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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

International Advisory Board - Biographical Descriptions

Below are longer biographical sketches of each current board member. Please see the main International Advisory Board page for an overview.


Backgrounds of the International Advisory Board members

portrait: Guillermo Alvarado-Downing

Guillermo Alvarado-Downing
Guillermo Alvarado-Downing served as the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras during the post-Hurricane Mitch recovery period (1999-2002), and is currently the owner of a small fruit and vegetables farm in Comayagua, Honduras. Currently he is also the Central American Advisor for Market Development Initiatives for GOAL Global. He served more than 5 years as the executive director of the Regional Animal and Plant Health Organization for Central America, Mexico and Dominican Republic (OIRSA), and when Minister of Agriculture served as Vice-President of the Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Over the course of his career, he served as an agricultural and rural development professional in several capacities: recently with the project for development of fruit industries in Central America and Dominican Republic (PROMEFRUT II-INCAP), previously with Banco Central de Honduras (BCH), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), and the Millennium Challenge Account in Honduras as Project Director. He worked for USAID/Honduras on several projects related to policy, rural development, private sector development, and food aid management. He also served as advisor or member to several private sector organizations: the Honduran Federation of Ag Exporters (FPX), Honduran National Association of Industry (ANDI), and the Honduran and Central American associations of poultry producers (ANAVIH and FEDAVICAC). He is a graduate of the Pan-American Agricultural School, Zamorano, and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida in Agriculture and Food & Resource Economics.

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portrait: John Bowman, USAID

John Bowman, Ph.D.
John Bowman is a senior agriculture advisor for the USAID Bureau for Food Security and as such serves as the AOR for the Horticulture Innovation Lab. He is also program leader for the Safe and Nutritious Foods Program Area. He has more than 35 years of experience working in international agriculture, between research programs, private companies, and government agencies. He worked for the international development company DAI for over 15 years, as a chief of party, consultant, and specialist focused most often on agribusiness, food safety standards, quarantine pests, and zoonotic diseases. He has also previously worked on potato supply chain design and management for Universal Robina Corporation (Philippines/China/Thailand), Technico Pty Ltd. (China) and PepsiCo (EU and Latin America). He worked as a senior research fellow with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and also as a postdoctoral fellow with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Bowman holds a doctoral degree in plant pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, master’s degrees in plant pathology and Ibero-American studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and Spanish literature from Bowdoin College.

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photo: Cecilia Chi-Ham

Cecilia Chi-Ham, Ph.D.
Dr. Cecilia Chi-Ham manages the global strategy process for the R&D portfolio at HM.CLAUSE, a vegetable seed company and business unit of Limagrain Group. She also leads the company’s intellectual property program and oversees the UC Davis HM.CLAUSE Life Sciences Innovation Center, a business incubator for entrepreneurs. Prior to joining HM.Clause, she spent over 11 years at UC Davis developing international initiatives, such as the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), Seed Central and UC Davis Chile, focused on transfer and commercialization of public-sector based agricultural technologies for humanitarian and commercial purposes. Her scientific research and publications span topics in agricultural biotechnology, regulatory and intellectual property analyses. She holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and biochemistry and specialized in plant biology during her post-doctoral research at Michigan State University and UC Davis. She is a Patent Agent registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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Jan Hopmans portrait

Jan Hopmans, Ph.D.
Jan Hopmans is an associate dean for the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and as such, leads the CA&ES International Programs Office. He is a professor of hydrology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, where he has also served as department chair. He currently also serves as the interim director of the UC Davis World Food Center. He has previously served as the associate vice provost for the UC Davis Office of Global Affairs. Hopmans holds a doctoral degree from Auburn University in soil physics. His master's degree in hydrology/hydraulics and bachelor's degree in land and water use are from Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands.

He is an ex-oficio member of the Horticulture Innovation Lab's International Advisory Board.

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Poon Kasemsap portrait

Poonpipope Kasemsap, Ph.D.
Poonpipope Kasemsap is the acting Vice President for Kamphaeng Saen Campus at Kasetsart University in Thailand. He is also the director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Center at Kasetsart University. Associate Professor of Crop Eco-Physiology, Chair of the Horticulture Department, and Director of the International Studies Center at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand. He is the chair of the International Biology Olympiad (2008-12) and has been the National Coordinator of ThaiFlux Network since 2007. His research and teaching focuses on the effects of climate changes and air pollutants on the eco-physiology of horticultural crops and on the physiology of horticultural crop production. He previously served on the Horticulture Innovation Lab's International Advisory Board from 2009 to 2013.

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portrait: Rose Koenig

Rose Koenig, Ph.D.
Rose Koenig is the interim director for the Global office for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS Global) and a lecturer at the University of Florida. She has previously served as a co-director of the university’s Center for Organic Agriculture and also operated a 17-acre organic farm with one of the state’s first Community Supported Agriculture programs. Previously, she worked with the Rodale Institute in Africa. Koenig holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis, and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Florida. She conducted her doctoral research on the fungus that causes Panama's Disease in Honduras. 

