Speakers




Gabriele Berg studied biology and biotechnology at the universities in Rostock and Greifswald obtained her Ph.D. in 1995 in microbiology from Rostock University (Germany). In 2003, she got a Heisenberg grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and in 2005 she became a full professor in environmental biotechnology at Graz University of Technology (Austria). Her interests are focused on microbiome research and management for one health issues. She received numerous awards, e.g. Science2Business Award Austria, “ÖGUT Umweltpreis” (2011) and Fast Forward Award Styria (2015), and, in 2018 she was on the list that recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance (Web of Science/Clarivate).




Roger is a persistent Global Business Leader with broad based multinational/ multi-cultural background who has worked and lived in most continents. He is a result driven business leader with 36 years of distinguished global business experience in the agriculture industry since 1983, focused on exceptional results, out of the box strategy development and execution with realistic sense of urgency. Roger started as a plant breeder, however steadily turned into a business turn-around specialist in various segments including fertilizer, seeds, ag-chem and bio-agriculture. Roger’s main passion is sustainable agriculture with bio-agriculture at its core including traditional crop protection and AgTech sectors. Roger believes that if all R&D and commercial companies focus on grower to consumer and soil to shelf with farmers ROI in mind, we can achieve true sustainability. Before founding Global Bio Ag Linkages, Roger had an extremely successful career as President – Acadian Plant Health Division, Managing Director – Cytozyme, Head of Vegetable, Biologics & Food Chain Business – Bayer Crop Science. He lives in Alpine, Utah, USA.



Carol Pullen started her chemical career in 1992 with POLO CITRUS, selling products from Citrus Oil Products to agricultural cooperatives in Southern Africa. After POLO CITRUS was sold to CREMARK Chemicals, she assumed a position as mining division manager for the group specializing in dust control and dewatering chemistries. Her skillsets took her to the USA where she worked for NALCO Chemicals for several years before transitioning to Hach, a DANAHER Company, as business and market development manager. Carol became a member of the sub-committee for “ASME Research and Technology Committee on Water and Steam” as well as “TAPPI Steam and Power /Energy Management”, specializing in water and energy savings. Early 2008 Carol decided to follow her passion and joined ORO AGRI INC in a California sales position in the vineyard and wine industry. Due to her success in developing the grape market in California, Carol was transferred to Europe as General Manager Europe to develop the European market. After the May 2018 acquisition by OMNIA Holdings based in South Africa, Oro Agri Europe is now supporting Omnia's strategy for sustainable solutions within the OMNIA group with a major emphasis on biological and environmentally friendly products.






Prem has been a Member of the Board of Directors of Valagro since July 2012 and was appointed as the COO 2013. He manages the global operations of the R&D, Marketing, and Sales teams. Prior to that , he was at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle. Prem held an executive leadership roles at Abbott Laboratories and Valent BioSciences Corporation. Prem has a PhD in Plant pathology and an MBA. He has published more than 70 scientific peer-reviewed publications, has over 20 patents issued.






Dr. Dilantha Fernando is a Dean, professor and plant pathologist at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Dilantha is the current President of the Canadian Phytopathological Society. Dr. Fernando works mainly in developing sustainable disease managment strategies to reduce crop pathogens in canola and cereals which includes biological control, PGPR research, breeding for disease resistance and understading the microbiome shifts in cropping practices. He is a featured keynote or invited speaker at many international conferences (90 invited/keynote talks). Dr. Fernando has been internationally recognized with awards for excellence in research, teaching and service. He has published 136 peer reviewed papers and 14 book chapters. Professor Fernando has trained over 75 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists at the University of Manitoba and another 68 undergraduate students.



Main research areas are plant – pathogen interactions with a particular emphasis on soil-borne pathogens such as Rhizoctonia solani and Verticillium spp.. Soil-borne pathogens are difficult to control and disease incidence and severity are affected by abiotic and biotic factors. The main goal of her research group is to determine how cultivation conditions affect the incidence and severity of soil-borne diseases (performance of monitoring) and how severity can be reduced by management practices. The group studies the impact of pathogens on plant responses at molecular and metabolomic level. RNA-seq analysis supports the improved understanding of plant and pathogen responses during the interaction process.

Several third-party funded projects have contributed to a better understanding of the development of biological control methods against diseases caused by soil-borne pathogens. Biocontrol agents to enhance plant health were studied at field scale considering the rhizosphere competence of such inoculants. Recently, the impact of long-term farming practice on soil and rhizosphere microbiome is studied within the frame of a third-party project.




Prof. Smalla is an adjunct Professor at the Technical University Braunschweig and Head of the Bacteriology/Microbial Ecology group in the Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics at JKI. Her long-term interest is the soil and plant microbiome and how it is affected by agricultural management practice. Among others, factors influencing the rhizocompetence, biocontrol or plant growth promoting activity of inoculants and their effects on indigenous rhizosphere microbiota are major research topics in her group. Traditional cultivation-based methods are typically used together with cultivation-independent DNA/RNA based methods to explore the fate and activity of inoculants and their interaction with the plant microbiome of greenhouse or field-grown crops.




Mr. KRK Reddy, is an entrepreneur and has done his Ph. D in Plant Sciences from Kakatiya University, India, M.Sc, Plant Sciences from Kakatiya University, Warangal, India and Post-Doctoral Research: plant biotechnology, University of Hyderabad, India and University of Bayreuth, Germany. After post-doctoral research, Dr. Reddy started an Agri-Biotech company called Sri Biotech in Hyderabad in the year 1994 with a focus to develop safe and green alternatives for Agro chemicals for crop nutrition and protection. Dr. Reddy guided 50 postgraduates and 2 Doctoral students and filed 7 patents. He received several National and International awards for his contributions in the area of research, innovations, product development with special reference to bio intensive integrated crop management to improve agricultural productivity. Till the acquisition of Sri Biotech Laboratories India by Valagro SPA, Italy in 2015, Dr. Reddy served the company as Managing Director. Dr. Reddy also happens to be member in over fifteen national and international societies and bodies as well as on the board of studies and biotech committees of Osmania University, Kakatiya University, Yogivemana University, Nagarjuna University, and Padmavathi Mahila University. Apart from this, he also served Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India as member of task force on Biofertilizers and Biopesticides. Currently he is the member of FICCI-Telangana sub-committee on Agriculture and food processing and CII-Telangana task force on Agriculture. To continue his passion of developing innovative microbial products for crop management, he again started Sri BioAesthetics Pvt. Ltd (2016) and Global BioInnovations (2018) to cater the biological needs of Indian Agriculture and International collaborations respectively. He is currently working on engineering crop specific microbiomes and nano-composites for nutrient and disease management to improve farm productivity.


