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Sunday 18th

1st Day

Monday 19th

2nd Day

Tuesday 20th

3rd Day

Wednesday 21st

4th Day

Thursday 22nd

5th Day

Sunday 18th

WORKSHOP 1 - / IZASA Scientific /
WSN1. Spanish Cel Wall Network / IZASA Scientific / Antonio Molina & Hugo Mélida
WORKSHOP 2 - / Thermo Fisher /
WSP. Cutting edge analytical tools for studying the sequence of the cell wall polysaccharides (4 Talks 10 min: Chair: Parastoo Azadi)
Parastoo Azadi - Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia
WSP1. New analytical approaches for the structural characterization of insoluble polysaccharides
Ellen Verwee - Ghent University
WSP2. Fluorescence and Raman Microscopy to investigate Plant Cell Wall Polysaccharides
Dimitiros Kouzounis - Laboratory of Food Chemistry Wageningen University
WSP3. Strategy to identify reduced arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides by HILIC-MSn
Eugene Badenhorst - Stellenbosch University
WSP4. Profiling the cell wall composition of eggplant (Solanum melongena) using CoMPP and analytical methods
Coffee/Tea Break
Welcome and Opening XVI Plant Cell Wall Meeting
Antonio Molina and Hugo Mélida
KEYNOTE SPEAKER 1 / Sponsor: The Cell Surface
Chair: Marie-Christine Ralet
Bernard Henrisat - Technical University of Denmark
KN1. “When the plant cell wall meets the gut microbiota”
KEYNOTE SPEAKER 2 / Sponsor: Molecular Plant
Chair: Monika Doblin
Clara Sánchez-Rodríguez
KN2. “Bio-masonry in plant resilience”
Welcome Reception Dinner (Sponsor Costa del Sol)
Social Activities

Monday 19th

Session 2. Tools to Study the Plant Cell Wall / IZASA Scientific (6 talks)
Chairs: Staffan Persson and Laura Bacete
Kalina Hass - INRAE - IJPB
OT1. Dynamics of periodic cell wall self-assembly.
Godfrey Neutelings - University Lille
OT2. Bioorthogonal labelling strategy for studying the dynamics of lignification in vivo
Oliver Quinn - University of Manchester
OT3. Probing Unique Cell Wall-Related Membrane Domains Using Proximity Labelling
Quentin Hays - GLYCO-MEV Laboratory
OT4. Dynamic imaging of cell wall polysaccharides by metabolic click-mediated labeling of pectins in living elongating cells
Renate Weizbauer - Carnegie Institution for Science, Dept Plant Biology, Stanford, CA
OT5. CarboProbes - Illuminating spatial organization of the plant cell wall.
Fiona Kang - The University of Melbourne
OT6. Marchantia polymorpha, a simple model system for cell wall biosynthesis research
Coffee break
Session 3. Plant Cell Wall Biology and Dynamics / Journal of Experimental Botany (8 talks)
Chairs: Charles T. Andersson and Kalina Haas
Misato Ohtani - The University of Tokyo
OBD1. Microtubule dynamics is the matter: lessons from sulfamethizole on secondary cell wall patterning during protoxylem vessel cell differentiation.
Sébastjen Schoenaers - University of Antwerp/INRAE
OBD2. A pectin-binding RALF peptide with both a structural and signaling role in the periodic assembly of the plant cell wall
Baocai Zhang - Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
OBD3. Xylan biosynthesis and modification are required for cell wall patterning in rice
Georg Seifert - University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna (BOKU)
OBD4. A dual molecular mechanism of Fasciclin-Like Arabinogalactan Protein 4?
Pramod Sivan - KTH Royal Institute of Technology
OBD5. Post-synthetic modification of glucuronoxylan structure by overexpression of fungal xylanases in developing wood provides novel insights into secondary cell wall polymer interaction and architecture in hybrid aspen
Erik Nielsen - University of Michigan
OBD6. Characterization of CSLD2, CSLD3, and CSLD5 functions during cell wall synthesis in Arabidopsis
Francesco Pancaldi - Wageningen University
OBD7. Genomic dynamics underpinning cell wall evolution
Georgia Drakakaki - University of California Davis
OBD8. Dissecting cell wall formation during plant cytokinesis
Session 4. Pectins / Journal of Experimental Botany (6 talks)
Chairs: Debra Mohnen and Jerome Pelloux
Jenny Mortimer - University of Adelaide
OP1. A CRISPR-mediated approach to characterise developmentally-critical pectin biosynthesis genes
Breeanna Urbanowiczi - University of Georgia
OP2. Structural and biochemical insight into a modular β-1,4-galactan synthase in plants
Ariel Orellana - Universidad Andrés Bello
OP3. Homogalacturonan is produced and released in the mucilage of GOSAMT mutants despite lower methyl-esterification.
Marie-Christine Ralet - INRAE
OP4. Exploring RRT1 function in the synthesis of Arabidopsis seed mucilage
Bastien Dauphin - LRSV - Université Toulouse III (CNRS)
OP5. TBL38 is an atypical cell wall homogalacturonan acetyl esterase of Arabidopsis seed mucilage secretory cells
Debra Mohnen - University of Georgia
OP6. Depicting pectin structure and architecture in plant cell wall models
Coffee/Tea Break/Poster session 1 (Even Numbers)
Session 5. Plant Cell Wall and Interaction with the Environment (Abiotic) / Symborg (8 talks)
Chairs: Giulia de Lorenzo and Aline Voxeur
Cezary Waszczak - University of Helsinki
OI1. Cell wall structural changes affect plant-water relations.
Mélanie Fortier - University of Rouen, GlycoMEV
OI2. Involvement of cell wall glyco-molecules and root cap-derived cells in pea (Pisum sativum) root protection to water deficit
Laura Bacete - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
OI3. Unravelling the Role of ZAT11 and ZAT18 in Cell Wall Integrity Maintenance in Response to Environmental Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana
Samuel Hazen - University of Massachusetts
OI4. Shoring up the base: the development and regulation of cortex sclerenchyma in the basal region of nodal roots
Irabonosi Obomighie - Durham University
OI5. Impact of Cell Wall Crosslinking on Plant Freezing Tolerance
Henrik Scheller- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
OI6. Modification of cell walls in sorghum changes the rhizosphere and root microbiome
Thorsten Hamann - Norwegian University os Science and Technology
OI7. The role of the cell wall integrity maintenance mechanism in ABA induction
Sam Amsbury - The University of Sheffield
OI8. Profiling cell wall stress responses: Drought and Zymoseptoria tritici infection induce distinct but overlapping cell wall modifications in wheat leaves.
Refreshment / Poster session 2 (Odd Numbers)
Social Activities

