Solomon Sirak

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Digital systems specialist

Core staff

Solomon is an experienced digital systems manager with a demonstrated history of working in the research industry. At CIMMYT Solomon works in the knowledge management unit as a digital system administration manager and for EiB he develops and manages the EiB portal, Toolbox and the learning management system. Solomon's areas of focus are open source technologies, SEO, data management and repositories and user experience.

Sarah Hearne

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Toolbox coordinator / Trait discovery & deployment lead

Toolbox / Optimizing breeding schemes

Sarah Hearne’s work focuses on the interface between genetic resources and plant breeding and in the adaptation/development and use of tools to enhance the identification and transfer of useful native genetic variation from exotic germplasm to breeding germplasm. Sarah leads the Seeds of Discovery (SeeD) initiative at CIMMYT. Sarah, along with Mike Olsen, also leads work on upstream trait discovery and gene mining of novel germplasm with EiB's Optimizing Breeding Schemes module.

Sam Storr

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Communications consultant

Core staff

Sam is a researcher and communicator who combines writing, graphic & web design, data visualization and analysis for advocacy in areas such as agricultural science, human security and migration, with a focus on Mexico and Latin America. As a consultant for EiB, Sam supports the development of materials for the Toolbox, website and communications channels.

Thomas Hagen

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Breeding software project manager

Tom leads the development of software tools to facilitate breeding operations, including the Enterprise Breeding System. Both a crop scientist and an IT specialist, Tom developed analytics software at DuPont Pioneer and founded the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization at the University of Georgia.

Brenda Bautista

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Project manager

Core staff

Brenda is an experienced global project manager and donor relations officer with a demonstrated history of working internationally in the sustainable agriculture sector. At EiB, Brenda manages and coordinates the development of effective work plans, ensuring plans are within the scope, time, and cost parameters. Prior to her role as a project manager at CIMMYT she held the Position of Donor Relations Officer.

Biswanath Das

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NARS coordinator

NARS outreach

Bish leads the extension of EiB activities to national agricultural research system (NARS) institutions at the global level. Bish was previously a maize breeder at CIMMYT and maize breeding lead for sub-Saharan Africa at Syngenta.

Gustavo Teixeira

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Module lead

Operations and phenotyping

Gustavo provides expert evaluation of breeding program operations according to continuous improvement and operational excellence methodologies and leads initiatives to improve CGIAR and NARS operations capacities. An expert in agriculture engineering, processes, mechanization and automization, Gustavo has over 15 years’ experience in the private sector including as Automation Manager for R&D in Latin America at Syngenta.

Eng Hwa Ng

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Module lead

Genotyping / sequencing tools and services

Eng leads the high throughput genotyping project which negotiates access to world class genotyping services at reduced cost, while providing training in genotyping applications. Eng is a senior scientist hosted by IRRI with several years of experience in industry.

Ana Luisa Garcia Oliveira

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Regional genotyping coordinator - Africa

Genotyping / sequencing tools and services

Ana optimizes and streamlines the flow of samples from a variety of breeding programs to genotyping laboratories, helps with laboratory scheduling and forecasting, and, optimizes data return to breeding programs. Before joining EiB, Ana worked at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, Nigeria, as an as Associate Scientist-Molecular Geneticist.

Rajaguru Bohar

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Regional genotyping coordinator - South Asia

Genotyping / sequencing tools and services

Rajaguru coordinates EiB shared genotyping services in South Asia. This includes optimizing and streamlining the flow of samples from a variety of breeding programs to genotyping laboratories, helping with laboratory scheduling and forecasting, and optimizing data return to breeding programs. Before joining EiB, Rajaguru was previously the coordinator of the High Throughput Genotyping Project (HTPG) at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and has 10 years of molecular breeding and project management experience from the seed industry and CGIAR crop improvement programs.

Jan Debaene

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Deputy Director

Jan oversees the operations of EiB teams and work pipelines. Jan was previously Global Head – Breeding at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and has over 20 years of breeding, management and leadership experience from the private sector in both the US and in India, including at Syngenta, Pioneer, and East West Seed.