Dr. Maged Saad is a Senior Scientist of Microbiology, and he is the coordinator of DARWIN21 project at the Desert Agriculture Initiatives, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), He received his BSc & MSc degrees in Biochemistry from Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Egypt. He continued his studied at the faculty of Science, Geneva University, Switzerland, where he got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology for studying different signal transduction mechanisms that govern the interaction between soil microbes and higher plants. After, Dr. Saad, joined the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) as a post-doctoral fellow to study the evolution of symbiotic bacteria. Later he moved to Geneva University to investigate in different molecular mechanisms responsible for the adaptation of N2 fixing bacteria to a different niche. In mid-2014, Dr. Saad relocated to the Middle East and joined KAUST with a focus on the rhizosphere microbes and their potential roles to enhance the stress tolerance of the crop plants. He is currently working on the identification and characterization of the rhizosphere microbes that are associated with pioneer plants lives under extreme environmental conditions of heat, drought, and salt. Dr. Saad research could lead to Eco-friendly solutions for re-planting desert areas and transforming into a sustainable agricultural systems.  


Mitsuru Osaki is Professor of Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University and Professor of Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University from 2006 to 2017. Now he is Professor Emeritus, HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY. He was trained as a plant physiologist and soil scientist, and obtained his doctorate degree in from the Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, in Japan in 1981. He worked as Associate Scientist in Maize Unit of CIMMYT in Mexico from 1982 to 1984. Until 2006, he has been working with the Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University in Japan, to implement a research and teaching on Rhizosphere Management. He also has been carried out many collaborative researches and teaching projects on tropical land management and rehabilitation of tropical forest. Also he was a Project Leader of JST-JICA Project on "Wild Fire and Carbon Management in Peat-Forest in Indonesia" from 2008 to 2014. He is a charge of JICA-JPS-BRG Project from 2014 to 2019. He is the president of "Japan Peatland Society" (JPS) from 2014, which was founded in 2014. He published 221 academic papers and 61 books, presented more than 300 papers in International Symposium, Workshop, or Forum, organized 14 International Symposium or Workshop, until now. He edited and published e-book of " Tropical Peatland Management" (Springer, 2016), of which chapter was downloaded on 40,000 until 2019.  


Prof (Dr) Naveen Kumar Arora, PhD in Microbiology, Professor in Department of Environmental Science, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (A Central University), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India is a renowned researcher in the field of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology. His specific area of research is rhizosphere biology and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). He has more than 65 research papers published in premium international journals and several articles published in magazines and dailies. He is editor of 13 books, published by Springer. He is member of several national and international societies, Secretary General of Society for Environmental Sustainability, in editorial board of 04 journals and reviewer of several international journals. He is also the Editor in Chief of the journal “Environmental Sustainability” published by Springer Nature. He has delivered lectures in conferences and seminars around the globe. He has a long standing interest in teaching at the PG level and is involved in taking courses in bacteriology, microbial physiology environmental microbiology, agriculture microbiology and industrial microbiology. He has been advisor to 118 post graduate and 09 doctoral students. Recently he was awarded for excellence in research by the Honorable Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Although an academician and researcher by profession he has a huge obsession for the wildlife and its conservation and has authored a book, Splendid Wilds. He is President of Society for Conservation of Wildlife and has a dedicated website www.naveenarora.co.in for the cause of wildlife and environment conservation.


“Stop poisoning the soil. Mother Nature can again provide abundant, nutritious food for humanity.” Since 2014, Dr Ho manages Qi-Biotech (HK) as CEO. Qi-Biotech enhances the cultivation of natural medicinal herbs used in ancient ‘well-being’ wisdom of the Chinese & Indian systems, with micronutrients and safe agriculture. Dr Ho is Asia Vice President of the PGPR community of scientific researchers dedicated to finding non-toxic alternatives. There are field tests underway in Asia, Australia, US & the European Union, for micronutrient treatment of soil. Innovative agri-tech is the vital input for productivity, profitability, and sustainability. Dr Ho is promoting an international network of concerned scientists and policy-makers, to address the twin issues of food safety and food security, step-by-step, with like-minded institutional partners. First, cure the soil. Let’s learn to work with Mother Nature’s inherent wealth and wisdom, before humans arrived.



Tomislav Cernava obtained his PhD in Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology with a focus on microbial communities and bacteria-host interactions. During his PhD studies, he evaluated novel applications of beneficial bacteria isolated from lichens and their metabolites in agriculture. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Austrian Centre of industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) his research focused on the development of screening strategies for the identification of bioactive microbial volatiles. These substances are highly valuable tools for novel decontamination strategies and promising boosters for biological control agents. Currently, Tomislav is employed as assistant professor at Graz University of Technology were he continues to explore functioning of the plant microbiota and microbial community dynamics under biotic and abiotic stress. He is also a guest professor at Guizhou University (China) where he explores the microbiota of indigenous plants together with local researchers.





Dr. Pranjib K. Chakrabarty (ARS) joined Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board as Member (Plant Sciences) on April 16, 2019. Before joining ASRB he served ICAR as Assistant Director General (Plant Protection & Biosafety) at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi since Oct 7, 2013. He also held additional charges of ADG (Commercial Crops) from June 2015- Feb 2016, ADG (Oilseeds and Pulses) from August 2017- April 2019, Project Coordinator (Honey bees & Pollinators) from Oct 2017- March 2019 and PC (Nematodes) from Nov 2018- April 2015. Prior to joining HQ in Krishi Bhawan, he served the ICAR in various capacities as Scientist (Plant Pathology), Principal Scientist (Plant Biotechnology) and Head (Crop Improvement) at the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) Nagpur. First class throughout his academic career, Dr Chakrabarty did pioneering research on Molecular basis of plant-pathogen interaction and signal transduction of disease resistance for five years in the USA. He did his post-doctoral research at the University of Florida, Gainesville and at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, USA. He visited 25 countries in Australia, Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe as visiting Scientists and also led Indian delegations in various International fora.






