Invited speakers

Dr. Marc Bardin

Marc Bardin is director of research in plant pathology at the Plant Pathology Research Unit of INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) in Avignon, France ( He completed his PhD degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Lyon (France) in 1996, working with Philippe Nicot on the diversity of the causal agents of powdery mildew of cucurbits at INRA in Avignon. He then moves to the Cereal Disease Laboratory of USDA-ARS in St-Paul, Minnesota (USA) as a postdoctoral fellow, investigating the adaptation of crown rust to oat resistance in the Kurt Leonard’s group. He returned to the Plant Pathology Research Unit in Avignon in 1998 for a permanent position as research scientist. He currently serves as director of the INRA Plant Pathology Research Unit.

His research focuses on the epidemiology and biocontrol of fungal diseases of crops with a special emphasis on durability issues related to these control methods. For many years, he has been working on the adaptation of obligate parasites (powdery mildew, rust) to plant resistance and since 2000, he has developed research on biocontrol against major fungal diseases of vegetable greenhouse crops (grey mold, white mold, powdery mildew). He is involved in several national and international project on biological control and/or IPM (including EU-funded research projects). He teaches plant pathology in several Master programs in different French Universities.

He serves as an expert for the registration of microorganisms and macroorganisms in plant protection at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES). He is member of the council of IOBC-WPRS since 2014 and serves as liaison-officer for the ‘Biological and integrated control of plant pathogens’ Working Group.

Dr. Carlos Calvo

Young researcher interested in plant pathology, control of grapevine diseases with biologically-based treatments and pesticide use reduction in viticulture. PhD thesis studies developed in the University of Lleida and IRTA-Lleida (Catalonia, Spain), focused on biological control of Botrytis bunch rot and other late season grapevine diseases. Since 2015, post-doc position at INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine (France), developing different research topics, such as: field-oriented studies in biological control of Botrytis using bacterial antagonists, field evaluation of biocontrol products, analysis of grapevine microbial communities, disease risk modelling and decision support systems. Currently, more specific involvement in studying possibilities for pesticide use reduction in viticulture under a holistic approach, in collaboration with multiple research partners, including oenologists and wine economists.

Dr. Alba Marina Cotes

Alba Marina Cotes is a Senior Researcher at the Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (Corpoica), with progressive experience in laboratory and field research. Her key research activities are in plant pathology, biological control, microbial physiology and development of biopesticides. Her success is derived from her transdisciplinary vision and ability to apply a wide variety of technologies to develop biological control products. Adept at mentoring and developing junior researchers and experienced in higher education at various Universities.

Dr. Antonieta De Cal

Antonieta De Cal is Scientific Researcher in Agricultural National Institute (INIA) in Madrid (Spain). All her research career has been directly related to Plant Protection, aimed at developing new tools that improve agricultural production avoiding the losses caused by diseases caused by phytopathogenic fungi. She studied herPhD in Plant Pathology Department of Agronomists Engineers University of UPM-Madrid (Spain) with a fellowship grant from the Ministry of Education and Science (1986-1989). She obtained a staff position research in 1991, where she has done her research, with a scientific production of 72 papers including in Science Citation Index (SCI), 11 non-SCI, 35 bookchapters and collective volumes, more than 190 participations in conferences and 21 articles of disclosure, 3 patents, all in the development of 36 projects, 17 of which as coordinator; 3 projects financed by the EU (FP-H2020), in which I have acted as head of the research group. I have participated in 9 contracts with the company and public administration, in 5 of them as principal investigator. She has contributed to 27 scientific congresses and technical meetings with invited papers. She is the Plant Protection department Head since April 2013 in INIA, and since January 2014 with the Deputy to the Coordinator of Spanish Agriculture of the National Agency for Project Evaluation (ANEP). This section includes the work not only of training but also of technology transfer / extension.