Giovanny Covarrubias-Pazaran

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Module lead

Breeding scheme optimization

Eduardo supports breeding programs to define processes, apply project management and quantitative genetics principles, and use computer simulations to optimize their breeding scheme. Prior to joining EiB, Eduardo was the biometrics wheat lead at Bayer CropScience, now BSF, in Belgium.

Kelly Robbins

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Biometrics, bioinformatics and data management

Breeding informatics

Kelly Robbins is a quantitative geneticist whose research focuses on the use of computational science to improve the efficiency of crop breeding programs. Current projects are aimed at developing computational infrastructure and models for applying high throughput technologies, such as Next Generation Sequencing and remote sensing, to genetic improvement of complex traits, increasing understanding of genotype by environmental interactions, and improving genetic gains in crop breeding programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia he is currently an Assistant Professor at Cornell University in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Breeding and Genetics Section.

Peter Coaldrake

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Interim module lead

Market Intelligence & Product Design

Peter is an EiB consultant, overseeing module one on an interim basis. He is former Director Germplasm Technology Programs at Corteva Agriscience, and previously served with DuPont Pioneer.

Dorcus Gemenet

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Breeding simulation and communication specialist

Breeding scheme optimization

Dorcus works in the area of computer simulations of breeding programs, communicating and sharing this knowledge with scientists to help them apply simulation to optimize their breeding schemes and drive changes in clonally propagated crops. Dorcus previously worked at the International Potato Center, with a strong background in a strong background in quantitative genetics and molecular breeding.

Mike Olsen's picture

Trait deployment

Breeding scheme optimization

Mike supports breeding programs to mainstream the use of genotyping applications in their work. Mike currently leads the maize molecular breeding team at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, as well as being principal investigator for the Genomic Open-source Breeding and Informatics Initiative (GOBII), at Cornell University – U.S.

Young Wha Lee

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Module / biometrics lead

Breeding informatics

Young Wha leads the development of a team to provide biometrics support across the CGIAR. Young Wha was formerly data scientist at Monsanto, with a background in quantitative and population genomics, running data science projects, redesigning breeding pipelines and building large-scale genetic datasets.

Lennin Musundire's picture

Africa NARS breeding optimization specialist

NARS outreach

Lennin supports NARS breeding programs in Africa to develop and implement improvement plans in order to deliver higher genetic gains targeted at smallholder farmers. Lennin has worked as maize breeder for the Generation Challenge Program and Seed Co Limited.

Adam Hunt

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Global communications lead

Core staff

As EiB's communications specialist, Adam leads global communications strategy, content, marketing, engagement and platforms. Prior to EiB, Adam served as Global Head of Communications for the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), and led media development programs across Southeast Asia for eight years with Internews. He has an M.A. in Planning (International Development), and a B.A. in Journalism.

Michael Quinn

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Michael leads EiB’s overall strategy, partnerships and operations. He has extensive experience in the commercial development of germplasm through breeding and R&D management. Prior to EiB, Michael was principal wheat breeder and R&D manager for eastern Australia at InterGrain, and has over 15 years of breeding, management and leadership experience in both the private and public sectors, working with both hybrid and fixed line crops.

Sanjay Katiyar

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ICAR project coordinator

NARS outreach

Sanjay coordinates activities with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, supporting the modernization of multiple crop breeding programs in South Asia. Sanjay is currently a senior development specialist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and has extensive private sector experience in India.

Bodo Trognitz

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Breeding optimization specialist

Breeding change implementation support

Bodo is the EiB focal point for breeding programs in the region during the hands-on implementation of improvement plans and EiB best practices. Bodo draws on extensive breeding experience and people skills from academia, industry and CGIAR in various regions, and will work across EiB modules to translate and implement EiB principles.

Christian Werner

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Quantitative genetics specialist

Breeding scheme optimization

My research is focused on the utilization of quantitative genetics, genomics and biostatistics in plant breeding. I am fascinated by the opportunities arising from novel breeding tools and modern computational technologies, which allow the combination of classical phenotype-based selection and molecular data for the optimization of breeding programs. Having studied agricultural sciences and crop production, one of my key objectives is to make scientific knowledge and novel methods useful in practice.