Retired Cancer Research Scientist, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York, USA. Professsor Emeritus/Head, Department of Pathology; Co-Ordinator MLT program at SHUATS, Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) India. Ph. D. Medical Pathology, University at Buffalo, New York. M. Sc.Veterinary Pathology, Bihar Veterinary College, Patna, India. B.V.Sc. & A.H., College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry cum Livestock Research Institute, Mhow, MP. India. Formerly, Research Assistant, IVRI (ICAR), Izatnagar & Mukteswar Kumaun, Dt. Nainital (formerly UP), India. Accreditation’s: Specialist in Public Health &Medical Laboratory Microbiology; Microbiologists of the American Academy of Microbiology. MT & Specialist Microbiologist, ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists)






Dr. K. Annapurna is the Head, Division of Microbiology, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India. She obtained her M.Sc (1982) and Ph.D (1986) degrees in Microbiology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi India. She has been a pioneer researcher in the field of molecular ecology of legume - Rhizobium symbiosis, Azospirillum, Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and initiated work on soybean rhizobial genetic diversity. She has successfully developed a PCR based diagnostic marker for rapid detection of soybean Bradyrhizobium. Her research into endophytes and soil metagenomics have identified potent biocontrol agents and genes coding for different antibiotics. She is recipient of Women Leadership Award by Department of Biotechnology, India, Endeavour Executive Award (Australia) and INSA Award (INSA, India). She has edited books on Microbial and Ecofriendly Solutions.






Dr John Peter is a doctorate from University of Madras. He has served as Scientist at International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Nagarjuna Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NARDI) and as an Auditor, Crop Protection at International Finance Corporation. He is currently heading Varsha Bioscience and Technology India Pvt Ltd., an agri-biotech company that manufactures PGPR and other biological inputs of agriculture importance. Dr. Peter is an executive member of Prof. TNA Foundation and Chairs Prof. TNA Innovation Centre, a Government of India recognized R&D. He has successfully completed three research projects as Principal Investigator. Currently, Dr. Peter is the Principal Investigator for two more research projects under private-public partnership program. He has been an advisor and mentor to graduate, post-graduate and doctoral students.




Dr. G.B.K. Rao (Gaddipati Bala Koteswara Rao) is the Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Pragati Resorts Limited located in Hyderabad, Telangana State, India. Born into an agricultural family in Repalle of Andhra Pradesh, India. He is a mechanical engineer by training, a successful design engineer by talent and an entrepreneur by inclination. He has developed Pragati by converting a barren limestone quarry into a wonderful green belt that is spread across 2500 acres of land near Hyderabad. This area has more than 3.5 million herbal medicinal aromatic mother plants. He brought to life, the rich Bharatiya Rishi Sanskriti (culture), and Vedic Living. Accordingly, Vanamulikalu and Avulu (cows) are the Prana Pradaatalu and Arogya Pradaatalu. Vruksho Rakshati Rakshitaha and Gow Samrakshana - only by protection of the sacred herbal, medicinal and aromatic plants and sacred heritage cows, humanity can counter the two threats of hunger and pollution. He is more into natural farming, sacred vanams, biopharma, reduce-reuse-recycle, yoga and meditation, naturopathy and spa, gardening and landscaping, and creation of mosquito-free spaces. Recently Dr. Rao launched the Amrutha Ahaaram program to create awareness in the public, to avoid eating rice and wheat, and start eating millets, the food of the future. He strongly believes that, if we protect trees the trees will protect us, and aims to develop garden cities and create spaces free of bad bacteria, virus and mosquitoes. Taking his vision further he now cooperates with the renowned Millet Expert of India Dr K. Vali to promote Amrutha Ahaaram (Siridhanyaalu-Millets, Kashaayalu-Herbal Decoctions, Ganuga Nunelu-Wooden Cold Press Oils, and Thati bellam-Palm Jaggery). Based on the concept that “Food is the Medicine” it brings health, wealth, happiness and joy to every household in India and the world. As said, on the left side of a strong woman, stands a strong man; he is strengthened by her character. Pragati’s icon for Bharatiya Sanskriti (Culture) and Sampradayalu (Traditions) GBK Rao’s wife, Mrs. G V Kumari has not only excelled in Financial Management while pursuing her postgraduate in Commerce but she has also been an incessant support in setting up Pragati’s milestones. Dr. Rao’s Pragati Resorts has won over 300 State, National and International awards, including the highest recognition called Oscars of Global Business. His efforts are also recognised by the United Nations. He is the board member of Asian PGPR Society and sponsor of its national and international conferences.



Professor Dr. Pramod Ramteke is currently Dean of Post Graduate Studies and Head of Departments of Biological Sciences at Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences at Allahabad, India. He is elected Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, The Linnean Society of London, Biotech Research Society of India, Academy of Microbiological Sciences (AMI), National Academy of Biological Sciences, National Environmental Science Academy, Mycological Society of India and International Society of Environmental Botanists. He is recipient of Excellence in Science Award (SCON), J. C. Bose Gold Medal, Dr. J. C. Edward Medal, Prof. K. S. Bilgramy Memorial Award, Prof. K. V. Shastri Gold Medal and V. S. Chauhan Gold Medal. He was a visiting Scientist to USA, United Kingdom, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey, Czech Republic and South Korea and member of 18th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (1998-99). Three patents, 2 technologies, 5 databases and 293 gene sequences in NCBI are to his credit. He authored 4 books, over 250 research articles, 34 book chapters and guided 33 PhDs.




Prof. Anil Prakash has obtained Ph.D. Microbiology in 1985 from Barkatullah University, Bhopal. At present, he is Head of the Department of Microbiology and Coordinator in DBT-Builder Programme. His work is mainly in the field of Fungal Biotechnology, Microbial ecology and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). Prof. Anil Prakash is a recipient of Post Doctoral MONBUSHO fellowship at Kyushu University, Japan (1985-1987). He was conferred fellowship of Academy of Science, Engineering & Technology and Mycological Society of India. He has worked as Coordinator of DBT funded Bioinformatics Center (DISC) for 10 years. He has carried out 7 National research projects and 2 International projects. He is working on mass scale Production of PGPRs for their direct application in Agriculture. To his credit, 37 students got Ph.D. under him. He has visited many countries for his research work. He has worked on low input wheat cropping system in Switzerland under Indo-Swiss project. Prof. Prakash has published 70 research papers in International journal. He has also edited two books published by Springer.



Dr Sushil K. Sharma began his research career in 1992 from ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India and worked on control on soil-borne pathogens by soil solarisation. In 1997, he joined as a Scientist (Microbiology) at ICAR-Indian Institute of Soybean Research, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. At this institute, he worked extensively on rhizobia and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) associated with soybean and wheat. Currently, he is the Focal Point of National Agriculturally Important Microbial Culture Collection (NAIMCC) housed in the ICAR-National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, Maunath Bhanjan, Uttar Pradesh, India and is looking after the activities pertaining to repository management and regulatory requirements for sharing of microbial genetic resources under the ambit of Biological Diversity (BD) Act 2002 since 2013. He is an individual member of World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC) and one of the members of Honorary International Advisors of Asian PGPR Society for Sustainable Agriculture. He had participated in International PGPR Conference at Medellin, Colombia, South America in 2012. He has more than 60 research publications in his credit.Recently, he edited a book on “Microbial Resource Conservation: Conventional to Modern Approaches”, published by Springer Nature, Switzerland.


