The UNIDO e-Biosafety Training Platform
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The Contributors of Course Material:
The UNIDO e-Biosafety Training Programme has been developed
by an international group of eminent scientists and biosafety professionals:

Claudia Paoletti (Italy)
Stela Arnold (Brazil)
Moises Burachick (Argentina)
Howard Davis (UK)
Sofie Goormachtig (Belgium)

Jonathan Gressel (Israel)
Roger Hull (United Kingdom)
Elizabeth Hodson (Colombia)
Marcelle Holsters (Belgium)
Dirk Iserentant (Belgium)
Gijs Kleter (The Netherlands)
Harry Kuiper (The Netherlands)
Marc De Loose (Belgium)
Piet van der Meer (Belgium)
Kathy Messens (Belgium)
Bruno Mezzetti (Italy)
Dulce de Oliveira (Brazil)
Patrick Rudelsheim (Belgium)
Jeremy Sweet (UK)


Course Coordinator: George Tzotzos (Austria)


Stela Arnold (Brazil)
Expertise:
Long distance education

Current Affiliation:
General coordinator of the academic-pedagogical area of PUC Minas Virtual, a long distance education unit of The Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Research Area:
Prof. Stela Arnold is responsible for planning, developing, and evaluating long distance undergraduate and post-graduate courses at the university. She holds a MA in Literature from Columbia University, New York and is an expert in American Literature from São Paulo State University (USP) , Brazil. Stela Arnold is the former Vice-Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Languages and Literature at The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. Prof. Arnold is consultant to the Office of Education of Minas Gerais State.


Moises Burachick (Argentina)
Expertise:
  • Agriculture
  • Biotechnologies
  • Food sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Risk Assessment and Risk Management
  • Environmental impact assessment

Current Affiliation:
  • Professor of Biotechnology, Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Executive Secretary, National Advisory Commission on Agricultural Biotechnology (CONABIA), Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • General Coordinator, Biotechnology Office, Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGPyA), Ministry for Economics and Production, Argentina

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Moises Burachik has a PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires and is a Professor of Biotechnology at the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the above-mentioned University. Dr. Burachik is a Senior Scientist for the CONABIA and Head Coordinator of the Biotechnology Bureau of the Secretary of Agriculture (SAGPyA). He is an expert in Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms and also a member of the Advisory Committee for Food and Feed Safety of GMOs at SENASA.


Howard Davis (UK)
Expertise:

Current Affiliation:


Research Area:

Prof. Howard Davies is Director of Science at The Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, UK, which specialises in plant and environmental sciences including the use of transgenic biology to assess gene function. He also co-ordinates the Scottish Governments Research Programme on Sustainable and Profitable Agriculture-Plants.
He has a long history of research in molecular physiology and the use of transgenic plants to understand the regulation of metabolism and development.
Prof. Davies has been been a member of the EU Scientific Committee on plant carrying out risk assessments of GMO for the European Commission. Followimg the transfer of this function to EFSA as an independent body he has served on their GMO risk assessment panel for six years and has been re appointed for a further three year term from July 2009. Within EFSA he is also a member of the molecular characterisation group. Prof. Davies has published more than 160 research papers and contributed widely to the GMO debate at international conferences and with a range of potential stakeholders. In recent years he has been assessing the potential role of broad scale analytical profiling approaches such as transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics in risk assessment scenarios.



Sofie Goormachtig (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Plant-Microbe Interaction
  • Research on nodule formation in the model legume Medicago truncatulaSesabania rostrata. and the watertolerant tropical legume

Current Affiliation:
Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Ghent University, Zwijnaarde, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Sofie Goormachtig obtained her PhD in Biotechnology in 1997. After a post-doctoral stay at the ETH in Zürich (Prof. I. Potrykus), she became a post-doctoral fellow of the National Fund of Scientific Research (Belgium) at the laboratory of Molecular Genetics (Ghent University, Belgium). Since September 2005, she is a Professor at Ghent University. Together with Prof. M. Holsters, she is heading a research team that investigates the signalling events that control the early steps of the nodule formation, especially during water tolerant nodulation as well as the mechanisms by which nodule senescence is regulated.


