Dr. Randy Ploetz - Ph.D. from the University of Florida
Dr. Ploetz received B.S. (Forestry) and M.Sc. (Plant Pathology) degrees from Purdue University and a Ph.D. (Plant Pathology) from the University of Florida (UF).
Dr. Ploetz studied the physiological impacts of Phytophthora root rot (PRR, caused by P. cinnamomi) and flooding on avocado, Persea americana, and dissected the profound and rapid detrimental interaction that occurs when trees are exposed to both factors. In half-sib populations from the national germplasm repository of this crop in Miami (USDA-ARS).
Dr Elizabeth Dann – PhD from the University of Sydney
Penny Kris-Etherton – Distinguished Professor of nutrition Penn State University
PhD. Hannah Holscher – Professor of nutrition at Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Dr. Hannah Holscher received her B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. She is also a Registered Dietitian, having completed clinical training at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois. Dr. Holscher joined the University of Illinois faculty as an Assistant Professor in June 2015. As Director of the Nutrition and the Human Microbiome Laboratory, her research team aims to enhance human health through dietary modulation of the gastrointestinal microbiome.
Dr. Holscher has published in top nutrition journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition. She has also served in leadership roles at both the local and national level, including the FSHN Ambassadors and the American Society for Nutrition, respectively.
PhD. Naiman Khan – Professor at College of Applied Health Sciences – University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.
Dr. Naiman Khan is the Director of the Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a Registered Dietitian with broad experience assessing cognitive function, diet, and body composition.
Dr. Khan has extensive experience conducting clinical trials investigating the effects of dietary modulation on measures of physical as well cognitive and brain health. He has several research grants currently funded to investigate cognitive function and diet, has more than 28 peer-reviewed research articles, and has presented at several national meetings.
PhD. Britt Burton-Freeman - Director of Nutrition and Health Promoting Foods platform leader at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology.
Matthew - CSIRO Agriculture & Food
Harley Smith is a veteran in the hydroponics industry, with over 20 years experience as a professional hydroponics consultant and educator. A well-known public speaker and presenter, Harley has taught hydroponic growing techniques to agriculture educators for many years, and he has been responsible for setting up hydroponics labs in hundreds of schools across the country. Mr. Smith is also regarded as an expert on plant nutrition and organic bio-stimulants, performing research and product development for hydroponic fertilizer manufacturers in the United States and Europe.
Alejandro F. Barrientos – Professor and Researcher, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo.
Alejandro F. Barrientos-Priego currently works at the Departament of Fitotenia, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. Alejandro does research in Horticulture. Their current project is selection of avocado rootstocks.
Zelda Van Rooyen - Westfalia Fruit · Westfalia Technological Services
Zelda Van Rooyen works with a group of researchers looking at increasing productivity, postharvest quality and innovation in all matters relating to avocado production. Anything from cultivars to rootstocks, pre-harvest and post-harvest pathology and physiology to tree manipulation at Westfalia fruit.
Mary Lu Arpaia - Ph.D., University of California, Davis
As a statewide extension specialist for subtropical fruit at UC Riverside, Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia has both an educational and research program dealing with all aspects of citrus and avocado production, with an emphasis on postharvest handling. There are two areas related to subtropical fruit postharvest handling in which she conducts research. The first deals with the role of preharvest management on postharvest fruit quality. Secondly, she conducts research that examines the response of subtropical fruit to the postharvest environment including temperature during handling and ethylene exposure. Dr. Arpaia also leads the avocado variety breeding program at UC, Riverside with the aim of selecting new varieties that are precocious, adapted to high density planting and have excellent postharvest quality.
Ramon Paz-Vega - Strategic Advisor to APEAM
Born in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico, in 1960. Obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Agribusiness from the Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey; his MBA from Universidad La Salle; and his Ph.D. degree in International Management and Business Ethics from the EGADE Business School of the Tecnologico de Monterrey, with a stay at IESE Business School in Barcelona.
Currently, he is an avocado grower in both Michoacan and Jalisco states, in Mexico; Managing Director of “Paz Mendoza y Asociados”, a company dedicated to consulting in agribusiness and fruit exports; Strategic Advisor to APEAM; Chairman of the Board of Avocados From Mexico (the company created to promote Avocados From Mexico in USA); Vice Chairman of the Board of the International Alliance of Fruit and Vegetable Exporters for the Advancement of Social Responsibility in Mexico (AHIFORES); and Board member of the United Fresh Produce Association.