Dr C L Laxmipathi Gowda has PhD in Genetics. He was formerly the Deputy Director General at ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India. He earlier worked as Director, Grain Legumes Research Program and Director of Crop Improvement Program. He was also the Coordinator of the Cereals and Legumes Asia Network (CLAN), and worked with 12 Asian countries to strengthen the R&D capacity of the national programs. He worked as a Consultant to NARS in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam. As chickpea breeder, he helped in the release of more than 70 high-yielding chickpea varieties in 30 countries that have made significant impacts on farmers’ fields. Dr Gowda was one of the pioneers who initiated the Public-Private Partnership for Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC) at ICRISAT, which is now serving as a model for national and CGIAR Centres. Dr Laxmipathi Gowda has been honoured by many Asian countries for strengthening the national agriculture R&D programs, and has received more than 30 awards, honours and recognitions from various countries, institutions and professional bodies, including the Japan International Food Award in 2014. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), and a Fellow of American Society of Agronomy (ASA). He has >360 publications to his credit. He is currently Co-Founders of the GRSV Consulting Services, which provides consultancy support to institutions and individuals in areas related to agriculture research-for-development.





Riyaz Z Sayyed is an Associate Professor and Head, Department of Microbiology, PSGVP Mandal’s Arts, Science College, Shahada, Maharashtra, India. Currently, he serves as the President of India Chapter of Asian PGPR Society for Sustainable Agriculture (Estd 2017). He has 16 years of research expertise in Plant-Microbe interaction and authored 101 peer-reviewed research papers and 68 books. His publications have been widely cited in the field of siderophore-based PGPR. He trained several graduate, post-graduate and research students and produced Ph.D’s under his guidance. He is a recipient of many prestigious awards and honors. He is an Associate Editor of Environmental Sustainability (Springer) journal. He delivered invited talks in many South-East Asian and European countries.





Dr. Subramanian Perumal working with Agrinos India as a Zonal Agronomist for South Zone based at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh effective from 18th April 2014. Reporting to me, Subramanian’s key responsibilities include extending field level support on product development and positioning in the given southern territory and adjoining states, conducting experiments on our present and future products to demonstrate the performance to Farmers / Planters / National collaborators, sharing the findings of trial data, circulate and utilize for development activities, preparing / organizing local language literature / demo to farmers /dealers / distributors, conducting product training to national collaborators’ sales team / sales promoters, organizing/participating in village level farmers’ campaign and motivate the collaborators team for liquidation of products, working closely with collaborators’ sales team & customers to convince them on our product merits, liaising with State Agricultural Universities / Research Institutes / State Agricultural Departments. Subramanian Perumal was graduated in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Coimbatore, TN, did his M.Sc. (Ag) and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He brings with him 18 years of experience in Agrochemical and Bio Ag Industry. He started his carrier in Syngenta and the moved to Isagro Asia. Prior to joining Agrinos he was working for Makhteshim Agan India ( Adama India ) as a Sr. Manager - Product Research and Development for South India and Participated 5th Asian PGPR Conference at ANU Guntur India .


Prof. Pratibha Sharma, former Principal Scientist and Professor, Division of Plant Pathology, ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi , joined SKNAU, Jobner-Jaipur (Rajasthan) in April, 2017 as ICAR Emeritus Scientist and Principal Investigator of the project entitled “Consortial application of Trichoderma harzianum and Metarhizium anisopilae against major pests of groundnut and cumin” .Engaged in teaching and research guided M. Sc and Ph. D students ,authored > 100 Research publications and books viz., ICAR text book publication “Biological control of Plant Diseases and Weeds” (2014 ),Edited :Perspectives of Plant Pathology in genomic era (2016), Diseases of field crops and their management (2016) , Microbial Antagonists: Their role in biological control of plant diseases (2017) , Biological Control of Crop Diseases: Recent Advances & Perspectives (2017). As a secretary of Indian Phytopathological Society ,New Delhi ( 2009- 2016 ) organized International Conference on “ Plant, Pathogens and People” ,14th International Workshop on “Trichoderma and Gliocladium” November ,2016. Serving as Associate Editor of Journal of Plant Disease Sciences, PDKVK ,Akola ,India. Awarded by professional societies including National Crystal Agri award by Krishi Anusandhan and KisanVikas Foundation (2014), Sharda Lele award (2014) Doctor’s Agricultural and Horticultural and Horticultural Development Society, Lucknow (FDAHDS (2018).


Professor Rajeev K Varshney, JC Bose National Fellow is a Research Program Director, Genetic Gains & Director, Center of Excellence in Genomics and Systems Biology at ICRISAT. In his dual appointment earlier, he served CGIAR Generation Challenge Program as Theme Leader for six years. Before joining ICRISAT in 2005, he worked at IPK-Gatersleben, Germany for five years. He is recognized as a leader in genome sequencing, genomics-assisted breeding, translational genomics and capacity building in international agriculture. He has made a pioneering contribution by integrating advanced discoveries in genomics with crop improvement in developing countries. Among different noted contributions, he has genome sequences of 9 crops including pigeonpea, chickpea, peanut and pearl millet and several molecular breeding products in chickpea, peanut and pigeonpea to his credit. Rajeev is an elected fellow of all four science academies of India (INSA, NASI, IASc, NAAS) as well as several foreign science academies including German National Science Academy, The World Academy of Science, American Association for Advancement of Science, Crop Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy. He is recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award from Government of India, GD Birla Award for Scientific Research amongst many prestigious awards. He has been recognized as highly cited researcher by Thomson Reuters (Clarivate Analytics) for last 5 years in row and one of 10 most influential Indian scientists by Times of India, a leading Indian daily newspaper.


Dr Seema Sharma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at KSKV Kachchh University in India. With a Masters degree and Doctorate in Environmental Science and also the qualifying degree (UGC-NET) for professorship in India, With the two most prestigious fellowships of the country, she pursued her doctoral (Women Scientist fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India) and post doctoral work (National Post doctoral Fellowship from Science and Engineering Research Board, Government of India). She is driven to research the use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the field of sustainable agriculture in order to provide scientific evidence for integrating these systems into governmental policies. Dr Seema has several novel NCBI accessions of microorganisms isolated from varied environments, to her credit that have enormous potential in stressed environments. Dr. Sharma’s peer reviewed publications in this field within a short span of few years demonstrate her commitment to quality research on this topic. Dr Seema’s current research interest include interface study of Geological hotspots and the microbiological flora associated, Phosphate Solubilising Microorganisms as Biofertilisers, sustainable solutions and clean energy and nutrient dynamics in varied soil systems and exploring ways and means to take science from books and laboratories to the end users and actual beneficiaries for effective delivery of science.


