Dr Brian Farneti
Edmund Mach Foundation, San Michele all'Adige (Italy)
“It’s a dangerous business, BRIAN, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to”. Brian’s journey, throughout the arduous and curvy roads of fruit physiology and postharvest management, began at the University of Bologna and at the Technical University of Munich where he obtained his BSc and MSc in “Technology of plant production” and “Horticultural sciences”, respectively.
In 2008, he moved to Wageningen University (The Netherlands) for his PhD degree in “Plant Science” with the thesis entitled “Tomato quality: from the field to the consumer. Interaction between genotype, cultivation and postharvest conditions”
From 2012 till 2015 he received a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Bologna in collaboration with the Edmund Mach Foundation. In that period, most of his research activity was focused on quality and nutraceutical aspects of apple and pear fruit, mostly related with breeding activity and postharvest handling.
Since 2016, Brian is a researcher at the “Genomics and biology of fruit crops” department of the Edmund Mach Foundation. His research activity is mostly oriented towards a comprehensive study of fruit quality with the aim to enhance the fruit quality throughout the entire production chain: from breeding to consumers. This needs a detailed quantification of quality attributes in distinct segments of the production chain and it implies synergy of approaches from different branches of knowledge, from genetic to metabolic analysis. Therefore his activity is mostly focused on the development and application of high-resolution phenotyping techniques and omics methodologies to dissect some of the most important quality traits (i.e. texture, flavor, and nutraceutical compounds) of fruit species cultivated in Northern Italy, for instance strawberry (Fragaria spp.), blueberry (Vaccinium spp), raspberry (Rubus spp.), and apple (Malus spp). He is currently involved in several projects dealing with ripening, host-pathogen interaction, and post-harvest of several other fruit species, such as peaches, pears, kiwifruits, almonds, or walnuts.
Associate Professor Karli Verghese
Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre, Australia
Associate Professor Karli Verghese is the Reduce Program Leader of the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (FFW CRC) in Australia. The FFW CRC is a national ten year $121 million research centre that brings together industry, research and the community to capitalise on Australia’s food waste opportunities. Through the three research and development programs, the FFW CRC will REDUCE food waste across the supply chain, TRANSFORM unavoidable waste into innovative high-value co-products, and ENGAGE with industry and consumers to create change. She has played an active role in the FFW CRC including being part of the CRC bid development team in 2017 and in her capacity as Reduce Program Leader has been working as part of the CRC Management Team to establish the centre, the research program and initial research portfolio in conjunction with CRC participants.
Karli is also a Principal Research Fellow in the Industrial Design program of the School of Design, RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research themes include the role of packaging, food loss and waste and life cycle assessment. These projects have involved co-design approaches with industry and government. She also led LCA in the last frontier – a six year project funded by the Australian Antarctic Division that developed an Environmental Impact Reduction Strategy for Australia’ Casey station. In her capacity at RMIT, Karli supervisors Honours, Masters and PhD students. Current research projects that Karli is leading include DIRECT – the development of a business-ready, digital, cloud-based food waste tool can assist industry to reduce food loss and waste; Save Food Packaging Design Criteria and Framework; Consumer perceptions of the role of packaging in minimising food waste; and Opportunities for Australia’s packaging and processing machinery sector to tackle food waste.
Professor Silin Zhong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Prof Zhong got his Bachelor degree of biochemistry at the Jilin University (1998-2002), and did his PhD at the University of Nottingham (2003-2008) working on plant hormone. He then took a Human Frontier fellowship (2009-2013) to worked in the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University to study epigenome. In 2013, he joined the School of Life Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on functional genomics and gene transcriptional regulation related to fruit ripening and C3C4 photosynthesis.