Tuesday 20th

Session 6. Plant Cell Wall Signalling / Plant Response (6 talks)
Chairs: Miguel Ángel Botella and Verónica Doblas
Timo Engelsdorf - Philipps-Universität Marburg
OS1. Cell wall integrity and Pep signalling modulate phytoalexin-mediated pathogen defence in Arabidopsis
Marina Martín-Dacal - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
OS2. Arabidopsis immune responses triggered by cellulose- and mixed-linked glucan-derived oligosaccharides require a group of leucine-rich repeat malectin receptor kinases
Kay Schneitz - Technical University of Munich
OS3. Molecular insight into cell wall integrity signaling in Arabidopsis mediated by the receptor kinase STRUBBELIG
Hugo Mélida - Universidad de León
OS4. Novel microorganism-derived β-glucans that trigger immune responses in plants
Liam German - University of Leeds
OS5. Callose regulation and plasmodesmata in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis
Steven Moussu - CNRS
OS6. Pollen tube integrity sensors LRX8-RALF4 complexes interact with demethylesterified homogalacturonans.
Coffee break
Session 7. Cell Wall Mechanics / IZASA Scientific (4 talks)
Chairs: Anja Geitman and Thorsten Hamman
Arun Sampathkumar - Max Planck Institut für molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie
OM1. Tethering of Cellulose Synthase to Microtubules Dampens Mechano-induced Cytoskeletal Organization in Arabidopsis Pavement Cells
Leila Jaafar - The Pennsylvania State University
OM2. Biomechanical Effects of Pavement Cells and Guard Cell Walls on Stomatal Dynamics
Asal Atakhani - Umeå University
OM3. Quantifying cell-cell adhesion strength in plants
Valérie Lefebvre - Université de Picardie Jules Verne
OM4. Arabidopsis polygalacturonases differ in their biochemical specificities and in their effects on plants and mimetic membranes
Career opportunities - CBGP-Severo Ochoa Excellence
Chair: Debra Mohnen
Patricia Fernández-Calvo
Misato Ohtani
The University of Tokyo
Susana Saez
Universidad Andrés Bello
Franciso Vilaplana
Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan
Jesper Harholt
Carlsberg Research Laboratory
Session 8. Lignin / Novozymes (4 talks)
Chair: Wout Boerjan and Josh Vermaas
Jaime Barros - University of Missouri
OL1. Natural variation of lignin metabolism in poplar
Dyoni M. Oliveira - Ghent University
OL2. Depletion of lignin p-coumaroylation affects phenolic metabolism and lignin depolymerization efficiency in maize
Chang-Jun Liu - Brookhaven National Laboratory
OL3. Differential involvement of electron transfer chains in lignin and soluble phenolic biosynthesis
Taku Tsuyama - University of Miyazaki
OL4. Active transport of lignin monomers in lignifying tissues of vascular plants
Session 9. Plant Cell Wall in Plant Development / Aralab (2 talks)
Chairs: Yoselin Benitez and Misato Ohtani
Anja Geitmann - McGill University
OD1. Callose boosts the extreme cellular growth behavior of pollen tubes
Benoit Landrein - CNRS UMR
OD2. Mechanical control of seed growth
Coffee/Tea Break/Poster session 3 (Odd Numbers)
Session 9. Plant Cell Wall in Plant Development / Aralab (8 talks)
Chairs: Yoselin Benitez and Misato Ohtani
Henry Temple - University of Cambridge
OD3. Uncovering Golgi SAM Transporters: A Crucial Step Towards Understanding the Role of Pectin Methylation in Plant Development
Staffan Persson - University of Copenhagen
