Science Leadership Team

  • Oscar Ortiz

    Oscar Ortiz

    Area Director General’s Office
    Title Deputy Director General for Research and Development
    Citizenship Peruvian
    Location Lima, Peru
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Oscar Ortiz has worked at CIP for more than two decades, during which time he has made a major contribution to the organization’s research and programs. An agronomist by training, Oscar began his career at CIP in 1992 working on impact assessments of integrated pest management as a member of the Social Sciences Department. He was the leader of the Integrated Crop Management Research Division from 2004 to 2011, and was the leader of the Integrated Crop and systems Research Global Program in 2012, when he was appointed Deputy Director of Research for Regional Science Programs. In 2014, he was appointed Deputy Director General for Research and Development.

    Oscar has spent a decade leading and managing interdisciplinary teams involving both biophysical and social sciences. He has extensive experience in participatory research and training related to integrated insect and disease control; integrated crop management; agronomy and seed management; impact assessment of research and extension activities; and the use of agricultural knowledge and information systems and innovation system approaches for research and development. He has a PhD in agricultural innovation and rural development from the University of Reading, U.K. and has published extensively in peer review journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

    Languages Spanish, English
  • Roberto Quiroz

    Roberto Quiroz

    Area Crop Systems Intensification and Climate Change
    Title Research Scientist and Leader
    Citizenship Panamanian
    Location Lima, Peru
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Roberto Quiroz has worked for CIP since February 1996. He led the creation of the Production Systems and Environment research group and has pioneered research on climate-agriculture interactions at the Center. Roberto was one of the founders of the Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Andes (CONDESAN) and he led the Global Mountain Program: a CGIAR initiative created to promote sustainable agriculture in mountain areas. Roberto has served in many capacities including project leader and division leader. He currently leads the Crop Systems Intensification and Climate Change Disciplinary Center of Excellence.
    Roberto has MS and PhD degrees from North Carolina State University in nutrition and biochemistry and over 30 years of field experience putting science at the service of people. He has experience conducting and leading basic and translational research – to understand the interaction between climate and agriculture and how farmers can cope and adapt to extreme events – in the Americas, Asia and Africa. He also took a four-month sabbatical to work with the radar group of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the US National Air and Space Administration (JPL-NASA).
    Roberto has published extensively in scientific journals and has been a speaker at many international events. Throughout his career, he has also dedicated time to teach and mentor young scientists, which he hopes to do for the rest of his life.

    Languages Spanish, English and working knowledge of Portuguese
  • Jan W. Low

    Jan W. Low

    Area Sub-Saharan Africa Sweetpotato Program
    Title Principal Scientist, Leader of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative, Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa Project Leader
    Citizenship USA
    Location Nairobi, Kenya
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Jan Low has worked for over 25 years in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Having majored in agricultural economics with a minor in nutrition during her doctoral studies at Cornell University, it is not surprising that her major research interest is the integration of nutritional concerns into agricultural projects and programming. While a post-doc at CIP (1994-1996), she spearheaded the Center’s initial work on orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) in SSA. Subsequently, while an associate professor at Michigan State University, she led the first community-level study to demonstrate that an integrated OFSP-led agriculture-nutrition intervention could improve vitamin A intakes and status among young children. The subsequent paper won the CGIAR outstanding scientific article in 2007.
    Returning to CIP as its Regional Leader for SSA in late 2005, Dr. Low led the expansion of CIP’s program in the region from two to ten countries. In 2010, with the funding of CIP’s largest project to date, Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA), and the launching of the 10 year Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative, Dr. Low stepped down as Regional Leader to focus her energies on leading and growing CIP’s sweetpotato research for development program in SSA. In October 2010, she was appointed as a principal scientist.
    From 2011 through 2013, Dr. Low served as the president of the African Potato Association (APA), with CIP and Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture hosting the successful 9th Triennial APA meeting in 2013. She currently leads a team of editors that is publishing 59 articles from that meeting as a CABI book: Potato and Sweetpotato in Africa: Transforming the Value Chains for Food and Nutrition Security.

