Keynote Speakers

The Organising Committee is pleased to announce the following confirmed keynote speaker:

Dorothy Mukhebi

 Dorothy serves as Deputy Director providing the strategic leadership necessary to achieving AWARD’s mission of building a more gender responsive agricultural innovation system. She has 38 years’ experience working with African agricultural networks.  Before AWARD, she worked as Coordinator of the Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN) of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). She started her career as a Planning Officer with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, and later served for 10 years as a Program Manager with the African, Caribbean and Pacific / European Union (ACP/EU) Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), based in Wageningen, the Netherlands. She has also previously worked with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi, Kenya. Dorothy holds a masters in Information Sciences from Loughborough University of Technology, U.K., and a bachelors in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, photography and jogging.


Murad Ghanim

 Dr. Murad Ghanim is a senior scientist at the Volcani Center in Israel and adjunct professor of Entomology in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem focusing his research on the molecular interactions between whiteflies and begomoviruses. He completed a three-year postdoc at Yale University School of Medicine in the USA, and focused his research during this period on Drosophila melanogaster genomics and early embryonic development, after which he joined the Department of Entomology of the Volcani Center in Israel. His research focuses now on the interactions between insect vectors of plant pathogens including whiteflies and psyllids with plant pathogenic viruses and bacteria, and factors inside insect vectors that influence pathogen transmission, such as insect proteins and endosymbiotic bacteria. He has published more than 110 ISI papers in peer‐reviewed journals.




Renate Krause Sakate

  Dr. Renate Krause Sakate is adjunct professor of Plant Viruses at São Paulo State University (Unesp), School of Agriculture in Botucatu, Brazil. She graduated in the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil with a doctorate sandwich period at INRA, Bordeaux, France focusing her research on plant viruses. Her research focuses now on Bemisia tabaci diversity in Brazil and interaction of B. tabaci cryptic species with different plant virus including begomovirus, carlavirus and crinivirus.




Navneet Kaur

  Dr. Navneet Kaur is an Indian born US Scientist pursuing research in genomics of the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. Dr. Kaur moved to the US in 2004 after finishing her Master’s degree at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, India.  She received a PhD in molecular biology and biotechnology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2009.  She has been studying whitefly genomics for the past four years with the USDA-ARS in Salinas, CA.  Dr. Kaur is curious to understand the influence of plant viruses on the whitefly vectors that transmit them, particularly with the semipersistently transmitted Criniviruses that inflicts serious damage to agriculture crops worldwide, such as tomato and melon.  In addition to implementing high-throughput genomics techniques to study vector – virus interactions, Dr. Kaur is also developing RNAi-based strategies for sustainable control of whitefly in food crops. 



Everlyne Wosula

 Dr. Everlyne Wosula is a Vector Entomologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Eastern Africa Hub, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She joined IITA in 2015 and her research work is focused on cassava-colonizing Bemisia tabaci whiteflies, vectors of viruses that cause devastating cassava mosaic and brown streak diseases in Africa. She is involved in molecular characterisation, studying the feeding behaviour and virus transmission characteristics, and exploring novel techniques for management of the whiteflies. Prior to joining IITA, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (2013 – 2015) in the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research work focused on understanding vector dynamics and virus epidemiology of wheat curl mite-transmitted viruses in wheat. She got a PhD in Plant Pathology (2012) from Louisiana State University. Her dissertation research was on the dynamics of sweet potato viruses and their aphid vectors.


Manisha Mishra

 Dr. Manisha Mishra is an INSPIRE scientist at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, India. She graduated in the year 2016 from the CSIR- National Botanical Research Institute in biological sciences focusing her research on effective control of Bemisia tabaci via strategically identified biomolecules. Her current research interests include the exploration of the molecular mechanism of novel anti-whitefly proteins and impact of transgenic cotton expressing these proteins on whitefly and associated viral diseases. Dr. Mishra is also keen to demonstrate the successful control of whiteflies through RNA interference using unique and Bemisia specific targets. She has published more than 15 ISI papers in peer‐reviewed journals with more than 80 impact factor.


Peter Sseruwagi

 Dr. Peter Sseruwagi is a Vector Entomologist, with a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa he obtained in 2005. He is currently working in the Department of Biotechnology, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute (MARI), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as the Technical Assistant Coordinator for the ‘Disease diagnostics for sustainable cassava productivity in Africa’ project, which aims to build human and infrastructural capacities of seven African NARS in east, central and southern Africa to monitor, diagnose and control whiteflies and whitefly-transmitted viruses (WTV) on cassava. He joined MARI in 2011 as a Senior Investigator/Postdoctoral Researcher on a Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) Project coordinated by North Carolina State University (NCSU) to investigate the transmission of Sequences enhancing geminivirus symptoms (SEGS) by cassava whiteflies. Prior to that, he worked as Senior Scientist (Plant Virology/Entomology) and Head of Horticulture Research Programme at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Uganda, and as Consultant and Research Associate in the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture-Uganda (IITA-Uganda). His main research goal is to understand and control whitefly and WTV viruses on cassava, sweetpotato and vegetable crops in sub-Saharan Africa, and he has 24 years’ research experience in: whitefly biology, ecology, vector-virus-plant interactions, molecular characterization, pest and disease crop resistance assessment, field epidemiology, surveillance methodology and IPM. He is a reviewer for 15 leading science journals and has authored over 36 ISI scientific papers in peer‐reviewed journals, and at least 52 conference presentations. He has wide collaboration within Africa and internationally.