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​​​​​​​​​Plant Health 2021 Online Speakers

​​F​our distinguished scientists will present Plant Health 2021's keynote and plenary sessions, each embodying the meeting's theme, “Seismic shifts in disease risk." The talks will feature many stories of shifting pathogen risk from the realms of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.


Monday Keynote & Plenary Session​​​​s

​​​August 2, 2021

Keynote ​Speaker: Sheng-Yang He

Talk Title: Plant-pathogen warfare under changing climate conditions

Bio: ​Dr. Sheng-Yang He is a Professor at Duke University and an Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His lab uses the plant-Pseudomonas syringae pathosystems to discover some of the basic principles that govern bacterial pathogenesis and disease susceptibility in plants. Results from his lab have led to original insights into important cellular processes governing plant-microbe interactions, including plant immunity, bacterial virulence, jasmonate signaling, and stomatal defense. Recent research in his lab begins to shed light on how climate conditions influence disease development and how plants control microbiota homeostasis for health. Dr. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Zhejiang (Agricultural) University, China, and a PhD degree from Cornell University, USA. He is a Thomson​​ Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, a Past-President of the International Society of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences.​

Sheng-Yang He

Plenary Speaker: Marin T. Brewer

Marin Brewer

Talk Title: Does agricultural use of triazole fungicides contribute to antifungal resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus in humans?

Bio: Dr. Marin Talbot Brewer is an Associate Professor of Mycology and Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia w​here she has been a faculty member since 2011. Her research focuses on the evolution and diversity of fungal threats to plants and people with interests in the genetic basis of disease emergence and host specialization, the evolution of fungicide resistance and fungal mating systems, and the taxonomy and systematics of fungi causing emerging plant diseases. She received her MS in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Science from the University of Maine where she studied the effects of biological and cultural controls on soil microbial ecology and Rhizoctonia disease of potato, and her PhD in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology from Cornell University in 2011, where her dissertation focused on the phylogeography and mating system of the grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator. Recent work in the Brewer lab is concentrated on azole resistance in the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus in environmental settings. Her research has been funded by diverse agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Tuesday Keynote & Plenary Sessions

​​​August 3, 2021​

Keynote Speaker: Honour C. McCann

Talk Title: Emergence and evolution of agricultural plant pathogens

Bio: Dr. Honour McCann leads the Max Planck Research Group for Plant Pathogen Evolution in Tübingen, Germany. She began her academic career at the​​​ University of Toronto, Canada working with David Guttman developing a screen for the identification of bacterial elicitors of innate immunity. A collaborative research visit led to a postdoctoral fellowship with Paul Rainey in New Zealand, where she worked on the population genomics of an emerging crop pathogen. She then moved to Germany to start a Max Planck Research Group in Tübingen. The focus of the group is on the evolutionary and population genomics of bacterial plant pathogens, host-pathogen coevolutionary arms races and disease emergence on agricultural crops.

Honour C. McCann

Plenary Speaker: Liying Sun

Liying Sun

Talk Title: Cross-kingdom virus infection: mycoviruses pave the way for spread into multiple fungal hosts

Bio: Dr. Liying Sun is currently a professor at Northwest A&F University, China and a cross-appointed professor at Okayama University, Japan. She received her PhD from the School of Nature Sciences, Okayama University, Japan, and her BSc from the College of Plant Protection, China Agricultural University. In addition to her current positions, Liying also has experience as a Senior Scientist at Okayama University, and an Associate Professor at Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Her research interests include studies of virus-host interactions and virus–vector interactions. Liying’s current work is on insect/fungal transmitted viruses such as rice black streaked dwarf virus and wheat yellow mosaic virus. In addition, her team is working to devise new molecular diagnostic methods for detection of viruses that infect fruit trees. Recently, Liying has been involved in a new project to investigate cross-kingdom virus infections using insect, plant and fungal viruses.