OD4. Identification of a transcriptional framework for primary wall synthesis in Arabidopsis and rice
Liudmila Kozlova- University of Montpellier
OD5. Root growth of monocotyledons and dicotyledons is limited by different tissues
Allan Showalter - Ohio University
OD6. Using CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing to Elucidate Arabinogalactan-Protein Function
Vicente Ramírez - Institute for Plant Cell Biology and Biotechnology
OD7. Strigolactone-dependent suppression of the irregular xylem syndrome caused by xylan hypoacetylation
Alexis Peaucelle - IINRAE - IJPB
OD8. Towards a Multiscale Integrative Model of Plant Growth
Lothar Kalmbach - University of Lausanne
OD9. Tissue-specific cell wall modifications for transport through phloem sieve tubes
Josh Vermaas - Michigan State University
OBD9. Comparing cell wall and membrane contributions to mesophyll conductance in plants
Cell Wall Tasting (Sponsored by SUPPLANT)
Refreshment/ Poster session 4 (Even Numbers)
Social Activities

Wednesday 21st

Session 10. Hemicelluloses / Tradecorp (5 talks)
Chairs: Paul Dupree and Olga Zabotina
Catalin Voiniciuc - University of Florida
OH1. Unravelling the Mysterious Roles of GT106 Proteins in Xylan and Mannan Synthesis
Theodora Tryfona - University of Cambridge
OH2. Altering the crosslinked molecular architecture of grass glucuronoarabinoxylans affects cell wall assembly and results in a more porous wall.
Lavi Rastogi - Regional Center for Biotechnology
OH3. Characterization of Arabidopsis polysaccharide acetyl esterases from the GELP family and elucidating their role in determining plant cell wall properties
Olga Zabotina - Iowa State University
OH4. The stability variations of the xyloglucan-synthesizing enzymes suggest the compositional dynamics of their complexes in Golgi.
Sarah Pfaff - The Pennsylvania State University
OH5. Xylan Plays a Critical Role in Patterned Secondary Cell Wall Formation
Session 11. Cell Walls as a Resource for Sustainability / Tradecorp (1 talk)
Chairs Taku Demura y János Urbancsok
Jesper Harholt - Carlsberg Research Laboratory
OR1. From fundamental cell wall biology to scale production of beer
Coffee/Tea Break
Session 11. Cell Walls as a Resource for Sustainability / Tradecorp (5 talks)
Chairs Taku Demura y János Urbancsok
Moira Giovannoni - University of L'Aquila
OR2. Exploring the potential of algal-eating saprotrophs in the permeabilization of Chlorella cell walls
Ajaya Biswal - University of Georgia
OR3. Overexpression of Polygalacturonase43 (PG43) leads to increased growth and reduced recalcitrance in Populus
Camille Carton - University of Picardy Jules Verne
OR4. Oligogalacturonides (OGs) production – new prospects for plant disease biocontrol and plant health
Fabienne Guillon - INRAE
OR5. Imaging LPMO action at the tissue level using MALDI MS, deep UV fluorescence and FT-IR microspectroscopy
Charles Anderson - The Pennsylvania State University
OR6. Single-molecule imaging of cellulose degradation reveals mechanisms of biomass recalcitrance
12:15h - 13:30h
Round Table: Innovation and knowledge transfer / JRU CBGP-Tradecorp
Chair: Antonio Molina
Jose Nolasco
Tradecorp (Rovensa Next)
Jeremy Jentis
The Supplant Company
Jenny Mortimer
University of Adelaide
Juan Mannuel Guijosa
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Lunch (Picnic)
Bus (14.00)
Social activities

