Adding Innovative Tools to the Plant Science Toolbox
9:40 AM 

Dr. John Sulik - Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
Title of presentation: Advances in Remote Sensing for on-farm experiments 

10:20 AM Coffee Break
10:30 AM

Dr. Mathews Paret - Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, University of Florida
Title of presentation: Advances in the development and testing of natural and engineered nanomaterials for crop protection

11:10 AM

Dr. Seth Murray- Professor and Eugene Butler Endowed Chair in Agricultural Biotechnology, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University
Title of presentation: Evaluating field plots in the fourth dimension - sustainable production through trait discovery and phenomic selection

11:50 AM

Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran - Associate Professor, Washinton State University
Title of presentationCrops for Future: Role of sensing technologies to promote sustainable crop production 

12:30 PM Lunch + Student Poster Session 
1:50 PM  Break
2:00 PM 

Workshop I: Navigating the Interviewing and Hiring Process 


Dr. Klaus Koehler— Global Talent Development Lead for Seed Product Development at Corteva Agriscience. 

Dr. Andrea Arias— Seed and Crop Protection Data Science and Bioinformatics Lead at Corteva Agriscience. 

3:00 PM

Workshop II: Differences between Career paths in the Public and Private Sector 


Dr. Elizabeth Lee— Professor and Corn Breeder at the University of Guelph. 

Dr. Klaus Koehler— Global Talent Development Lead for Seed Product Development at Corteva Agriscience. 

Dr. Thomas— Professor, K.J. Frey Chair in Agronomy at Iowa State University. 

Dr. David Onstad— Senior Research Scientist in entomology, ecology, and engineer with significant training in and knowledge of economics and plant epidemiology at Corteva Agriscience. 

4:10 PM  Closing Remarks
4:55 PM Mixer/Networking Session  

Meet Our 2021 Symposium Speakers!

Magan Lewis, Ph.D

Corteva Global Technology Adoption Lead

Magan Lewis, Ph.D., serves as the Corteva Global Technology Adoption Lead for the Crop Protection Discovery and Development group. In her role, she oversees the development, implementation, and compliance of new technology across the globe to enhance product development and agriculture research. From working with UAVs during the day to STEM outreach at night, Magan’s award winning leadership and outreach passion has allowed her to launch “You Be The Chemist” quiz bowls and mentor young scientists globally through Science and Engineering Fairs. Magan is an active member of the Food Security Global Steering Team, recently co-founded a STEM Camp with her husband, and is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador. Magan is a STEM education outreach fanatic, ID&E advocate, and active participant in non-profit Boards.

Magan holds a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from North Dakota State University and M.S. and B.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota. She resides in the Des Moines, Iowa-area with her husband and two daughters. The Lewis family enjoys camping, catching frogs, identifying insects, tumbling rocks, traveling, hiking, playing piano, and NDSU Football.

Dr. Kevin Falk, Ph.D

Corteva Agriscience Research Scientist

Kevin is a Research Scientist with Corteva’s Field Sciences division in Carman, Manitoba. His primary role is a crop protection biologist and leads the Field Sciences drone image-to-data initiative. Kevin received his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University in 2019 in which he trained under University of Guelph alumni Dr. Danny Singh. Kevin worked in plant breeding programs at Bayer CropScience and Monsanto prior to his current role with Corteva Agriscience. Videography is one of Kevin’s passions, he enjoys creating videos on plant breeding, technology and agriculture.

Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran

Associate Professor, Washington State University 

A researcher in agricultural automation engineering, Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran engages in sensing data-driven discoveries that transform how we study the interaction between crops, genetics and environment to produce sustainable food, fiber and fuels. Based at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, Sankaran's work focuses on advanced sensor technologies that detect and measure phenotypes in crops, supporting plant breeding, crop plant research, and precision agriculture applications. She has published over 100+ peer-reviewed journal articles including proceeding papers and book chapters and is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the National Association of Plant Breeders, the North American Plant Phenotyping Network, and the International Society of Precision Agriculture.