Dr. Akhilesh Kumar is a Plant Molecular Biologist but now turned into an Agri-entrepreneur. After spending 15 years of his academic research on transgenic development (GM crop), he realized that he needed to focus on applied science rather than doing cosmetic science. He spent four years of his academic career, as a visiting scientist in Israel, working at Volcani Centre (Ministry of Agriculture and Research Organization). His academic journey has been accomplished with a US patent, several international publications, book chapters and he has delivered several oral presentations in international conferences. After having exposure of the Israeli start-up ecosystem he decided to return to India and worked at the first Centre of Excellence (Indo-Israeli project) at Gharaunda in Karnal (Haryana) for nearly one year. Later, he founded his own consultancy firm Eden Horticulture Services (www.edenhorti.in) and is in the process of promoting Hi-Tech horticulture in India. Eden motto is to Educate: Empower and Employ the people. At present they have associated with Genomic Valley Biotech Limited at Bahadurgarh (Haryana) as knowledge partner and established 8 acre research farm as demonstration centre for budding entrepreneurs. Eden Horticulture provides hands on training, consultancy, educational projects and conducts Agri-study tours. He also publishes a bi-monthly magazine named EDEN HORTI (RNI HARENG/2017/74778) to educate people about emerging potential in the horticulture sector. Dr Akhil also lends a hand to budding entrepreneurs to develop innovative products in the agriculture domain through mentorships.





Dr. A. Kumar, presently serving IARI as Principal Scientist, has over 25 years of research experience in the field of Plant Pathology with special training on Microbial and Patho-Genomics. He has handled several projects on plant associated microbes for mitigation of bacterial, fungal and oomycetes diseases of crops especially in black pepper, ginger, pomegranate and rice. He has published over 125 publications in leading international and national journals. Currently his team at IARI is addressing research projects related to plant microbiomes and immunity, microbial volatiles, genome sequencing of plant pathogens, and Non host resistance. He has guided over 25 PG and 4 PhD students. Presently, he is guiding one M Sc and four PhD students in IARI. Dr. Kumar has successfully completed 13 externally funded projects sponsored by DBT, ICAR, IFS-Sweden and other state funding agencies.







Christian Staehelin is heading a research team interested in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou (China). Research work of his laboratory is focused on the function of rhizobial determinants of symbiosis such as Nod factors (lipo-chitooligosaccharides), effector proteins and oligosaccharides derived from extracellular polysaccharide. In particular, various type III effectors (secreted by the rhizobial type III protein secretion system and translocated into host cells) have been characterized by molecular and biochemical methods. Moreover, the laboratory is interested in symbiosis-related legume proteins such as the recently identified Nod factor hydrolase of Medicago truncatula (MtNFH1).




Prof. Shamarao Jahagirdar, serving as Professor at UAS,Dharwad and also National Principal Investigator (Soybean Pathology),IISR,Indore from 2016 to till date. He was a post doctoral fellow at National Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, South Korea (2010). Prof. Jahagirdar has brought several changes in system of working and contributions in field of diseases diagnosis, epidemiology and integrated management strategies. He is involved in development and release of first ever highly rust resistant and high yielding varieties DSb 21,DSb 23 and DSb 28 other Southern states and variety DSb 19 for north eastern zone. Prof. Jahagirdar has published 150 papers in journals,100 papers in conferences, 50 articles and 5 books, 5 chapters in books and 12 reports. Under his guidance, many students have completed their M.Sc and Ph D degrees. He has established Bio-control Laboratory at ARS, Nipani during 2006-2008. Prof. Jahagirdar is a life member of many professional bodies such as Indian Phytopathological Society, Asian PGPR Society, Association of Agrometerologists, member of International Shalom Club (Israel), Centre for Innovation and Development (Netherlands). He has received four international fellowship awards (from Korea, Israel and Netherland governments), one UAS-Dharwad Team award and 11 society awards for his contributions in the field of agriculture. He has completed more than 15 externally funded projects worth of Rs.525 Lakhs.



Prof. Ravi Hunje presently working as Professor in National Seed Project, Seed Production and Management, Seed Research at UAS, Dharwad. He is specialized in certified seed production of high volume low cost seeds on large scale under “Modified Seed Village Concept” through “Farmers Participatory Mode” to occupy number one position in the country First of its Kind and widely recognized in India and internationally as “Dharwad Model of Seed Production” and he is considered as Scientist 24x7 among farming community along with applications of PGPRs in seed health and also production of quality seeds. He is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, Achievement award of UAS Dharwad (2000), Best DUS test centre Team Award (2011), Best Breeder Seed Production Centre (2013-14), Fellow of Indian Society of Seed Technology. He is involved in release of 10 varieties in different crops and published 52 research papers edited 4 books and published 5 books. He is life member and office bearer of several professional and academic institutions.






Agriculture Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, steering India’s development agenda in agriculture and food security through administration of National Food Security Mission. As Chairperson, oversee registration of insecticides including biopesticides, fertilizers including biofertilizers in India.





Dr. Kumar obtained Ph. D. degree in Plant Pathology in 1996 from NDUAT, Ayodhya, India. He worked as a Research Associate at IARI, New Delhi, Assistant Professor at SKUAST, Jammu and then served as a Senior Scientist for thirteen years on research, teaching and extension experience in mushroom production, bio-control, microbial diversity, integrated disease management, diagnosis of unknown plant diseases and suitable bio-control agents at Central Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair. His major area of research is on diversity of antagonistic and pathogenic microorganism, developing location specific IPM modules, standardization of production technology of tropical mushrooms.  His scientific achievements were teaching and guiding M. Sc and Ph. D students and research both at university and CARI, Port Blair for upliftment of farming community. Since 2016, working as a Head, Division of Crop Protection at Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur, India. He has handled six institute funded and three externally funded projects. Recipient of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Award for Outstanding Research in Tribal Farming Systems-2010 by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India, SPPS Meritorious Scientist Award-2011 by Society of Plant Protection Sciences, New Delhi, India and Distinguished Service Award-2010 for his contribution in Plant Pathology by BIOVED Research Society, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. Fellow of four prestigious professional societies and life member of 12 scientific societies and organized four national symposia in Plant Pathology. Development of bacterial wilt resistant brinjal germplasm is one of the most significant achievements to his credit. Published over 100 research papers include books chapters, popular articles, extension bulletins, and various training manuals in National and International level.  Delivered several radio talks and TV shows on different topics for the benefit of farming community.