Thursday 22nd

Session 12. Cellulose / In-memorian of Andrew Staehelin (6 talks)
Chairs: Daniel Cosgrove and Candance Haigler
Nick Carpita
In-memorian of Andrew Staehelin
Nick Carpita - Purdue University
OC1. Amino acids essential for assembly of cellulose synthase complexes
Jochen Zimmer - University of Virginia
OC2. Structure and Function of Primary Cell Wall Homotrimeric Cellulose Synthases
Lise C. Noack - University of Copenhagen
OC3. Phosphoinositides direct cellulose synthesis during secondary cell wall deposition
Weiwei Zhang - Purdue University
OC4. Point mutations in the catalytic domain disrupt cellulose synthase complex (CSC) assembly and trafficking
Alison W. Roberts - University of Rhode Island
OC5. Functional analysis of CSLDs in moss lines lacking CESAs
Michael Ogden - University of Copenhagen
OC6. Do we really understand how cellulose biosynthesis inhibitors work?
10:35h - 11:00h
Coffee/Tea Break
Session 13. Cell Walls From Others / ADAMA (2 talks)
Chairs: Zoë Popper and Hugo Mélida
Eric Nguema-Ona - Agro Innovation International - TIMAC AGRO
OI15. Ulva lactuca arabinogalactan-proteins activate immune responses in plants via elicitor activity
Ahlem Bouguerba-Collin - CNRS Station Biologique de Roscoff
OE2. Characterisation of alginate lyases from brown algae
11:30h - 12:15h
Session 14. Other Cell Wall Components / ADAMA (3 talks)
Chairs: Georg Seifert and Ariel Orellana
Kim Johnson - La Trobe University
OO1. Domain structure of FASCICLIN-LIKE ARABINOGALACTAN PROTEINS regulates their distinct functions
Colin Ruprecht - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
OO2. Kinks and second sugars: Identification of a novel galactosyltransferase involved in glycosylation of Arabinogalactan proteins
Natalie Hoffmann - University of Toronto
OO3. Low substitution xyloglucan disrupts trafficking to the cell wall
12:15h - 13:00h
Business activity
Chairs: Markus Pauly and Antonio Molina
13:00h - 14:45h
Session 15. Plant Cell Wall and Interaction with the Environment (Biotic) / Symborg (5 talks)
Chairs: Giulia de Lorenzo and Aline Voxeur
Luka Lelas - INRAE - IJPB
OI9. Plant inositol-phosphate-glycans and a fucosylated xyloglucan oligosaccharides are accumulated upon Arabidopsis thaliana/ Botrytis cinerea infection
Asier Largo-Gosens - Universidad de Léon
OI10. Pectin methylation changes during Pseudomonas attack: part of the transcriptomic reprogramming in common bean
Alvaro Luis Jimenez - Centre for Research In Agricultural Genomics
OI11. Engineering structural defense responses in tomato for resistance against the bacterial wilt
Vincenzo Lionetti - Sapienza Università di Roma
Giulia De Lorenzo - Sapienza Università di Roma
OI13. The role of cell wall DAMPs in tissue injury: at the crossroad between plant defense and development
Benedetta Mattei - University of L'Aquila, Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences
OI14. Structural insights into the substrate specificity and catalytic activity of plant and fungal oligosaccharide oxidases
16:15h - 17:15h
Coffee/Tea Break/Poster session (Even and Odd numbers)
Session 16. Tools to Study the Plant Cell Wall / IZASA Scientific (5 talks)
Chairs: Staffan Persson and Laura Bacete
Michael Hahn - University of Georgia / Complex Carbohydrate Research Center
OT7. Monoclonal antibody probes directed toward plant cell wall glycans – Forty years of insights into plant cell wall structure and dynamics
Luis Alonso-Baez - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
OT8. Studying the mechanical characteristics of plant cells using Brillouin microscopy
Pavel Krupař - Charles University
OT9. Characterizing the Root Longitudinal Zonation Using a Novel Cell Wall-Bound pH Sensor
Markus Pauly - Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
OT10. The role of AXY9 in the O-acetylation machinery of plant cell wall polysaccharides
Thomas Curry - University of Georgia
OT11. Leveraging Synthetic Biology to Understand Xylan Biosynthesis
18:30h - 19:00h
Poster Awards.
Sponsors FAIR Data Systems / Genomics4All / Neogen-Megazyme / Metrohm
19:00h - 19:20h
Closing Ceremony
Gala dinner and party. Sponsored by Costa del Sol
PARTY (until 3:00 AM)


