Scientific Advisory Board

Luca ComaiLuca Comai, PhD

Genome Center of the University of California​

Luca Comai is a Professor of Plant Biology at the Genome Center of the University of California at Davis. He has B.S. equivalent from the Universita' di Bologna, Italy, an M.S. in plant pathology from Washington State University, and a PhD in plant pathology from UC Davis. In his career, he has worked on bacterial plasmid genetics, plant biotechnology (glyphosate resistance via alteration of EPSP synthase), and genetics and genomics of polyploidy. He co-developed TILLING, a method to identify targeted mutations. Since joining UC Davis in 2006, he has focused on function and regulation of chromosomes in polyploid genomes, on centromere function, on gene dosage effects, and on stress-induced genome instability. Dr Comai teaches the foundation genetics course at UCD using a flipped approach. He has authored over 140 publications, has an H impact factor of 77, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017 he received the ASPB Innovation Prize for Agricultural Technology.
 

Toni KutchanToni Kutchan, PhD

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center​

Toni Kutchan serves as Vice President for research and is the Oliver M. Langenberg Distinguished Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Prior to joining the Danforth Center in 2006, she spent 20 years researching biochemistry at the University of Munich and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry in Germany.  Toni was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017 and the prestigious German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) in 2010 in recognition of her scientific achievements. Toni received her doctorate in biochemistry from Saint Louis University and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Jim WellerJim Weller, PhD

School of Natural Sciences at the University of Tasmania​

Jim Weller is an Associate Professor of Plant Genetics in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Tasmania. He has broad interests in plant physiology, development and evolution. His work focuses on the use of molecular genetics to investigate the control of flowering, shoot architecture, hormone function and plant responses to light and temperature. He works mainly with legumes and is particularly interested in exploring comparative biology, domestication, and the use of natural genetic diversity for improvement of this important group of crop plants.