Dr. Apurba Kumar Chowdhury, Professor in Plant Pathology, Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya (North Bengal Agriculture University), West Bengal and Ex Dean, Faculty of Agriculture. Some of the academic distinctions are: Visiting Scientist, International Wheat and maize Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Mexico and Kenia, National Expert, Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, South Asia, Thailand, Fellows of different societies, Recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru award, PR Verma award, Young Scientist, SERC award etc. Having 28 years of research and teaching experiences, 19 Nos. of externally funded research projects from CGIAR, ACIAR, ICARDA, CIMMYT, Department of Biotechnology, ICAR, Rice Wheat Consortium, RKVY, Govt of India etc either have been completed or continuing . He has guided seven PhD and 10 M.Sc students on Systemic acquired resistance, Integrated disease management and Conservation agriculture. He has published more than 75 research papers in National and International journals like The Plant Journal, European Journal of Plant Pathology, Plos One, Field Crops Research, Frontiers in Science, Applied Organometallic Chemistry, Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection, Indian Phytopathology, Indian Journal of Mycology & Plant Pathology etc.


Dr. V. Govindasamy is a Scientist in the Division of Microbiology, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. Earned a Ph. D in the ICAR-IARI and completed his post doctoral training in the Medical Biotechnology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia under the 2012-Endeavour Research Fellowship sponsored by the Australian Government. He worked as a scientist previously in the ICAR-National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management, Baramati (Pune), India. He is a recipient of AMI Young Scientist Award - 2011 in the discipline of Agricultural Microbiology by the Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI), New Delhi. He worked extensively on plant growth promoting rhizobacterial system with 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase containing rhizobacteria and bacterial endophytes in particular for biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in crops. Authored and co-authored 28 peer reviewed research papers in high impact journals, eight book chapters and several conference abstracts and popular articles. His current research interest includes Root-Microbiome associated with crop genotypes and Phenomics of Plant-Microbe Interactions for understanding beneficial microbes-mediated abiotic stress tolerance in crops.



Dr. Noshin Ilyas is working as an Assistant Professor in Department of Botany, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Earned her Ph.D in Plant Sciences from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Always distinct in academic carrier with a first class first position in Masters and did Ph.D under fellowship from Higher Education Commission, Pakistan. Dedicated with experience in teaching and research in the area of plant microbiology and plant physiology. Combines a focus on achievement with a passion for scholarly work presenting and publishing at conferences and peer reviewed journals. Not only thoroughly involved in teaching various courses at graduate and post graduate level but has supervised dissertational research work of 5 Ph.Ds and 23 M.Phil students till date and is still mentoring 4 Ph.D and 9 M.Phil students. Also actively involved in earning research grants. Prime area of interest include plant microbe interaction under abiotic stress. Have attended various national and international conferences and symposiums.



Dr. Hameeda Bee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Awarded PhD, in the Department of Microbiology, Osmania University, Hyderabad and worked at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Pursued postdoctoral training to generate transgenic groundnut to combat aflatoxin contamination at ICRISAT, funded by DBT-GOI. Overseas postdoctoral fellowship by NSERC Discovery Grant, Canada and worked on Biocontrol mechnisms of Pseudomonas at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Worked as lecturer at Mumtaz Degree College, OU for three years and Visting Scientist at ICRISAT for two years and in present position as Assitant Professor at OU since 2007. Research focus is on Plant probiotics, and production of green surfactants for enhancing soil fertility and plant nutrition. Published 34 research articles in peer reviewed national and international journals. Reviewer of research papers for several national and international journals. Received Young Scientist Award by Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI) and ICAR-Best thesis Award, Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Post-Graduate Research in the field of Crop Protection. Also Received Associate Fellow by Telangana Academy of Science and Distinguished Scientist Award by Genesis Urban and Rural Development (GUARD), Society for research work benefiting farmer community.




Dr Adarsh Pandey is the Assistant Professor & Head in Post Graduate Botany at Post Graduate Department of Botany, Swami Shukdevanand PG College Shahjahanpur, campus of MJP Rohilkh and University Bareilly of UP India. He has 12 years of teaching experience in Basic Biology with specialization in Mycology and Plant Pathology. He has obtained doctorate in 2001 for “studies on fungal diseases of Brinjal in India”. He is a good researcher of his field and working on Biological control of Fungi on vegetables. He has published 34 Research Papers so far in peer reviewed and Refereed National and International Journals. His thesis work has been published from Lambert Academic publishing Germany. He has published five books of Botany for UG and PG level. He is the life member of 10 scientific prestigious societies including Indian Phytopathological society, the world’s third largest society. He has received many scientific awards including Distinguished Plant Scientist award and Young Scientist award from Society of Plant Research in Delhi University. He has got three fellow awards in India.




He was Editor of the Journal of Indian Botanical Society during 1999 to 2002. Prof. Maheshwari was awarded “Prof. Y.S. Murthy Medal” in the year 1992 for his outstanding contribution and bestowed with the “Platinum Jubilee Lecture Award” of the Indian Science Congress Association 2012. Recently, he received “Prof. Birbal Sahni Medal” from Indian Botanical Society, India. He was elected President- Plant Science, Indian Science Congress Association 2015-2016. Prof. Maheshwari is a recipient of UGC-BSR Eminent Fellowship after superannuation for a period of 03 years (2018-2021). In the past, he worked in Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary in the year 1983-1984, Visiting Professor, Science University of Tokyo, Noda (Japan), Guest Professor University of Ulm (Germany) in 1995 and Daegu University (Korea) in 2001. Prof. Maheshwari is active worker in the field of Plant-microbe interaction and has about 167+ publications. and has 25+ books. He is the editor of Microbiology Monograph entitled “Plant Growth and Health Promoting Bacteria” Springer, Heidelberg, Germany published in 2010 and edited a series “Bacteria in Agrobiology” with 06 volumes entitled: Crop ecosystem, Plant growth response, plant nutrient management, Stress management, Plant Probiotics, Disease Management and 06 volumes entitled Bacterial Diversity in Sustainable Agriculture, composting for Sustainable Agriculture, Halophiles: Biodiversity and Sustainable Exploitation and Bacterial metabolites in Sustainable Agriculture, Endophytes: Biology and Biotechnology, Endophytes: Crop productivity and Protection published by Springer-Verlag, Germany.


