Keynote & Invited Speakers

Potato Symposium

David S. Douches, with over 40 years of experience in potato breeding, genetics and biotechnology, has an active potato breeding program directed toward the development of improved cultivars in Michigan for 35 years. The focus of the program is to develop new cultivars for Michigan’s potato industry by integrating new genetic engineering/ gene editing with conventional breeding efforts. Key traits targeted for improvement Colorado potato beetle resistance, disease resistance to scab, late blight, PVY, and chip processing from long-term storage. This breeding and biotech effort has expanded to include diploid breeding. Dave leads the Michigan State University potato breeding and genetics project and co-PI in the North Central Regional Potato Breeding and Genetics project. He is also director of the USAID-funded Global Biotech Potato Project for Africa and South East Asia and the lead scientist in developing four potato SNP arrays used by the potato breeding and genetics community.

Dr. David S. Douches
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824


David De Koeyer is a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and leader of AAFC's National Potato Breeding Program with research activities at Fredericton and Lethbridge Research and Development Centres. Since 2001, Dr. De Koeyer has worked on potato genetics and breeding. He obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from the University of Minnesota and started his career with AAFC working with cereal crops. His research interests include improving the efficiency and effectiveness of plant breeding and incorporating beneficial diversity into crops to meet the needs of farmers in Canada and in the developing world. David De Koeyer, Ph.D. | Directory of scientists and professionals (

Dr. De Koeyer will present an overview of the use of genetic resistance to control potato wart caused by Synchytrium endobioticum.

Dr. David De Koeyer
Fredericton Research and Development Centre
95 Innovation Road
PO Box 20280
Fredericton, NB

Cannabis Symposium

Dr. Lasse Schulze is the Director of Research and Agronomics at Cronos Group, with over 15 years of experience in the horticultural industry. His work has been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on nutrient acquisition, and ionic and metabolic profiling of tissues. Dr. Schulze’s expertise includes project management and consulting in the agricultural and horticultural sectors for major national and international clients at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as a Director at APMI Associates Inc. In his current role at Cronos Group, Dr. Schulze finds innovative solutions for scientific, technical, and operational functions to optimize growing cannabis at scale. His philosophy is to combine science with best practices from horticultural and related industries to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality cannabis for the medical and adult-use markets alike. Dr. Schulze graduated from the Humboldt University of Berlin with a Bachelor of Science in Horticultural Sciences and obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Plant Physiology and Toxicology from the University of Toronto.

Lasse Schulze Ph.D., QAP
Dr. Lasse Schulze, QAP
Director of Research and Agronomics


Dr. Zamir Punja is a professor of plant pathology and biotechnology at Simon Fraser University, with expertise in plant pathogens, tissue culture and molecular biology. He obtained his MSc and PhD degrees from the University of California, Davis. Before joining Simon Fraser University, Zamir was the manager of plant biotechnology for Campbell Soup Company, where he researched cucumber and carrot diseases. His recent research includes investigating diseases of greenhouse vegetables, ginseng, blueberry, and wasabi. Currently, his lab is identifying new and emerging diseases of cannabis and developing management solutions that include the application of biorational products and biocontrol agents. Zamir’s recent work with cannabis has resulted in numerous scientific publications and established him as one of the leading cannabis disease researchers in North America. 

Zamir Punja
Dr. Zamir Punja
Plant Pathology/Biotechnology,
Dept. of Biological Sciences,
Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6,

Haskap Workshop

The haskap berry jigsaw puzzle: bringing the pieces together to build a new industry.

 Dr. Bob Bors is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, where he heads the Fruit Program and the Prairie Fruit Genebank. In addition to teaching, Dr Bors’ research is focussed on breeding hardy fruits for northern conditions with an emphasis on crops that can be mechanically harvested and need little or no pesticides. Dr. Bors is renowned for his breeding work with haskap berries and dwarf sour cherries which has shaped the fruit growing industry in Canada. He co-authored a book for gardeners “Growing Fruit In Northern Gardens”.  In 2019 he won the prestigious Stevenson Award for development of sour cherries and haskap berry. Dr. Bors’s presentation will discuss breeding attributes of various subspecies, growing methods, and aspects of marketing and business challenges.

Bob Bors

Dr. Robert H. (Bob) Bors

Assistant Professor of Plant Science, University of Saskatchewan



Dr. Jeffrey Coull is the Head of Strategic Initiatives and Projects at the Weston Family Foundation in Toronto. One of the strategic initiatives he leads is the Homegrown Innovation Challenge, which provides funding of up to $33M over six years and asks innovators to “create and deliver a market-ready system to reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada.

Dr. Coull will discuss the program at the conference and participate in a Q&A session to provide all necessary information for teams to prepare high-quality proposals. In particular, he will stress that prior experience with berry production is not necessary!

Dr.Jeffrey A.M. Coull, PhD
Head of Strategic Initiatives and Projects
Weston Family Foundation
Fruit Symposium   

Dr. Zoë Migicovsky is an Assistant Professor in Biology at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where her research focuses on woody perennial fruit crops and their wild relatives. She graduated with a PhD in Biology from Dalhousie University before working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Agriculture. Her postdoctoral research involved studying graft-transmissible effects of rootstocks on grapevine shoots, which has important applications for crop improvement. In grapevine, her work uses diverse and multidimensional methods to measure trait variation in grafted plants including viticulturally important traits, vine physiology, mineral composition, leaf shape, and gene expression.   

Dr. Migicovsky will discuss the effect of root systems on shoot system traits across years including vine growth, yield, physiology, wood anatomy, and wine volatiles.

Dr. Zoë Migicovsky
Assistant Professor, Acadia University,
Nova Scotia

Gustavo A. Lobos is an Agronomist Engineer with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Talca (UTALCA), Chile. In collaboration with Michigan State University, he developed his doctoral thesis studying the impact of radiation (quantity and quality) under photoselective shading nets in blueberries. In Chile, he collaborated to establish the first national blueberry breeding program. In 2011, he was hired as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (UTALCA), and today he is an active member of the Center for Plant Breeding and Phenomics. Much of his career has been devoted to: i) solving productive problems through the understanding of GxE interactions, in species of economic relevance for export markets, with particular emphasis on blueberries; and ii) plant breeding, through the development of phenomics as a way to identify outstanding individuals in several active breeding programs oriented to abiotic stresses. He currently leads competitive public projects and has authored several articles in these areas. Now he is a member of the editorial board of the journal "Food and Energy Safety" and an international consultant.

Dr. Lobos will present his studies on highbush blueberry postharvest softening.


Dr. Gustavo A. Lobos

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Talca (UTALCA), Chile

Vegetable Symposium   

Can plant-foods help to reverse global warming and strengthen human, animal, and planetary health?Kathleen Kevany is a social psychologist and specializes in individual and collective well-being and social change. She is Canada’s leading authority on sustainable diets and plant-rich living and the editor to large book projects in these areas. As a certified Psychotherapist, she ran her own counselling and consulting firm for 10 years called the Decentralization Intelligence Agency. Kathleen has worked in many countries on facilitating vibrant communities and collaborative relationships.  She is an Associate Professor with Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture where she works to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Also, she is leading innovative efforts to increase plant protein production and consumption in Atlantic Canada, and around the world as an optimal approach for health and reduced emissions.

K. K.

Dr. Kathleen Kevany
 Associate Professor, Dept of Business and Social Sciences, Dalhousie University, Truro, NS, Canada.