Bernard Henrissat

Bernard Henrissat is a Novo-Nordisk Foundation Professor in Enzyme Discovery at the Technical University of Denmark since April 2021. He is also Emeritus CNRS Director of Research at the University of Marseille, France, where he headed the Glycogenomics research team and the CAZy database. He has obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1979 and a D.Sc. in Physical Sciences in 1985, both from the University of Grenoble, France. Over the years he has studied all aspects of carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), from mechanistic enzymology to structural biology, from bioinformatics to genomics and metagenomics, from basic science to applications. He is probably best known for having proposed the classification of carbohydrate-active enzymes in sequence-based families in the early 90’s, for having launched the CAZy database ( in 1998, and for its monthly updates since then. Over the last few years Bernard Henrissat has reported and continues reporting numerous novel CAZyme families and CAZyme activities, progressively uncovering the immense CAZyme diversity in the biosphere. His work, which links carbohydrates to genomic and metagenomic science, impacts all fields where complex carbohydrates play a role.

Clara Sánchez Rodríguez

Clara Sánchez-Rodríguez is Assistant Professor of Plant Cell Biology at ETH Zurich since April 2015, and co-chair of the Institute of Molecular Plant Biology (ETHZ) since February 2017. She has a Master in Agronomy from Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she also obtained her PhD on plant resistance to necrotrophic fungi (supervised by A. Molina). During a short visit to Somervilles´ labs, she was fascinated by plant cell walls. Thus, her postdoctoral research focused on the mechanisms of cellulose synthesis in plants (at S. Persson´s group), pioneering the fields of cellulose synthesis regulation by hormones and vesicle trafficking. She is one of the leader discoverers of the TPLATE complex, a clathrin-mediated endocytosis adaptor essential in plants, but not present in animals and yeast. This achievement was honored by the Jeff Schell Award for Plant Scientists. Employing molecular and cell biology methods, her group contributes to understanding the molecular basis of the cell wall role in plant resilience, particularly during the intercellular growth of vascular fungi.


Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Patricia Fernández-Calvo

Chair Research Career Opportunities

Debra Mohnen

Debra Mohnen is Distinguished Research Professor at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on pectin synthesis, structure and function with emphasis on the role of pectin glycan domains in wall architecture and plant cell growth. In 2008 she was awarded the Bruce Stone Award for research in pectin synthesis and elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. Her research on synthesis of the two pectin glycan backbones, homogalacturonan and rhamnogalacturonan, led to the discovery of the GAUT and RGGAT families of glycosyltransferases and the recognition that pectin exits and functions as a family of glycan domains in cell wall heteroglycans and glycoconjugates. Since 2007 part of her research has  been directed at improving plant biomass yield, sustainability and composition for production biofuel and biomaterials. As Focus Area Lead of Plant Biomass Formation and Modification in the DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) she directed a team of researchers aimed at understanding and overcoming biomass recalcitrance to deconstruction and since 2017 she serves as Research Domain Lead for Integrative Analysis and Understanding in the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI).

Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Jesper Harholt

How to be let to do cool science in a company.