Jonathan Gressel (Israel)

Expertise:
Plant Biotechnology

Current Affiliation:
Emeritus Professor of Plant Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Jonathan Gressel received his university training in plant physiology at Ohio State University (B.Sc.) and the University of Wisconsin (M.Sc., Ph.D.), USA. He has been on the staff of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel since then, except for sabbatical leaves at Purdue, Australian National University, USDA Bio Research Labs Fargo, in England, and at Iowa State, USA. He is presently continuing active research, teaching and writing as an emeritus Professor of Plant Sciences, after retiring from his endowed chair. He is a pioneer researcher in dealing with metabolic controls, especially by anti-metabolites and pesticides, and has shown how secondary metabolite pathways can be changed by such compounds to have plants produce desirable products, or to die, or to kill attached weeds, either directly or via biocontrol agents. This includes collaborations in dealing with parasitic weeds, especially in Africa. He has been conducting research in areas of transgenic biosafety, especially developing methods for preventing transgene movement from crops or biocontrol agents, and its mitigation. He is on the editorial board of four journals in plant sciences and is active in international organizations and collaborations in plant sciences. He is the author of over 275 scientific papers and book chapters and author, co-author, or editor of books dealing with these issues. Prof. Gressel’s latest edited books are entitled Crop Ferality and Volunteerism (2005), Novel Biotechnologies for Biocontrol Agent Enhancement and Management (2007), Integrating New Technologies for Striga Control: Ending the Witch-hunt (2007) and his single authored books are Molecular Biology of Weed Control (2002) and Genetic Glass Ceilings - Transgenics for Crop Biodiversity (2007).



Elizabeth Hodson (Colombia)

Expertise:
  • Research and teaching in plant biotechnology
  • Development of biosafety systems
  • Risk evaluation of GMOs
  • Planning, management/implementation of research projects in plant biotechnology/biosafety and biodiversity in general
Current Affiliation:
Titular Professor, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Hodson's research interests cover Plant Genetic Manipulation (or genetic transformation, as you prefer), capacity building in biosafety, risk analysis.


Marcelle Holsters (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Plant-Microbe Interaction, Plant Transformation
  • Bacterial genetics
  • Research on Sesabania rostrata and Medicago truncatula nodule formation and nitrogen fixation

Current Affiliation:
Full Professor (Molecular Genetics) at Ghent University, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Marcelle Holsters obtained a PhD in Zoology in 1976. Subsequently she became a research assistant, research associate and director of the National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium) at the Laboratory of Genetics (Ghent University, Belgium). Since 1997 she holds a position as Full Professor (Molecular Genetics) at Ghent University. She is heading a research team that investigates the signaling of nodule formation and nodule functioning and senescence in Medicago truncatula and Sesbania rostrata and the molecular mechanism of the phytopathogen Rhodococcus fascians.


Roger Hull (United Kingdom)
Expertise:
  • Plant molecular biology
  • Plant virology
  • Tropical crops

Current Affiliation:
Emeritus Fellow, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Roger is Emeritus Fellow, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK. His career focussed on the study of plant viruses, initially on their epidemiology and then mainly on their characterisation, molecular biology and molecular approaches to conferring resistance in crop plants which was coupled with the assessment of possible risks accruing from the field release of such plants. One of his main thrusts is the application of the results and techniques from modern approaches to plant virology to disease problems in developing countries. He has more than 250 scientific publications and has written two text books on plant viruses; he is a co-author of a book on risk assessment and management of GM plant releases.
On his retirement in 1997 he was awarded an Emeritus Fellowship at the John Innes Centre and has became involved in the full application of GM technology to developing countries especially as how the basic problems could be overcome. He has been on the international faculty of the UNIDO biosafety course since its inception.