    Languages English, Portuguese, French, Kiswahili
  • Marc Ghislain

    Marc Ghislain

    Area Research Program for Strategic Objective 4: Game-Changing Solutions
    Title Program Leader, Game-Changing Solutions (SO4)
    Citizenship Belgian
    Location Nairobi, Kenya
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Marc Ghislain is a Senior Biotechnologist and leader of the global research program for strategic objective 4: Game Changing Solutions. He also chairs CIP’s institutional biosafety committee and is a member of the intellectual property committee.
    Marc’s research scope covers the use and characterization of potato and sweetpotato wild relatives, genetic mapping of traits of interest, isolation of genes and alleles, and their introgression into advanced germplasm by marker-assisted selection, genomics-assisted breeding, or transgenesis for the potato and the sweetpotato crops. He has a PhD in Cell and Gene Biotechnology from Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

    In Africa, Marc is developing transgenic potato with late blight resistance and sweetpotato with resistance to viral diseases and weevils, while contributing to the application of genomics tools for sweetpotato breeding.

    Languages French, English, Spanish
  • André Devaux

    André Devaux

    Area LAC region and Strategic Program for Resilient Food Systems Approach
    Title Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) Regional Director
    Citizenship Belgian
    Location Quito, Ecuador
    Profile Summary

    André Devaux, (, Ph.D in Agriculture Science, Université Catholique Louvain (UCL), Belgium, with 30 years’ experience. Most of his career has been associated with the International Potato Center (CIP). He has also worked with FAO and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). He has developed expertise in strengthening agriculture research and development programs with multidisciplinary teams in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

    Extensive research experience in:

    • potato production technologies
    • innovation systems
    • inclusive value chain development
    • food and nutritional security

    He has published more than 50 articles, books and reports. He is now based in Ecuador as CIP’s Latin American Regional Program Director, coordinating CIP activities in this region and contributing to research activities for the CRP “Policy, Institution and Market (PIM)” on Inclusive Value Chain Development with other CGIAR centers in the region and in a more global context. He is also coordinating CIP’s strategic program on Resilient Food Systems (SO5) addressing the food security challenges in roots and tubers production based systems.

    Languages French, Spanish, English
  • Elmar Schulte-Geldermann

    Elmar Schulte-Geldermann

    Area Seed Potato for Africa (SO3)
    Title Program Leader: Seed Potato for Africa (SO3)
    Citizenship German
    Location Nairobi, Kenya
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Elmar Schulte-Geldermann is the Leader of CIP’s Seed Potato for Africa Program, based at the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) regional office in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a PhD in Agronomy from the Faculty of Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Systems at Kassel University, Germany. He joined CIP-SSA in April 2009 as an integrated crop management specialist, supported by the Integrated Expert Program of the Center for International Migration and Development (CIM) Germany. In August 2012, he assumed responsibility for the implementation of CIP’s potato research portfolio in SSA.
    Elmar’s recent research has concentrated on integrated crop management, especially disease control strategies for potato late blight and bacterial wilt, and soil fertility management in potato and sweetpotato based cropping systems. Another strong focus of his work in recent years has been the improvement of potato seed systems and seed quality in SSA. He has conducted research on rapid multiplication seed potato technologies such as aeroponics and hydroponics. He is involved in the backstopping of private and public sector potato seed multipliers at all levels of multiplication and has conducted research on low cost, on-farm seed quality maintenance technologies such as positive selection, small seed plot technology, and net tunnel technology to produce healthy sweetpotato, among others. He is also involved and the selection and evaluation of potato breeding lines. He is leading regional projects related to the above-mentioned topics in eight Eastern and Central African countries.

    Languages English, German
  • Merideth Bonierbale

    Bonierbale, Merideth

    Area Genetics and Crop Improvement
    Title DCE Leader
    Citizenship USA
    Location Lima, Peru
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Merideth Bonierbale has been a Senior Breeder and the head of Breeding and Genetics at CIP headquarters in Lima, Peru since 1997. She received a PhD in plant breeding from Cornell University in 1990, following her development of the first molecular genetic map of potato and its comparison with tomato. As a Plant Breeder and Leader of Genetics, Genomics and Crop Improvement at CIP – and previously at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) – her research interests are closely tied to the sustainable use of the world’s rich genetic resources.
    Her overall research goal is the improved use of genes and gene combinations to contribute to enhancing food security with reduced agricultural inputs. Her specific research interests to achieve this overall goal include: genetic improvement for reduced input; characterization and use of crop genetic resources; applied biotechnology; comparative genetics; durable resistance to plant diseases; and value-added opportunities for income generation from small-scale agriculture. Current emphases include biofortification, stress tolerance and yield stability.
    Merideth’s accomplishments include the development of novel genetic stocks, breeding lines and strategies for crop improvement to enhance nutritional value and reduce environmental and health concerns; publications on classical and molecular assessment of biological diversity, tools and products for breeding and variety development; development of the first molecular genetic maps of potato and cassava; contribution to the organization and sustainable use of international genebank holdings; contribution to understanding of genotype x environment interaction for quality parameters of root and tuber crops; advancement of hypotheses and methods for comparative genome analysis; and training of students and researchers in plant science.