I did my masters project at DuPont in Copenhagen, working on pectin structure and analytical tools to investigate methylation. This led me to talk to Henrik Scheller, at that time located in Copenhagen, and I started my PhD with him as the supervisor on the identification of pectin biosynthetic activities. Alongside this work, I finalized a project on xylan modification in wheat. My initial postdoc years were focused on applying learnings from my PhD in crop plants. Besides this, discussions on cell wall evolution started to emerge. Evolution became a full-time project during my stay at JBEI and after I returned to Copenhagen. All the work on plant cell wall evolution was quite successful as well as continuous fruitful collaboration with JBEI, expanding my publication list and ending with an appointment as Associate Professor in Copenhagen.

Then in 2015, being tired of the sluggish management as well as realizing I was spending more and more time on “non-science” stuff, I had a conversation with an old professor about all these hiccups. He proposed that I talked to Birgitte, my current leader, at Carlsberg Research Laboratory. I liked what I saw and heard, and I guess it was reciprocal, as I signed a contract shortly afterwards.

I still publish, collaborate with academic partners, write grant proposals (sigh), and teach and supervise students. But I also talk to my commercial colleagues, start projects that fit into a commercial strategy, solve problems for the business, and get free beers.

My skill T had become a little less deep, but immensely wider.

Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Misato Ohtani

Misato Ohtani is currently an Associate Professor in Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at the University of Tokyo, where she has been since 2019. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Science from the University of Tokyo in 2005. From 2006 to 2013, she studied in RIKEN as a research scientist, and moved to Nara Institute of Science and Technology in 2014 as an assistant professor. Her work in plant cell wall biology targets secondary wall biosynthesis in xylem cells, focusing on the NAC-MYB-based transcriptional regulatory system. She has also investigated the diversity of NAC-MYB-based transcriptional network during the evolution of water-conducting cell in land plants, through the analyses of moss, fern, gymnosperm, and angiosperm plants. Recently her research interest has been expanded to environmental stimuli-derived dynamics of secondary wall formation, which is partly mediated by post-transcriptional regulation of key transcription factors. She is also working on integrating research with other research fields such as polymer chemistry, laser engineering, and materials engineering, to improve the multifaceted utilization of woody biomass for sustainable society.

Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Susana Sáez

Susana Saez is an Assistant Professor at Andres Bello University in Santiago, Chile, where she leads her research group, Mucilab. Her research primarily focuses on exploring the synthesis and structure of Arabidopsis mucilage, which she started during her master’s fellowship. In 2009, she conducted her doctoral thesis at the Jean Pierre-Bourgin Institute, INRAE in France, specifically studying Pectin Methylesterase Inhibitor6 and its impact on Arabidopsis mucilage structure. After completing her doctorate, she joined the laboratory of Professor Ariel Orellana in 2013, where she contributed to research on the transport of UDP-Sugars from the cytosol to the Golgi and its connection to changes in mucilage composition. In 2017, she established her own research line within focusing on the study of Arabidopsis mucilage formation and investigating the cell walls of Chilean endemic fruits. 
Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Francisco Vilaplana

Francisco Vilaplana is a Chemical Engineer from the Polytechnical University of Valencia (UPV) in Spain and holds a double PhD degree in Material Sciences and Polymer Technology from both UPV and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden). After two postdoctoral stays at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland (Australia), he moved back to Sweden in 2011, where he currently develops his research activities both in the academic and private sectors. He is Full Professor and Head of the Division of Glycoscience at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He leads a research group on plant biochemistry and biotechnology, focused on the structural understanding of plant polysaccharides, their molecular structure and supramolecular assembly, and their valorisation into bio-based products for biomaterial and nutritional applications. He is founding Director of KTH FOOD – a multidisciplinary research centre for a sustainable food system. At the same time, since 2022 he is part-time principal scientist at Oatly, where he leads a research program on plant structure and health. He has published over 110 scientific publications and is currently the Chair of the panel “Chemical Engineering, Bioprocess Technology and Environmental Technology” at the Swedish Research Council. He is currently the President of the Association of Spanish Researchers in Sweden (ACES) and the President of the Network of Spanish Researchers Abroad (RAICEX), representing over 4.200 Spanish researchers overseas.