Dr. Mathews Paret

Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, University of Florida

Dr. Paret's research program covers subjects including natural and engineered nano- and micron-sized materials for plant disease management, field-based DNA/RNA-based diagnostics for pathogens, and sensing technologies including aerial multi-spectral sensing and smartphone-based artificial intellgence approaches for disease detection. The primary geographical regions of his work are Florida, and many countries in West Africa, and Asia.



Dr. John Sulik

Assistant Professor, University of Guelph

Dr. John Sulik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture with expertise in biophysical remote sensing, agronomy, GIS techniques, and unmanned aerial systems.  He has over 10 years of experience applying precision agriculture technology while employed by government, industry, and academia. 




Dr. Seth Murray

Professor and Eugene Butler Endowed Chair in Agricultural Biotechnology, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University.

Dr. Murray received his PhD from Cornell University and a BS from Michigan State University. His research program focuses on new approaches in high throughput field phenotyping (including unoccupied aerial vehicles, i.e. drones), quantitative genetic discovery, gene to phene data analytics and applied maize (corn) breeding in Texas, as well as perenniality in maize and sorghum. He has released 9 maize lines, some having been licensed and being grown by Texas farmers, including proprietary hybrids for whiskey. A major focus and success of his program is graduate student training, chairing 33 committees and serving on another 32 committees. He has co-authored 80 peer reviewed articles, and served in leadership roles for the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) and the North American Plant Phenotyping Network (NAPPN). He is a recipient of both CSSA and NAPB early career research awards, a fellow of CSSA and was twice named a Blavatnik Young Life Sciences finalist. In 2016-2017 he served as the Senior Advisor of Agricultural Systems in the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA. He founded and serves as Editor of The Plant Phenome Journal, an ASA and CSSA publication.

2021 Student Presentations

  Presenter Presentation Title  
  Moira Ijzerman A smelly solution: can biofilms be used as a tool to monitor pesticides in Ontario's streams?  
  Safa Oufensou Function inhibitors of trichothecene B myctoxins: How to reduce the impact of fusarium mycotoxins while preserving natural microflora.  
  Dongmei Lyu Productivity effects of three singlet plant growth promoting rhizobacteria incoluation on Cannabis sativa L. growth and flower yield.  
  Sarah Hasenack Biofertilizers for biomass crops and the environment.  
  Diana Lorena Salguero Corn yield response to sulfure fertilization in Indiana.  
  Arshdeep Singh Gill Transcriptomic analysis for freezing tolerance in two asapargus cultivars with different adaptation to Southern Ontario.  
  Jhilick Banjerjee Path analysis for yield attributing traits in advanved breeding lines of soybean.  
  Hannah Jeffrey Gene expression patterns in dry bean seeds related to soaking time and cooking time.  
  Dilrukshi Kombala Liyanage Understanding the genotypic response of Canadian short-season cultivars for plant physiological parameters under drought stress.  
  Khushboo Rastogi Decoding the genetic basis for cold tolerance in rice seedling using genome wide association panel.  
  Anju Biswas High-throughput approach for phenotyping alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the field.  
  Faith Njeri Application of nanobody as a diagnostic tool and their antiviral properties against maize lethal necrosis.  
  Malarvuzhi Sathasivam Investigation of hypergravity-induced enhanced root growth for undelrying molecular basis in wheat.  
  Basavalingayya K Swamy Influence of novel hypergravity treatment on wheat root growth phenotype and associated physio-biochemical parameters.  
  Danielito Dollete Effects of drought stress on plant growth, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and soil nitrogen availability in alfalfa.  
  Kurtis Pilkington Impact of plant growth regulators on lodging physiology and yield in winter wheat.  
  Poster Session
  Section 1: Agronomy Section 2: Genetics/Physiology
12:45 -13:15 Moira Ijzerman Anju Biswas
Diana Salguero Arshdeep Singh Gill
Safa Oufensou Dilrukshi Kombala Liyana
Basavalingayya K Swamy Khushboo Rastogi
13:15-13:20 Break
13:20-13:50 Dongmei Lyu Hannah Jeffrey
Kurtis Pilkington Jhilick Banerjee
Sarah Hasenack Malarvizhi Sathasivam
Faith Njeri Danielito Dollete


*all times EST.