Presentation of the invited speakers at the 19th EWRS Symposium

EWRS presents the invited speakers to the 19th Symposium in Athens from 20th to 23rd June 2022

1) Dr. Eric Patterson, PhD, from MSU

Short CV

Dr. Eric Patterson is an assistant professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences. He obtained his PhD in Bioagricultural Sciences at Colorado State University studying the genome of the tumbleweed species Kochia scoparia and the mechanisms of glyphosate resistance in this species. He currently teaches: Weed Science, Herbicide Mode of Action, Resistance Evolution, and R for Geneticists. His research interests are threefold: 1) Developing genomics resources for weed species, 2) Identifying the genes responsible for various weedy traits, including herbicide resistance, and 3) Weed diagnostics for rapid identification of species and resistance.  He serves on the strategy board for the International Weed Genomics Consortium and is in charge of facilitating de novo genomes annotation and weed genome data base development. 

The International Weed Genomics Consortium (IWGC) was formed in 2021 with the mission to sequence, assemble, and annotate reference genomes for the most globally problematic weeds. It is a multi-institutional collaboration between four industry partners (BASF, Bayer, Corteva, and Syngenta), the US government (FFAR), and academic researchers from dozens of universities around the world. Initially, the IWGC planned on 10 species, however this mission has greatly expanded and now encompasses more than forty species with more being added as researchers learn of the IWGCs mission. The IWGC also offers training and educational opportunities to contributing members in utilizing IWGC resources as well as working with plant genomes in general.  We are currently working on developing more of these resources and hope to make them freely available to any who are interested.  We have recently finished several of our prioritized de novo genomes. We are particularly proud of the genomes for two hexaploids: Chenopodium album and Conyza sumetrensis, as well as the very large genome of Avena Fatua.  We have also developed novel annotation pipelines that give the most up-to-date functional genetic information possible. In this talk I will walk through the history of weed genomics, the structure and mission of the IWGC, recent success stories from the IWGC, and present some examples of how these new genomes can be utilized to answer basic and applied questions in weed science.


2) Dr. Gael Le Goupil, Global Technical Manager, Syngenta

Short CV

I hold an Engineer degree in Agronomy, Horticulture and Landscaping specializing in Crop Protection. I started my career in Syngenta France 22 years ago after attending a very inspirational weed science conference. I’ve held multiple positions in R&D and marketing but my principal role has been Technical Support Manager in charge of the Cereal herbicide portfolio and in particular the technical positioning and market introduction of pinoxaden. At that time, herbicide resistance management was already a key component of my job, especially resistance to ACCase and ALS inhibitors in grass weeds. In 2009, I relocated to the global headquarters in Basel (Switzerland) and took the role of Global Technical Manager Weed Control. I have been involved in different product development projects for various crops and many geographies. I’m also responsible for Weed Resistance Management and Sustainable Weed Control Strategies. I have been representing Syngenta in Global HRAC for many years and joined the Executive Committee as Communication Officer in 2020. I am supporting the Global HRAC team and their cooperative activities to protect crop yields and quality by supporting efforts in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds all around the world. I have a great passion for agriculture and I am very proud to contribute within the Ag Industry and Weed Science Community to the research and development of sustainable weed control solutions for farmers.


Weed control has become increasingly problematic due to the evolution of resistance to herbicides. The ambition of the Global Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC) is to support farmers protect crop yields and quality by sustainably fighting against herbicide-resistant weeds. Our mission is to provide comprehensive information about weed resistance and best control practices to regional and local weed science practitioners.

Here, I will exemplify the current challenge of farmers when it comes to controlling weeds. It all starts with the ever-increasing spread of herbicide resistant weed populations worldwide. In trying to manage resistance, farmers intensify herbicide use while, at the same time, their herbicide options decrease. This has led to a series of downstream consequences that only serve to exacerbate the problem of weed resistance in a never-ending cycle of cause and effect. In addition, there are other external factors that increase the challenges faced by farmers. These include climate change, innovation decline and increasing societal and environmental pressure. More than ever, it is critical to sustain the usefulness of current and future herbicides, to secure food production and farmers profitability, by implementing good agricultural practices


3) Prof. Antonis Zampelas, University of Athens, Greece. Chair of the Hellenic Food Authority

Short CV

Professor Antonis Zampelas is President of the Management Board of the Hellenic Food Authority, Professor in Human Nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece and Honorary Professor in the Division of Medical Sciences, University College London Greece.

He obtained his BSc in Food Science and Technology from the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, his MSc degree in Food Science from the University of Reading, UK and his PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Surrey, UK.

He worked as Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, Senior Scientific Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, UK, Assistant Professor at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Harokopio University, Athens, and Professor at the Nutrition and Health Department, UAEU.

He has been involved in numerous trials and projects related to the effects of diet on parameters influencing the development of cardiovascular diseases. He is the Principal Investigator of the Hellenic Nutrition and Health Examination Survey and of the GRECO Study.

Professor Zampelas co-authored 20 text-book chapters and contributed to 170 peer reviewed publications in international scientific journals.


Title: Food safety including pesticide residues in the broader perspective of public health

Topics of the presentation: Examining food safety in terms of sustainability, developments in risk assessment, future strategic goals and new policy targets as the EU Green Deal.