Dr. Al-Turki is a Professor of Agriculture Microbiology in the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Al-Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. Obtained Ph. D. from The Ohio State University, USA in the field of Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry in 2001. Currently, is also the Director of Promising Research Center in Biological Control and Agricultural Information at Qassim University. His research interests include soil enzyme, biological control, PGPR efficiency, biofertilizers, biofungicides, compost quality and the study of wastewater for irrigation. An expert in the study of activities of enzymes in the decomposition of plant residues, pesticides in the soil and production of healthy composts and selection and identification of beneficial microorganisms for sustainable agriculture. Participated in more than 10 national and international conferences include Asian PGPR International Conferences held in Manila, Philippines and Hanoi, Vietnam and published more than 36 papers in national and international peer reviewed journals. He is one of the editor of the 4rth Asian PGPR International Conference Proceedings published by Scientific Publishers of India. Dr. Al-Turki is the Patron of Asian PGPR Society for Sustainable Agriculture and one of the key sponsor of Asian PGPR International Conferences over the years and actively participating in Society’s scientific dissemination in Asian and Middle Eastern Countries.


S. Krishna Sundari, Professor, Biotechnology Department, JIIT, NOIDA, has years of research experience, working at places of National & International repute such as Teri (The Energy and Resources institute), New Delhi; Institute Nationale Recherche Agronomie (INRA), Champenoux, France; and brief work assignments at ENSAIA, France; Universitae Henrie Poincare, France, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. She has been in academics for the last eighteen years. She is a recipient of Indo-US professorship award from IUSSTF (Indo-US Science and technology Forum) in coordination with American Society of Microbiology (ASM), Washington D.C. She harbours research Interest in the area of Microbial & Environmental Biotechnology. She explores the functional abilities of plant growth promoting microbes with a special emphasis on degrading residual pesticides in soils, thus preventing the risk of aerial translocation of pesticides to edible agricultural produce.




Dr. Huma Naz presently working as PPRA (Plant Pathology) in DAC, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi. She was Assistant Professor in Eritrea, East Africa. She has published 36 research papers, 14 Books, 29 book chapters and 14 popular articles (International & National ).She has received many awards, organised many conferences, conducted skill development training and delivered many lectures, presented papers in seminar/conferences at International and National levels.




Dr. Ritu Mawar began her research career from 1998 at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute Jodhpur, India and worked on management of soil borne plant pathogens particularly Macrophomina phaseolina, Fusarium and Ganoderma by Soil solarization, use of cruciferous residues, composts, prior weakening as a tool and Biological control, etc. Functioned as Women Scientist in a fellowship from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. In 2012, she was selected as a Senior Scientist (Plant Pathology) at ICAR- Indian Grassland and Fodder research Institute Jhansi. Currently, working at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur. During research career published more than 65 research papers, chapters in books, popular articles in national and international journals like Annals of applied biology, Crop Protection, Phytopathologia Mediterranea, Phytoparasitica, Australasian Journal of plant pathology and chapters for American Phytopathological society, Springer, etc. Served as a Zonal councilor (central zone) of Indian Phytopathological Society, New Delhi and remained organizing secretary of a National symposium in 2007. Authored 4 books. Delivered several lead lectures in conferences. Visited Thailand, Italy and France to present papers in International conferences. Recipient of 10 best poster paper presentation awards. In 2019, awarded as best women scientist by Indian society of mycology and plant pathology and one patent of a novel bacterium Bacillus firmus entitled “Bio formulation of a Bio pesticide and a process for preparing the same” has been granted and one more patent of a “consortium of bio pesticide and bio formulation comprising same” is at the final stage of grant.


Professor Rana Pratap Singh is presently Dean Academic Affairs and Professor in Environmental Science, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India. He has made significant contributions in understanding of ammonia assimilation and N- metabolism in plants, uptake and removal of toxic heavy metals from soil and water and isolation, characterization and application of novel microbes as well as microbial consortia immobilized in organic carriers for growth promotion and bio-control of plants in non-stressed and stressed conditions. His research works are well received by peers (Google Citation Indices; Total citation: 3727, H-index: 33 and i10: 79) which include 08 papers cited over 100 times and 03 papers over 200 times (Maximum 289). He has 33 years of PG teaching and 38 years of research experience as well as 14 years of administrative experiences and published 172 scientific articles including research papers, review and book chapters and 17 books, earned 14 fellowships, honors and awards. He is President of 02 professional/academic societies and General Secretary for one. Editor-in-Chief of a bimonthly International Journal “Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants [PMBP (www.springer.com/journal/12298)] (ISI Impact Factor - 1.151), Editor of an International Research Journal “Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability” (CCES)


Dr. Bhim Pratap Singh working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Aizawl, Mizoram University, India, has more than 10 years of research experience in the field of molecular microbiology, biocontrol of plant diseases, mushroom diversity, biosynthetic potential of actinobacteria and fungi associated with medicinal plants. He has worked for last 10 years on microbial diversity and explored the microbial population associated with medicinal plants and rhizospheric soils. His group has documented the wild mushroom of from Mizoram, Northeast India. He has completed seven externally funded research projects on screening and characterization of endophytic actinobacteria and fungi associated with medicinal plants and the rhizospheric soils funded by several funding agencies. Dr. Singh has organized several international and national conferences and seminars including India-UK scientific seminar jointly funded by the British Council and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi. Dr. Singh has been awarded with several honors like young scientist award in 2014 from Scientific and education Research Society, India and Best achievement award for the contribution to the Asian PGPR society, USA. Dr. Singh is serving ad editors of several reputed peer reviewed scientific journals like Frontiers in Microbiology, Plos ONE etc., and he is an active member of several national and international professional bodies like Asian PGPR Society, Association of Microbiologists of India, MSI, ISCA etc.. His group has published 48 research papers in SCI journals and 18 book chapters in the books published by national and international publishers. Dr. Singh has also edited four books published from Springer and Elsevier publications. Dr Singh has filed six patents on several applications of endophytic actinobacteria in plant growth promotion. Dr. Singh has guided 4 Ph.D students and 3 M.Phil students till date.


Dr. M. K. Naik is currently working as a Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Agricultural & Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga, India. Completed Doctorate from IARI, New Delhi, Post Doctorate at ICRISAT, served as ICAR Scientist for 7 years , thereafter as a Associate Professor and Prof and Head (2002-2013) and University Head at UAS, Raichur and UAS, Dharwad for over 20 years, Served as Fullbright Professor at NDSU, USA for a semester, as Dean(Post graduate studies) at UAS, Raichur and Directorate of Research at UAHS, Shivamogga. Experience of over 30 years in ICAR, ICRISAT and Universities and operated several externally funded research projects sponsored by CGIAR, BAARC, DBT, ICAR, NHM, etc. on PGPR, Biological Control, Soilborne Pathogens, Biodiversity of Fungi, Aflatoxin Contamination, and Food Safety and Integrated Pest Management. Recipient of several awards such as ICAR Bharata Ratna Subramnyam Out Standing Teacher Award, by the ICAR New Delhi, National Young Scientist Award of Indian Science Congress Association, Kolkata Karnataka State Young Scientist Award, Fullbright Visiting Fellowship by USA and India Government. He served as Chairman, Co-chairman, Panellist and Convener, President, Councillor, Liaison Officer, Technical Advisor etc., in National DBT Task Force, ICAR- NCIPM Research Advisory Committee, ICAR-NASF Project, ICAR- NBAIM, Mau, President, IPS, Councillor, ISMPP, PPAI, Asian PGPR and ANGARU etc. An accomplished teacher, achiever of excellence, voracious writer, published more than 200 research papers, 56 books chapters and 11 books with two patent to his credit.