Round Table: Research Career Opportunities

Juan M. Muñoz Guijosa

Juan Manuel is full professor at the UPM Mechanical Engineering Department. He is Associate Vice-Rector for Innovation and Director of the UPM Technology Transfer Office. He has a PhD in Industrial Engineering and an Executive MBA from IESE. His professional experience began as a postdoc at MIT and R&D engineer at Robert Bosch GmbH in Germany. Back at UPM, his teaching and research are focused on obtaining and applying new materials and components in machine engineering. He has been visiting professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Drexel University. He has been director or participant in more than 30 national and international research, technology transfer and scientific culture projects. He is the author of more than 50 articles published in international journals, and 12 national and international patents, 4 of which are in commercial exploitation. He is the founder of two technology-based companies.

Round Table: Innovation and knowledge transfer

Jeremy Jentys

Jeremy holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Imperial College London, that focussed on production of lignocellulosic biofuels. Since leaving academia, he has spent over ten years at CPI, the UK National Industrial Biotechnology scale-up centre, the Technology Transfer Office at University of Bath, multinational speciality chemicals manufacturer Croda, and startups Zuvasyntha and The Supplant Company. The use of renewable resources, such as plant biomass, and environmentally sympathetic bioprocessing technologies has remained a common theme across all his work.

The Supplant Company takes abundant and renewable agricultural side-streams and turns them into healthier and more sustainable replacements for the world’s most pervasive food ingredients, such as sugar and refined flour. At the company, Jeremy oversees a first-class team of scientists whose activities span from early-stage ingredient discovery and process development to scale-up and manufacturing, as well as end product applications. Together they have submitted fourteen filings for protection of intellectual property and the company holds five granted patents in the US and elsewhere.

Chair Innovation and knowledge transfer

Antonio Molina

Antonio Molina is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Department of Biotechnology and Plant Biology of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM). Since February 2016 he is Director of the Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP), a joint research centre between the UPM and the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA/CSIC) ( The CBGP has been awarded as Center of Excellence “Severo Ochoa” by the Spanish Research Agency (2017-2024; The research activity of the group of Dr. Molina at the CBGP focuses on the study of Plant Immunity and its applications to crop protection (, and in particular on the contribution of cell wall to immune response activation and disease resistance. Dr. Molina is a recognised expert in the area of plant resistance to necrothrophíc fungi. He has developed an intense activity of innovation and technology transfer in collaboration with national and international companies, that resulted in several Patents exclusively licensed to companies and in the commercialization of a cell-wall based agrobiological product. Dr. Molina is the co-founder of PlantResponse Biotech (, a UPM spin-off enterprise that was acquired recently by Mosaic Company (USA). Dr. Molina is also co-founder of the UPM start-up enterprise FAIR Data Systems ( and is leading the new genomics UPM start-up enterprise Genomics4All (

Round Table: Innovation and knowledge transfer

Jenny Mortimer

Jenny Mortimer is Associate Professor of Plant Synthetic Biology at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is also an Affiliate Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, and a Director of Plant Systems Biology at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, USA. After completing her PhD at Cambridge University, UK, she began exploring how engineering the plant cell wall could deliver sustainable and economically viable biofuels: first as a postdoc in Cambridge, then as a research fellow at RIKEN Japan, before joining Berkeley Lab in 2014, and Adelaide in 2021.
At Adelaide, her group is using synthetic biology to develop new crops for food and materials production in controlled growth environments – including for Space settlement – as part of the newly formed ARC Centre of Excellence Plants for Space (P4S), and applying new agricultural biotechnologies to develop resilient field crops. In the US, her group works to reengineer the plant cell wall for the sustainable production of fuels and biochemicals from biomass, and to enhance plant-microbiome interactions for sustainable biomass crop production. She was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist (2016/17), is a handling editor for Plant Cell Physiology and Plant Cell Reports, and holds one issued patent.
Round Table: Innovation and knowledge transfer

Jose Nolasco

José Nolasco is Agronomical Engineer from Polytechnical University of Madrid (Spain) and has Master degree in Business and Marketing management from ESIC, Business and Marketing School (Spain).

José has more than 25 years of experience in different international companies in agronomy, with emphasis on fertilizer, biostimulant and crop nutrition. He currently works as Head of R&D Bionutrition in Rovensa Next with global responsibilities in product development, research, and knowledge management.

He is University Professor in the Polytechnical University of Madrid, Agricultural Production Department teaching different topics related to crop nutrition and crop management.

Member of the Steering Committee of Joint Research Unit “Biological Solution for Sustainable Agriculture” in the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics, UPM-INIA.

Member of the Board of European Biostimulant Industry Council (EBIC) as Director at-Large.