Plenary Speakers

  • Prof. Tanja Schwertle
    Prof. Tanja Schwertle University of Potsdam, Germany
    Prof. Tanja Schwertle

    Title of the presentation: Toxicity of arsenic species: lessons learned from organisms, humans and the environment

    Professor Dr Tanja Schwerdtle studied chemistry and food chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe, where she received her doctorate. After research positions in Karlsruhe and at Technical University (TU) Berlin, she held professorships in food chemistry first at the University of Muenster and then at the University of Potsdam. Her scientific work includes research into metal compounds, and their beneficial and toxic effects on the human organism. Here, among others, she currently coordinates as spokesperson the DFG funded research unit TraceAge. Moreover, she has strong expertise and research interest in the area of in vitro based testing strategies, genotoxicity testing as well as exposure and effect biomarkers. Since 2007, she has been involved as expert in EFSA working groups, since 2015, she has been Member of the EFSA Panel for Contaminants in the Food Chain. Since 2020, she is the Vice President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and holds a professorship in food toxicology at the University of Potsdam.

  • Prof. Fang-Jie Zhao
    Prof. Fang-Jie Zhao Nanjing Agricultural University, China
    Prof. Fang-Jie Zhao

    Title of the presentation: Cadmium biogeochemistry in paddy soils and strategies to reduce Cd accumulation in rice

    Fang-Jie Zhao is a Professor of Environmental Science at Nanjing Agricultural University, China. He received his PhD at Newcastle University, U.K. Prior to taking up the current position in China, he worked at Rothamsted Research, U.K. for over 20 years, progressing from Higher Scientific Officer to Senior Principal Research Scientist. His research focuses on the biogeochemistry of essential trace elements and toxic metals/metalloids in soil-plant systems, molecular mechanisms of trace element uptake by plants, biofortification of essential micronutrients and bioremediation of contaminated soils. His research group adopts a multidisciplinary approach, employing research tools and methodologies in environmental chemistry, soil microbiology, plant genetics and molecular biology. His research goal is to enhance essential micronutrients and minimize toxic metals/metalloids in food crops for the benefit of human health and agricultural sustainability. He has co-authored two books and published over 360 peer-reviewed journal papers, which have been cited >38,000 times (H index = 110). He is a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics (2017 - 2021).

  • Prof. Donald L. Sparks
    Prof. Donald L. Sparks University of Delaware, USA
    Prof. Donald L. Sparks

    Title of the presentation: Impact of climate change and redox dynamics on cycling of metals and carbon in natural systems

    DONALD L. SPARKS is the Unidel S. Hallock du Pont Chair and Francis Alison Professor at the University of Delaware. He is internationally recognized for his research in the areas of kinetics of biogeochemical processes and surface chemistry of natural materials. His research has focused on fate and transport of trace metals in soil and water, soil remediation, water quality, and carbon sequestration in soils. He is the author of two textbooks, 12 edited books, and 360 refereed papers and book chapters.  Dr. Sparks is a fellow of five scientific societies, and he has been the recipient of major awards and lectureships including the Geochemistry Medal from the American Chemical Society, the Liebig Medal from the International Union of Soil Sciences,  Pioneer in Clay Science award from the Clay Minerals Society, an Einstein Professorship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Philippe Duchaufour Medal from the European Geosciences Union.  Dr. Sparks served as president of the Soil Science Society of America and the International Union of Soil Sciences and as chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee for Soil Sciences.

  • Prof. Nathalie Verbruggen
    Prof. Nathalie Verbruggen Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium
    Prof. Nathalie Verbruggen

    Title of the presentation: Cadmium tolerance and detoxification in plants: what can we learn from Arabidopsis halleri?

    Full professor – Free  University of Brussels (Université libre de Bruxelles), Belgium. Interest in the regulation of nutrition in plants, and their adaptation to extreme environments

  • Prof. Mak Saito
    Prof. Mak Saito Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), USA
    Prof. Mak Saito

    Title of the presentation: Marine biogeochemical cycling of bioactive metals from the Arctic to the Antarctic: A sea of change

    Dr. Mak Saito is a Senior Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts USA. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-WHOI Joint Program and did postdoctoral research at Princeton University. For over twenty years the Saito laboratory has studied the biogeochemical cycling of metals in marine environments from Antarctica to the Arctic Ocean, including the metals Co, Fe, Zn, Mn, Ni, and Cu, applying analytical chemistry and proteomics techniques to unravel the interactions between life and metals in the oceans.

  • Prof. Jurate  Kumpiene
    Prof. Jurate Kumpiene Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
    Prof. Jurate Kumpiene

    Title of the presentation: Iron amendments for immobilisation of metal(loid)s in soil – how confident are we about the long-term success of this approach? 

    Jurate Kumpiene, Professor at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, is actively engaged in research and education in environmental engineering. She has ca 20 years experience in research and innovation in the area of soil remediation with particular focus on immobilization of soil contaminants and assessment of residual risks in remediated soil. In 2022, Kumpiene’s research on soil remediation has been selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) to the year's list of top national research projects with the focus on technology in the service of humanity. 

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