    Languages Spanish, English
  • Simon Heck

    Simon Heck

    Area Resilient, Nutritious Sweetpotato Program (SO1)
    Title Program Leader
    Citizenship German
    Location Kampala, Uganda
    Profile Summary

    Dr. Simon Heck joined CIP in 2012 as Deputy Program Manager for Sweetpotato in Africa. He took on leadership of the regional Scaling-Up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project in 2013 and of the Sweetpotato Program in 2014. He previously worked with the WorldFish Center, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
    An anthropologist by training, Simon has extensive experience leading research and development projects in agriculture, aquatic resources and environmental management. He has been chair of the Agro-Enterprise Learning Alliance for Eastern and Southern Africa and has contributed to policy and strategy development in several regional and national institutions in Africa. His disciplinary expertise is in social science and he has contributed to CGIAR research on resilience of social and ecological systems, food security, social development indicators, land tenure, and innovation systems. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Boston University.

    Languages English, French, German
  • David Ellis

    David Ellis

    Area Genebank/Program on Conserving Biodiversity for the Future
    Title Head of Genebank, Program Leader, Conserving Biodiversity for the Future
    Citizenship Canada/United States of America
    Location Lima, Peru
    Profile Summary

    Dr. David Ellis has been involved in the preservation of plant genetic resources for decades, with experience in academia, private industry and the public sector. Dave is currently charged with overseeing the maintenance of the global in-trust collections of potato, sweetpotato and Andean root and tuber crops in the CIP Genebank, in Lima, Peru.
    With a PhD in Botany from the University of Montana, USA, Dave’s research interests have spanned plant development, medicinal compounds in plants (taxol), plant molecular biology (modification of plant cell walls, control of plant reproduction, genomics), plant and insect ecology, cryobiology and conservation of plant genetic resources and diversity. His expertise in heading programs for the conservation of plant and microbial genetic resources and running genebanks brought him to CIP in 2012.
    Dave has collaborated with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in the collection of teosinte (the immediate ancestor to maize) in Mexico, worked with native American tribes in the U.S. to preserve their plant genetic resources (principally Fraxinus (ash) seed), and is currently working with indigenous communities in the Potato Park (Parque de la Papa), in the Peruvian Andes. Dave has been a member of the Advisory Board for the Desert Legume Program, an associate editor of In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Plant, board member of the Society for In Vitro Biology, and a fellow of the Society for In Vitro Biology. He is currently a member of the scientific advisory committees for Asociación ANDES and SeedSavers. He has published extensively in peer review journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

    Languages Spanish, English
  • Guy Hareau

    Guy Hareau

    Area Social and Health Sciences and Innovation Systems
    Title Acting Global Science Leader, Social and Health Sciences and Innovation Systems
    Citenship Uruguay
    Location Lima, Peru
    Profile Summary

    Guy Hareau joined CIP in 2008 to work on priority setting and impact assessment of technological change in agriculture. From 2008 to 2011, he was member of a research team that looked at outcomes and impacts of participatory research methods in Latin America. Between 2012 and 2014, he coordinated the group of impact assessment scientists from Bioversity, CIAT, CIP and IITA that conducted a strategic assessment of research priorities for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB). Currently, he focuses on foresight and strategic analysis and ex post impact assessment studies. He is principal investigator of the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight project at CIP, a multi-center initiative under the CGIAR Research Program on Policy, Institutions and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He has also been CIP’s focal point for PIM since 2012. He leads a research team estimating release and adoption of improved potato and sweet potato varieties in China, India and seven other countries in Asia. He is working on estimating adoption determinants and impacts of improved potato varieties in Peru and China. He is also studying how to assess impacts of ex situ conservation of genetic resources. Prior to joining CIP, Guy worked with the National Agricultural Research Institute in his home country Uruguay, where he got his degree of Agricultural Engineer. He holds a M.Sc. (2002) in Agricultural Economics and a Ph.D. in Economics-Agriculture (2006) from Virginia Tech, United States.

    Lenguages Spanish, French, English
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