Dirk Iserentant (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • Industrial Application of Biotechnology (fermentation)
  • Research and development management
  • Biosafety regulations
  • Intellectual Property
  • Invention analysis

Current Affiliation:
Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Zwijnaarde, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Dirk Iserentant obtained his PhD in chemistry, molecular biology at Ghent University. Dirk Iserentant has joined the Interbrew Group (Artois Breweries) where he headed during ten years the Biotechnology Department in charge of industrial biotechnological research with focus on yeast genetics and fermentation. Afterwards he became Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven at the Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology and Biochemistry with specialization in the area of Microbial Process Engineering and Fermentation Processing of Foods. In the mean time Prof. Iserentant became affiliated at the Headquarters of Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) in the field of intellectual property rights as an invention analyst. Since 2001 he is also Guest Professor at Ghent University to teach on GMO directives and IP Regulations.



Gijs Kleter (The Netherlands)
Expertise:
Safety of genetically modified organisms for food and feed use

Current Affiliation:
  • RIKILT - Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • Member, Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

Research Area:
Dr. ir. Gijs A. Kleter is with the Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), which is part of Wageningen University and Research Center in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Dr. Kleter is member of a team that advises regulatory authorities on the safety of genetically modified foods and animal feed and that contributes to international consensus and discussions on regulatory safety assessments. Dr. Kleter is a member of the European Food Safety Authority’s GMO Panel and has participated in activities of, for example, OECD, UNIDO, and the ILSI Task Force on the nutritional and safety assessment of nutritionally improved transgenic crops. He also leads an IUPAC-sponsored project on changes in pesticide use in transgenic crops and their impact on pesticide residues in these crops. In addition, Dr. Kleter and his colleagues have authored various peer-reviewed and other publications on regulations and safety of biotechnology-derived products.


Harry Kuiper (The Netherlands)
Expertise:
  • Safety assessment of residues of agrochemicals in food, of health protecting compounds and of genetically modified foods
  • Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods

Current Affiliation:
Chair, Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

Research Area:
Dr. Harry A. Kuiper is Chair of the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) since 2003, and is member of the EFSA Scientific Committee.
Dr. Kuiper looks back on an impressive academic career at the Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands, where he was involved in safety assessment of residues of agrochemicals in food, of health protecting compounds and of genetically modified foods until his retirement. He served as member of numerous international expert bodies and networks in food & feed biosafety such as the EU Scientific Committee on Plants (1997-2003), the European Network on Safety Assessment of Transgenic Foods (ENTRANSFOOD) (2000-2004), the OECD Task Force on the Safety of Genetically Modified Foods, the Italian Advisory Committee on Biotechnology in Agriculture (1999-2002) as well as the FAO/WHO Expert Consultations on the Safety of Genetically Modified Foods (1996), on Foods Derived from Biotechnology (2000), on Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods (2001) and on the Safety Assessment of Foods derived from GM Animals (2003).


Marc De Loose (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • Fundamental plant biotechnology research
  • Molecular analysis of processes related to plant breeding
  • DNA-marker technology
  • GMO detection, identification, characterisation, and quantification
  • Production of recombinant proteins in plants

Current Affiliation:
Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research, Unit Technology and Food, Merelbeke, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Marc De Loose holds a Ph.D. degree in plant sciences in the field of biotechnology, from Ghent University. As a research fellow, performed research on the molecular analysis of the auxin and cytokinin induced expression in tobacco cell suspension cultures; expression, analysis and production of monoclonal antibodies in plant cells; and expression on antibacterial peptides in potato plants. From 1992 till 2006 Marc De Loose has been a scientific researcher and later as a research leader at the State Breeding Institute. From 2006 till today, Marc De Loose is associated at the Technology and Food Unit at the Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research (ILVO) in Belgium, as director. During the last years, his main activities are situated in the field of GMO detection, identification, and quantification of GMOs in plants and derived products.
He is also an expert for the European Network for GMO laboratories (ENGL) and member of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The scope of his research is currently broadened towards measuring quality parameters of plants and plant derived agricultural products. He is also involved in setting up a production platform for the production of recombinant proteins in plants.


