KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Dr. Ronald S. Zalesny Jr.

Team Leader and Research Plant Geneticist of Phytotechnologies, Genetics, and Energy Crop Production Unit. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Northern Research Station (NRS), Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies.
Main areas of expertise are: Test short rotation woody crop systems for phytotechnologies, energy, and fiber, with an emphasis on evaluating genetic and physiological mechanisms controlling plant development in the face of changing climates, the need for carbon sequestration, and contamination due to natural and anthropogenic disasters.
Awarded with a.o.: U.S. Forest Service Certificate of Merit Award, 2015 Leadership; U.S. Forest Service Certificate of Merit Award, 2007 Fiber Production and Bioenergy; U.S. Forest Service Certificate of Merit Award, 2006 Environmental Remediation; U.S. Forest Service Certificate of Merit Award, 1998 Safety.
He is the Coordinator of 2.08.04 Working Group (Physiology and Genetics of Poplars and Willows) of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO); International Delegate of Environmental Applications of Poplar and Willow Working Party (International Poplar Commission, FAO); member of Editorial Board of the International Journal of Phytoremediation and BioEnergy Research;Director of Northwoods Environmental Scholars Program and Adjunct Professor of Iowa State University.
Over 85 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Dr. Reinhart Ceulemans


Full Professor of Ecology at the Department of Biology of the University of Antwerp; Visiting Professor of Plant Ecophysiology at the University of Ghent (Belgium); Director of the Research Center of Excellence PLECO at the University of Antwerp; and Chair of the Scientific Review Group for Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences of the European Science Foundation (Strasbourg, France).
Main areas of expertise are: plant ecology; bio-energy crops; global changes; plant functioning and modeling.
Awarded with a.o.: Scientific Achievement Award of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO, 1990); Doctor Honoris Causa of the Mendel University in Brno (Czech Republic); Doctor Honoris Causa of the Université d’Orléans (France); Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts (Belgium); Methusalem chair (since 2007) of the Flemish Government; Belgian Francqui Chair at the Université Catholique de Louvain (in 2007).
Publication output: (co-)editor of 9 scientific volumes on plant responses to environmental factors and tree physiology; over 330 publications in peer-reviewed (A1) scientific journals that are cited well over 10,000 times; h-index of 50. Among the 20 most cited plant scientists in Europe (cfr. Lab Times).
Over the period 2008-2016: 30 projects with a total funding of 15 M€, including ERC Advanced Research Grant ‘POPFULL’ (2.5 M€) on renewable bio-energy.
Supervisor of 25 successfully defended Ph.D.’s. Belgian Focal Point for European Infrastructure Network ICOS.


Dr. Joris Van Acker

Full professor at the Department of Environment of the Ghent University, Manager of the research team Woodlab (Laboratory of Wood Technology), Partner in the Centre for X-ray Tomography of the Ghent University, Past-president of the InnovaWood, the European network of wood research and President of the International Research Group on Wood Preservation.

He is also the Chairman of the Working Party on Sustainable Livelihoods, Land-use Products and Bioenergy of FAO International Poplar Commission, Deputy Coordinator of 2.08.04 Working Group (Physiology and Genetics of Poplars and Willows) of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), Convenor of the Working Group on fungal testing of the CEN TC 38 on Wood Durability and active as Management Committee member of several COST actions: FP1303, FP1407 and CA16226 , Fellow of IAWS, member of the Wallenberg Prize selection committee.

Main areas of expertise are: Wood protection, Wood modification, Wood anatomy, Mechanical testing and Physical testing.

Supervising several EU and national research projects (Wood properties of various selected poplar and willow clones, HerbaXylaREDD, TimberFrameRot, Silex, MoCChaCT), and managing 7 PhD research projects.

Over 140 publications in peer-reviewed.



Dr. Martin Weih

Full professor at the Department of Crop Production Ecology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Director of studies at the Dept. of Short Rotation Forestry, SLU (1999-2005); National contact person for Sweden within IPC-PWB (since 1999); Expert evaluator for the Swedish EPA: Salix plantations on agricultural land: possibilities for biodiversity and landscape design (2005-2006); Chair of the Swedish National Poplar Commission (2005-2008); Member of the Management Committee, COST action E38: Woody root processes (2005 – 2008); President of the International Poplar Commission (IPC) since 2012; Chair of the steering committee for the Graduate school “Bioenergy” at the SLU (2010 - 2016); Head of Department of Crop Production Ecology (2010 - 2016).
Referee on research grant applications for the Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF); member of the evaluation committee for basic energy-related research at the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndighetens grundforskningskommitte). Commissions to peer review for a number of scientific journals (e.g. Annals of Botany, Field Crops Research, Forest Ecology and Management, Functional Ecology, New Phytologist, Tree Physiology).
Main research focus is on plant-plant and plant-environment interactions in crop production. Major research activities focus on the evaluation and improvement of resource use efficiency (mainly nutrients and water) in various agricultural crops; the improvement of biomass production and ecological sustainability in biomass crops grown on agricultural land (mainly Salix and Populus); and the ecological consequences of biotechnology in agriculture.

Author of ca. 200 publications, of which ca. 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 10 publications in peer-reviewed book chapters, 10 popular science publications, 80 reports, conference abstracts and other publications: H-index 32 (Web of Science) and 39 (Google Scholar).




Dr. Deqiang Zhang

Full professor at the Department of Molecular Genetics of the Beijing Forestry University, Director of International Relations Office y Director of Key Laboratory of Genetics and Breeding in Forest Trees and Ornamental Plant, Ministry of Education.  Deputy Coordinator of 2.08.04 Working Group (Physiology and Genetics of Poplars and Willows) of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO).
Main research focus is on genetics, gene expression, transcription and DNA methylation.
Author of ca. 250 publications, of which ca. 90 publications in peer-reviewed journals, the chapter "The role of Long Noncoding RNAs" in Plant Stress Tolerance, conference abstracts and other publications: H-index 20 (Web of Science) and 36.79 (RG Score).