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portrait: Eric Kueneman

Eric Kueneman, Ph.D.
Eric Kueneman is a global agriculture consultant with experience in more than 60 countries worldwide as the director of Kueneman Consultancy. In 2010, he retired from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, as the Deputy Division Director of the Crop Production and Protection Division. This included programmatic oversight for FAO's support to member governments on horticulture production, protection and associated value chain development. He was also the global task manager for the UN's initiative on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. As a consultant, he has worked with a number of global organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Global Development Initiative, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Kueneman worked in Rome for 22 years, as well as 2 years in Haiti, 2 years in Colombia, 2 years in Brazil, and 6 years in Nigeria. He holds a Ph.D. in plant breeding from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in botany and plant biology from the University of Idaho.

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portrait: Josette Lewis

Josette Lewis, Ph.D.
Josette Lewis is associate vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund, where she focuses on ecosystems and sustainable agriculture. She previously served as the associate director of the UC Davis World Food Center. She also worked with Arcadia Biosciences as the Director of Agricultural Development, to expand the company’s licensing and partnerships particularly in developing countries. Prior to joining Arcadia, Dr. Lewis spent 16 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Agriculture, where she played a leadership role in the development of the Administration’s global initiative on food security; development of a new strategy for agricultural research, and initiated numerous new partnerships with universities, agricultural companies, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and developing countries.

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portrait: Julio Lopez, Zamorano

Julio López Montes
Julio López is a plant protection specialist and leads classes in integrated pest management and entomology as a professor at the Panamerican Agricultural School, Zamorano, in Honduras. He is also the director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Center at Zamorano. Professor López has mentored students and participated in several courses on IPM in vegetables, fruits and grains crops at Zamorano, Nicaraguan and Honduras agricultural universities. He also does extension of information in IPM, farmer field school methodology and alternative technologies for pest control for producers, handlers and consumers. He had been involved in several scientific publications in IPM, vegetable crop production, and pest management for farmers. He is a member of the IPM Network for Central America, the Pest Plant Protection Network of Nicaragua and member of the National IPM Committee of Nicaragua.

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portrait Robert Paull

Robert Paull, Ph.D.
Robert Paull has been a Professor and Researcher in Plant Biology since 1985 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Prior to receiving a PhD in plant physiology at UC Berkeley, Paull was a field agronomist in Australia doing cotton production research. He has served as a consultant to commercial companies, as well as national and international horticulture programs. His international experience includes Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, East Timor, Jamaica, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Vietnam and West Bank. Paull’s area of research is in postharvest handling and storage of tropical fruits, vegetables and ornamentals, especially the impact the of preharvest and postharvest factors on commodity quality. Current research involves changes in the gene expression of plant growth regulators and cell wall enzymes during abscission and fruit ripening. He has co-authored four books and co-edited an additional five, including the Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers and extension publications. Paull serves as an associated editor on two journals.

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portrait: Detlef Virchow

Detlef Virchow, Ph.D.
Detlef Virchow is head of programming at Plan International Germany in Hamburg. He previously served as the executive secretary of the Global Horticulture Initiative (GlobalHort). He has worked as project coordinator for the Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI) at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn and for the BiomassWeb project, also at ZEF Bonn. He holds a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany. Virchow has formerly worked as the executive manager of the Food Security Center at the University of Hohenheim in Germany and director for the AVRDC Regional Center for Africa in Tanzania. His interdisciplinary research has included a variety of food security-related topics, including nutrition-sensitive agriculture, African indigenous vegetables and crop diversity.

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George Wilson, NCSU

L. George Wilson, Ph.D.
George Wilson has been a professor of horticultural science at North Carolina State University since 1975. His research, teaching and extension focuses on postharvest physiology and technology. He was the senior advisor for university relations and agriculture research, training and outreach, and Chief of Party of the Peru Mission for USAID. He has also lived in Honduras where he was a research physiologist for nine years for the Division of Tropical Research of United Fruit Company (Chiquita International). He is a former president and current fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science. George is active in the International Society for Horticultural Science and numerous other scientific, technical and honorary societies. He represents NC State University as a Horticulture Innovation Lab partner institution and served as an original member of the Horticulture CRSP Program Council.

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photo: Shanthi Wilson

R. Shanthi Wilson Wijeratnam, Ph.D.
Shanthi Wilson is a consultant and project manager for the Industrial Technology Institute in Sri Lanka, on a project focused on "Enhancing the Preservation of Fruits Using Nano Technology," with funds from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). In 1993, Wilson established the first postharvest technology laboratory to service the fresh fruit and vegetable industry at the Industrial Technology Institute in Sri Lanka. Her research has focused on postharvest physiological and pathological problems for fresh produce industries in Sri Lanka, including protocol for air freight and sea shipments of products such as banana, pineapple, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, papaya and rambutan. Wilson also owns a number of patents on oil and wax formulations to extend freshness for tropical fruits. She has also previously served as a partner on a Horticulture Innovation Lab project focused on developing a postharvest alternative to fungicide in Sri Lanka. Wilson holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology and post-harvest biology from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor's of science in microbiology from University College London.

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Marco Wopereis, AVRDC

Marco Wopereis, Ph.D.
Marco Wopereis is director general of the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) and is based in Taiwan. The World Vegetable Center conducts research and training to raise awareness of the role of vegetables for improved health and global poverty alleviation. Wopereis is an agronomist with expertise in agricultural science and management. He previously served as deputy director general of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in Benin. He has also worked for the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in France, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Togo, the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA, now AfricaRice) in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. He holds a doctorate in tropical agronomy, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in soil science, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

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