Piet van der Meer (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • National and international biosafety regulations and policies
  • Risk Assessment of genetically modified organisms
  • Public information

Current Affiliation:
Guest Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, Ghent University, Lasne, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Drs. Piet van der Meer is trained as a scientist (specialisations: microbiology and ecology) and a lawyer (specialisations: environmental and international law). From 1989 to 1999 he was in charge of biosafety regulation in the Netherlands. In the period 1999 to 2002 he managed a biosafety capacity building project in countries in Central and Eastern Europe. From December 2002 to May 2004 he managed the UNEP-GEF projects on Implementation of National Biosafety Frameworks. Since August 2004 he is the director of the Belgium based HORIZONS sprl, which offers consulting in the fields of international environmental agreements, national policies and legislation related to environmental protection and sustainable development. Piet van der Meer also provides support to the establishment up of the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (www.pubresreg.org), and is a Guest Professor at the University of Ghent, Department Molecular Genetics, teaching area Safety in Plant Biotechnology.


Kathy Messens
(Belgium)

Expertise:
  • Rapid methods
  • GMO detection, identification and quantification in plants and derived products
  • Detection of allergens and authenticity
  • Microbiology, Food Technology and Nutrition
  • Cell and Gene Technology
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • Biochemical and Enzymatic Applications in Industry

Current Affiliation:
Department of Biosciences and Landscape Architecture, University College Ghent, Ghent University Association, Ghent, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Ir. Kathy Messens obtained a PhD degree in Applied Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Bioengineering Sciences at Ghent University. Subsequently she has been a scientific co-worker at the Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology and Biocatalysis (Ghent University), at the Technology and Food Unit at the Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research (ILVO) and the Department of Food safety and Food Quality (Ghent University). Since 1999 she is professor Agro and Food Biotechnology at the Ghent University College (Ghent University Association), where she is heading the GMO Laboratory AgriFing. The laboratory is a research consortium between the Ghent University College (Department of Biosciences and Landscape architecture), the Ghent University (Laboratory of Food Technology and Food Processing) and the Technology and Food Unit at the Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research. This research unit focuses on the application of different DNA printing technologies on biological materials and derived products, e.g. (theoretical and analytical) traceability, identification and quantification of GMOs; the influence of different technological unit operations on the detection and traceability of DNA, the identification of micro-organisms, the detection of food allergens with PCR, immunological methods and related authenticity topics. The group has published several international and national papers.


Bruno Mezzetti (Italy)
Expertise:
  • Field trials with GM plants of strawberry, raspberry and table grape, authorised by the National Biotechnology Committee – Minister of Health.
  • Member of working group on GMO organized by the National Committee for Biosafety and Biotechnology.
  • Member of the National commission of the Minister of Health for the evaluation of risk assessment trials with genetic manipulated plants.

Current Affiliation:
  • Full Professor in Fruit Crop Breeding and Biotechnology (AGR03), Department of Environmental and Crop Science (SAPROV), Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy.
  • Chairman of the first and second level degree courses in Agricultural Science and Technology, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy.
  • Local Coordinator of the UNIDO Training Programme in GMO Biosafety at Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Bruno Mezzetti is Full Professor in Fruit Crop Breeding and Biotechnology at the Department of Environmental and Crop Science, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy. Prof. Mezzetti’s research includes trait improvement (e.g. disease resistance, fruit quality, etc.) as well as development of efficient regeneration & transformation methods for horticultural crops, mainly vegetatively propagated fruit crops, using a combination of biotechnological approaches with standard breeding programmes. He has (co-) authored approximately 100 contributions in scientific journals, proceedings and scientific reports.
Prof. Mezzetti has been member of the Italian National Committee for Biosafety and Biotechnology as well as of the GMO National Competent Authority for the evaluation of notifications for experimental and commercial releases of genetic manipulated plants at the Ministry of Environment. He is responsible for field trials with GM plants (strawberry, raspberry, table grape and tomato) authorised by the National Competent Authority.


