Speaker Details

Marc Van Montagu

Emeritus Professor Marc Baron Van Montagu, President of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB), is a pioneer in plant molecular biology. With his colleague, Jeff Schell, he discovered the mechanism of DNA transfer from Agrobacterium tumefaciens to plants, and constructed the first chimerical plant genes. Van Montagu used this new technology to study gene regulation and to discover the molecular basis of several plant physiological processes. He has made major contributions to the identification of genes involved in plant growth, development and flowering. He ranks among the 10 most cited scientists in the fields of Plant and Animal Science (ISI classification). His laboratory raised two spin-offs: Plant Genetic Systems (PGS), and CropDesign. At PGS, he drove front-line innovations for biotech agriculture, such as plants resistant to insects or tolerant to more environmentally friendly herbicides. In 2000 he created the Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries (IPBO) at Ghent University. Its mission is training, technology transfer and plant biotechnology research oriented towards the needs of less-developed countries. He is also the President of the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI). He has received numerous awards, among others the Japan Prize. In 1990, due to his scientific accomplishments, he received the title of Baron, he is member of several academies of science, agriculture and engineering and holds numerous Doctor Honoris Causa degrees. In 2013, he received the World Food Prize.

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