Team members Clismaban

Godelieve Gheysen is the UGent director of IPBO. She takes care of the daily government of the institute and is responsible for all biodiversity related projects.
She is professor of molecular genetics at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology – Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University. She teaches the courses Molecular Biology and Genetics, Gene Technology and Plant Biotechnology. G. Gheysen is a member of the scientific comittee for transgenic plants, advising the Belgian biosafety council.
Godelieve Gheysen has studied biology and did her Phd at the Laboratory of Genetics on the mechanism of T-DNA integration in plant chromosomes. Her current research is focused on the molecular interaction between plants and endoparasitic nematodes and on the use of DNA markers for the analysis of plant breeding and biodiversity.

Team Marc Heijde

Marc Heijde was trained as a plant molecular biologist and bio-technologist. After a PhD at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris, France) deciphering light responses in microalgae, he went to University of Freiburg (Germany) and University of Geneva (Switzerland) to unravel the molecular responses of plants to UV-B light. In 2013, through a Marie Curie fellowship he combined the best of these two worlds to start a research project at the VIB_Plant Systems Biology Department in Ghent. In 2015, with the strong conviction that science and innovation can have more impact on the development of a sustainable agriculture and agribusiness he decided to exchange lab work for a position at VIB_International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO). With a global network of stakeholders involved in Plant Biotechnology, breeding and related biosafety, Marc develops partnerships for research, innovation, and capacity building with the ambition to further encourage the set-up of a more sustainable and science based agriculture with a focus on Sub Saharan Africa.
Marc is currently the IPBO program manager and is also administrator of the Marc and Nora Van Montagu fund.

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Rony Swennen obtained his PhD at KU Leuven, Belgium in 1984. After a brief research stay in the Canary Islands, Spain, he joined IITA in 1979 as the first scientist at IITA’s High rainfall substation, Onne, Nigeria. There he started plantain research initially focusing on physiology in support of agronomy, and taxonomy. He became Associate Scientist (1982), Research Coordinator (1985), and in 1987 Core Scientist. He initiated and run the plantain breeding program that resulted in black sigatoka-resistant plantain for which IITA was awarded the International King Baudouin Award. He collected worldwide banana and plantain varieties that laid the basis for the International Transit Centre of banana, Leuven, Belgium. In 1990 he became Senior lecturer at KU Leuven and by 1997 full professor. His Laboratory of Tropical Crop Improvement hosts the world banana collection, Bioversity International, with collaborations in 103 countries. Cryopreservation techniques were developed for banana and later for another 27 plant species. His group also developed the first transgenic bananas in the early 90s with field tests in two locations. He is a strong believer in phenotyping and therefore initiated a proteomics and transcriptomics platform. In 1995 he became a member of the Royal Academy, Belgium, and Honorary Research Fellow of Bioversity International. He is a member of the Global Musa Genomics Consortium (since 2002). He was a member of several scientific committees of international conferences on banana and organized two international conferences in Leuven (on Cryopreservation and on Molecular Biology of Bananas). He received several international awards and a chieftancy in Nigeria.