Dr. Lalitha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany, Periyar University, Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. Earned a Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Botany with a specialty in Agricultural Microbiology, PGPR research and phytoremediation. Established a multi-disciplinary, nationally and internationally recognized, comprehensive research in the area of biological control of soil-borne diseases, IPM, biofertilizers & biofungicides (PGPR), induced systemic resistance, organic agriculture, development of safer environmentally-friendly agricultural products for sustainable agriculture with reduction of pesticide use and poverty alleviation around the world. Authored and co-authored several peer reviewed research papers in high impact journals and several book chapters, refereed research and extension articles, proceedings, bulletins, popular press reports, electronic media and others. She has led several projects aided by Indian Government over the years. Dr. Lalitha has several novel NCBI accessions of microorganisms isolated from varied environments potential to be used in stressed environments. Participated as a delegate, keynote speaker and session Chair in many national and international conferences. Currently focusing on basic and applied research in PGPR to be used as commercial biofertilizers, biofungicides, biostimulants and for phytoremediation. Also, focusing on siderophore producing microorganisms and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi as phosphate mobilizers. Trained several M.Sc. and Ph. D. graduates. Active member of Asian PGPR Society for Sustainable Agriculture.


Dr. Irina Smirnova is a leading scientist in the field of applied Microbiology. The main directions of her research are broad and focused on basic and applied research in the field of agricultural biotechnology and microbiology. In 1991, she was awarded the degree of Candidate of Biology (Ph.D) in Microbiology (Almaty, Kazakhstan) and in 2007 she obtained degree of Doctor of Biological Science in Microbiology from the Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Plants and Microorganisms, Moscow, Russia. During 2007-2008, she was a co-investigator and Leader of FAP (Fungal Associate Program) of “International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Central Asian Program” (ICBG) in Kazakhstan. The Program was financed by National Institute of Health of USA. Dr. I. Smirnova research focuses on the possibility of using PGPR in agriculture (includes biological control) and agronomically important microorganisms for restoration degraded agricultural soils. Under her leadership bio-preparations for the protection of cereals and sugar beet against phytopathogenic fungi, biological promoters of the seed germination and growth of crops and complex preparation for normalization of soil microflora for have been developed. Dr. Irina Smirnova has numerous patents and publications in reputed journals to her credit. In 2015 she published a monograph "Cellulolytic bacteria and their use in agriculture".




Dr. Sarjiya Antonious (Anton) is Head of the Microbiology Laboratory, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia (LIPI) and currently serves as President of the Indonesian Chapter of the Asian PGPR Society. Has more than 15 years of research expertise in industrial biofertilizer development and has authored or co-authored many peer-reviewed papers in the fields of microbiology and soil biochemistry. A professional biofertilizer industrial consultant for biofertilizers, several of his inventions have been patented and adopted by national stakeholders and licensed for agro industries. He has received many prestigious awards, including a technology transfer (ALTEK) award and honors from international research organizations.




Dr. Anandaraj is a Plant pathologist, has served the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in various capacities like Project Coordinator Spices, Director of Indian Institute of Spices Research, Kozhikode, Kerala and Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore, India. He has worked on plantation crops and spices, developed disease management strategies including a moderately resistant variety of black pepper to foot rot pathogen Phytophthora, released as IISR-Shakthi. He was heading the R&D committee of International pepper community, Jakarta, Indonesia as Chairman. Dr Anandaraj has formulated and Coordinated ICAR Outreach Project on “Phytophthora, Fusarium and Ralstonia diseases of horticultural and field crops” (www.phytofura.net.in) that was run in 20 Institutes across India. Current interests are rhizosphere microbiome and multipartite interactions in Rhizosphere. His team has developed plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) formulations that enhance yield; commercialized as Biopower G for ginger, Biomix Bp for black pepper and biopower SS for seed spices. His team has developed novel methods of PGPR delivery through capsules and as seed coating. These technologies have been commercialized and entrepreneurs are using these technologies to deliver biofertilizers and biocontrol agents in several states of India especially in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.


Dr. Abdul Gafur is Deputy Head and Expert of the RGM, Bogor, Indonesia. He obtained his B.Sc. degree in Plant Protection in 1985 from IPB University, Bogor, Indonesia; M.Sc. degree in Plant Breeding and Plant Pathology in 1991 from University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, USA; and Ph.D. degree in Molecular Plant Pathology and Mycology in 1998 from Kindai/Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. From 2000 – 2002 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Visiting Scholar at the University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany. He has since visited a number of different countries for teaching and research activities. He is also an alumnus of the International Deans’ Course – South East Asia program conducted in 2012-2013 by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). Currently he is the Alexander von Humboldt Visiting Scholar at Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Bochum, Germany. His research interest includes interaction between plants and soil microbes, belowground biodiversity, and biological control of soil borne pathogens. To his credit, Abdul Gafur has published 57 scientific articles in reputable refereed national or international journals and 13 books or book chapters. As of July 2019, his total Scopus publication citations are 286 and Scopus h-index is 10. He also actively contributes to a number of scientific meetings, both domestic and overseas. He is an Editorial Board member of the Indonesian Journal of Phytopathology and reviews several scientific papers for national or international journals including Plant Disease.




Dr. Amrutha V Audipudi is Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, India. She obtained her M.Sc (1984) in Applied Plant Physiology and Ph.D (1991) on the effect of low light irradiance on photosystem I & II of Sorghum from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India. She has been doing her research in developing liquid Bio-formulations from entophytic Bacteria and fungi and Phosphate solubilising PGPR against fungal pathogens of Chilli and Tomato. She is also doing research on bio stimulators (Bio control and bio fertilizers) and their impact on physiological attributes of crops to maintain the health and yield of crop. She has culture collection of entophytic fungi and Bacteria isolated from chilli and Acorus and PSB of chilli rhizosphere potential to control of different sps. of Collitotrichum. She is recipient of Best research award twice in University and best scientist award from ABAP in 2017 for her work in this field. She has supervised 8 Ph.Ds till date and 4 Ph.Ds are in the pipeline.