Vinicius Pereira da Rocha

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Mechanization support specialist for East and South Africa

Operations and phenotyping

Vinicius holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry engineering, Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering and MBA in project management. He comes with over 10 years experience in the deployment of technologies (IoT, remote sensing, GPS, etc) and creation and implementation of SoPs for field operation. Vinicius has also a solid experience on managing contractors as well as managing field operations, from breeding to production. Prior to joining EiB, Vinicius was the head of Mechanization at Sinarmas Forestry, based in Indonesia.

Jason Donovan

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Strategic crop market economist

Market Intelligence & Product Design

Jason is providing expert guidance to breeding partners on product profile design and seed value chains. He has a PhD in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His work focuses on agricultural markets and value chains and he has worked extensively in Latin America and Africa. Between 2014-2020, Jason edited the journal Enterprise Development and Microfinance. Jason also currently serves as a Senior Economist for CIMMYT, since 2017. Prior to joining CIMMYT, Jason worked with World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center. Jason is based at the CIMMYT headquarters near Texcoco, Mexico.

Alexandro Islas

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Alex supports EiB in the admin area, particularly for the teams based in the Americas, along with the Enterprise Breeding System team. Before joining the EiB he was the admin support for Genetic Resources Program-CIMMYT.

Marlee Labroo

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Quantitative genetics specialist

Breeding scheme optimization

Marlee uses simulation, data analysis, and logistics to optimize breeding schemes and support breeding programs. Before joining EiB, she was affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the International Rice Research Institute.

Amer Najm

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Mechanization Support Specialist for West and Central Africa

Operations and phenotyping

Amer holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture engineering , a Master’s in agricultural mechanization, and an MPhil in Information Systems Management. Amer has extensive experience in Agriculture, he possess in-depth knowledge of: soil preparation practices, irrigation, planting and harvesting machinery and seed processing as well. Amer has also good experience on machine maintenance. Prior to joining EiB, Amer was the manager of the Agricultural Machinery Department at ARD (Unifert) S.A.L, he was also a course instructor at American University of Beirut, he was based in Beirut.

Agnes Mbugua - Gitonga

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Seed marketing specialist

Market Intelligence & Product Design

Agnes coordinates design of practical approaches and tools to support partners on understanding market segments, aligning breeding pipelines to market segments, developing pipeline investment cases and designing product profiles. Before joining EiB, Agnes served as Portfolio Manager East & Southern Africa with BASF, and previously worked with Syngenta for 12 years, including as Marketing Manager of Broad Acre. Anges has an M.A. in Environmental Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi.

Dragan Milic

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Breeding specialist, East Africa

Breeding change implementation support

Dragan supports EiB’s East Africa-based program and partners to ensure Crops to End Hunger implementation. Dragan previously worked on alfalfa/forage crop breeding and genetics with the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops for 20 years. Dragan has a PhD in plant breeding from the University of Novi Sad

Mark Dieters

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Breeding consultant

Breeding change implementation support

Mark supports Crops to End Hunger implementation, with a focus on priority programs in Africa. He has been a Quantitative Geneticist and Plant Breeder at the University of Queensland, since 2003. Mark has a PhD in Quantitative Genetics from the University of Florida.

Adriana Gonzalez

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Finance manager

Core staff

Adriana manages and works closely with the EiB team in all financial related matters. Adriana was previously the CIMMYT Internal Audit Unit Sr. Manager for more than two years and held other positions within the CIMMYT Finance Team.

Nick Tang

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Senior project manager

Nick supports EiB leadership in the management of the Platform and cross-center projects, including helping to define and document implementation, aligning EiB activities with partner Improvement Plans, supporting the team on functional processes such as statements of work, global design and stakeholder engagement, and managing ad hoc projects that support Improvement Plans. He has 20 years of IT project and consultancy experience including recently with Ovintiv/Encana and Project Management Training Institute (PMTI) in Alberta, Canada.