Dulce de Oliveira (Brazil)
Expertise:
  • Fundamental plant molecular biology
  • Plant biotechnology
  • Biochemistry

Current Affiliation:
Guest Professor, IPBO – Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries, Ghent University, Department of Molecular Genetics, Belgium.

Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Dulce Eleonora de Oliveira holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Ghent University, in the field of Plant Molecular Biology. She was professor and head of the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics (LGMV) at the Institute of Biology, UFRJ, Brazil, where she leaded several research projects in the field of fundamental and applied plant molecular biology, including: Plant flower development; Plant-pathogen interaction; Abiotic stress in plants; Development of virus resistance in transgenic plants; Genetic biodiversity of Brazilian indigenous trees; Transformation of Brazilian orphan corps. Currently she has appointments at IPBO, Ghent University as guest professor, where she is involved in the development of capacity building in modern biotechnology techniques through e-courses and in raising awareness on the potential of plant biotechnology for developing countries


Patrick Rudelsheim (Belgium)
Expertise:
  • Biosafety
  • Biotech Regulation
  • Contained Use
  • Field trials with GMOs
  • Commercial release
  • Stewardship and transport

Current Affiliation:
  • Founder and General Partner Perseus BVBA, Belgium
  • Chairman European Federation of Biotechnology Task Group on Safety in Biotechnology

Research Area:
Biotech regulation, applied biosafety.


Jeremy Sweet (UK)
Expertise:
  • Biosafety
  • Biotech Regulation
  • Environmental Impacts of GMOs
Current Affiliation:
  • Independent Environmental Consultant
  • Member, Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

Research Area:
Jeremy Sweet has spent the last 20 years conducting research on the risk assessment of GMOs. Much of this work has been studying environmental and agronomic impacts and gene flow to crops and wild relatives. He was coordinator of the UK BRIGHT project which studied herbicide tolerance, and he was also coordinator of the ESF programme "Assessing the Impact of GMOs" that brought together all the major research groups in this area in Europe.
He was a coordinator of the EU SIGMEA project bringing together data on gene flow and gene impacts and is a participant in the EU CO-EXTRA programme.
He currently operates his own environmental consultancy and is a member of the EFSA GMO panel. He is a consultant and advisor on GMOs to the European Commission, FAO and scientific organisations and academies of several countries
.


Course Coordinator: George Tzotzos (Austria)

Technology Unit, UNIDO

Address:
UNIDO,
Wagramerstrasse 5, P.O. Box 400, A-1400, Vienna, Austria
Telephone: +43-1-26026-4336
Fax: +43-1-26026-6810
Email: g.tzotzos@unido.org

B.Sc in Chemistry, University of Exeter, UK
M.Sc in Medicinal Chemistry, Loughborough Univ. of Technology, UK
M.Sc (distinction), Structural Molecular Biology, Birkbeck College, Univ. of London, UK
PhD, Univ. of Bristol, UK.

Teaching & Research:
Dr. George T. Tzotzos is the e-Biosafety training programme coordinator. He's responsible for design and maintenance of the e-learning platform as well as of the academic content of the course. He has extensive teaching experience as the principal organiser of over 20 international workshops in biosafety over the last ten years. He has published extensively as editor of books or author of papers in peer-reviewed journals. His current interests focus on the development software, databases and biosafety-related multimedia and information systems. He has developed the first computer-based decision support system for environmental impact assessment of GMOs - http://binas.unido.org/dtree

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