Dr. Samir Droby

Prof. Samir Droby is a senior research scientist at the ARO, the Volcani Center and Professor of Plant Pathology and postharvest Sciences at the Division of Biochemistry and Food Science at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Since 2013, he has been serving as the chair of the Postharvest Pathology Subject Matter Committee of the International Society of Plant Pathology. His research expertise include developing biological and natural based control strategies for postharvest diseases, mode of action of yeast biocontrol agents, microbiome of harvested commodities, pathogenicity mechanisms of Penicillium species on citrus and apple fruit and resistance mechanisms of fruits against postharvest pathogens. Prof. Droby published more than 120 articles in peerreviewed journal and 25 review articles and 27 book chapters on various topics on postharvest pathology.

Dr. Ralf-Udo Ehlers

As an agriculture engineer specialized in Phytopathology and Biological Plant Protection I have worked for 27 years at the University Kiel, Germany. In 1997, I founded the biocontrol-biotechnology company e-nema GmbH together with Arne Peters and Tillmann Frank. The company produces entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema and Heterorhabditis spp. in liquid culture for insect control. Bioreactors of cubic-meter scale are used to produce yeasts, bacteria and fungi for biological control, animal feed and cosmetic industry. E-nema is distributing its products worldwide and offers its expertise and facilities also for toll manufacturing. In 2018 we have more than 50 employees of which 6 have a PhD. My research focus is on biotechnology and biological control. I am author of more than 100 peer reviewed papers mainly on EPN and microbial inoculants and I edited a book on regulation of biocontrol agents summarizing the results of the EU-REBECA policy support action and another on biocontrol nematodes. Now I am lecturing part-time at UKiel, Germany and as a guest professor at UGent, Belgium. I am currently President of the European Society of Nematologists and board member and treasurer of IMBA Global (International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association).

Dr. Naresh Magan

Professor Magan holds the Chair in Applied Mycology at Cranfield University. He has been carrying out research on improving food security/safety for 30+ years. He has had an interest in ecophysiology of biocontrol agents (BCAs) for many years. He has been involved in environmental screening approaches, enhancing inoculum quality of production, and the development of formulations to address the key environmental bottlenecks in the commercialisation of BCAs. The targets have included fungal pathogens, mycotoxigenic fungi and pests. Current research includes the impact that climate change environmental factors may have on efficacy of BCAs in different agroecosystems. Prof. Magan is now addressing some of these key issues in the development of resilient BCA formulations under expected future climate change scenarios. He also carries out extensive research on molecular ecology and control of mycotoxins in staple foods and rapid methods for the detection of microbes for food/environment/health applications. He has published widely in these research areas with 275+ peer-reviewed papers. He has a H-index of 52 (Scopus) and 68 (Google scholar).

Dr. Ilaria Pertot

Ilaria Pertot is a full professor in plant pathology at the University of Trento, Italy and Head of the Center Agriculture Food Environment, which is established in collaboration with Fondazione Edmund Mach, S. Michele all’Adige, Italy. PhD in plant pathology, her key qualifications and research experience are: epidemiology and biocontrol of diseases of horticultural crops. Her most recent works focus on development of microbial biopesticides, evaluation of their side effects in the environment, mechanisms of plant self-protection, plant microbe interactions including endophytes and effect of climate on biocontrol agents’ survival and activity. She is inventor in four patents. In partnership with an industry, she developed a commercial biofungicide. She was and is involved in several national and EU research projects on sustainable plant protection and reduction of pesticide use. She currently coordinates and EID-ITN (INTERFUTURE)  on innovative microbial-based pesticides and biofertilizers. She is vice-president of the International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC-wprs).

Dr. Gertjan van Westen

 In 2015 I finished my masters in Biology at the Radboud University Nijmegen, with a focus was on plant-microbe interactions. My thesis was on induced plant defenses in Brassica’s agains root herbivory in the group of Molecular Interaction Ecology at the iDiv Research Center in Leipzig. After finishing my masters I started at the vegetable seed company Bejo Zaden in Warmenhuizen as a researcher in the Seed Pathology Research department.

My main research is on additives for seed treatment, which comprises both chemical and biological additives. The main challenge is to develop biological products that can be applied to seeds and to understand the plant-microbiome interactions of the treatment under field conditions.