Prof Brajesh K Singh

President and Scientific Chair

Professor Brajesh Singh is an internationally recognised expert in the environmental microbiology, farm productivity and ecosystem functions.

His research interests encompass functional ecology, climate change and environmental biotechnology with particular focus on the role of microbes in ecosystem function and harnessing this knowledge for farm productivity and environmental sustainability.

He is currently Director of the Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation at Western Sydney University.


Dr Eleonora Egidi


Dr Eleonora Egidi is a soil microbial ecologist, her research focuses on investigating microbial biogeography, plant-soil-microbe interactions, and the mechanism underpinning microbial responses to environmental stressors.

She has led a number of initiatives to promote microbial ecology studies in Australia and China, organised and chaired several microbial ecology symposia at society conferences, and engaged with industry partners.

Eleonora is also committed to supporting and mentoring women is science, and has actively participated in the Athena Swan program during her appointments at both Western Sydney University and La Trobe University.

Dr Birgit Mitter

Microbial ecologist

Dr Birgit Mitter (Austrian Institute of Technology) is a microbial ecologist with focus on bacterial endophytes. She has studied endophytic communities in a variety of plants including crops, such as tomato, potato, rice, corn and wheat but also in wild flowers and tropical trees.

In her research she is mainly interested in the relationship between microbial community functioning and plant development and health, and in translating microbial community understanding into applications for a more sustainable agriculture.


Dr Raul Ochoa-Hueso

Microbial ecologist

Dr. Raul Ochoa-Hueso is an ecosystem ecologist with extensive experience investigating the consequences of human impacts on biogeochemical processes, biodiversity, and the assembly of communities in terrestrial ecosystems.

Raúl is currently a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the University of Cádiz, Spain, where he leads the “Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory” of the Viticulture and Agri-Food Research Institute (IVAGRO).
He is the main coordinator of two global sampling networks, one in vineyards (“Grapevine Microbiome Survey”) and one in grasslands (“SpatialNet”), around the world.


Pablo García-Palacios

Ramón y Cajal researcher

Dr Pablo García-Palacios leads the Ecosystem Ecology & Agroecology Lab at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences-CSIC (Madrid, Spain). He is an ecosystem ecologist focusing on understanding the role of plants and soil organisms as drivers of soil carbon and nitrogen cycling in a context of climate change and human population growth.

Pablo coordinates MICROWILD, a global consortium associated with the Global Crop Microbiome Initiative aiming to investigate how plant domestication has shaped the plant microbiome of major crops for agriculture.


Dr Florian Walder

Dr. Florian Walder is an agroecologist, his research focuses on the interaction of crops, microbes and soil under the influence of agricultural management.

He has coordinated several on-farm networks to investigate how the farming systems and specific management practices promote or compromise crop and soil microbiome structure and functioning. Florian is interested in understanding how microbial processes can be stimulated by agricultural management to support productivity and develop sustainable agro-ecosystems.


Dr Shengjing Shi

Dr Shi is a soil microbial ecologist with the main research focus on soil-plant-microbe interaction and soil biodiversity, microbial functional role in promoting plant growth and soil nutrient cycling, and how climate change affects plant-microbe interaction.

Shengjing is a senior scientist in AgResearch Ltd., New Zealand and leading a number of projects ranging from fundamental science to applied research aiming at developing microbial inoculants to enhance plant growth via increase nutrient use efficacy and/or disease protection.

Shengjing has received National Early Career Research Award from Science New Zealand in 2019.


Dr Carlos Guerra

Global Soil Biodiversity Observation Network (SoilBon), German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

Ms Rosa Cuevas Corona

Coordinator of the International Network on Soil Biodiversity (NETSOB), FAO – Global Soil Health and Biodiversity Observatory (GLOSOB)

Dr Juntao Wang (Bioinformatics coordinator)

Dr Juntao Wang is a soil microbial ecologist. His research interests include microbial ecological modelling, microbial diversity and soil functioning relationship, and developing microbial tools to improve agricultural production. Juntao will lead a team of bioinformaticians using metagenomic based approaches to disentangle the interactions between microbiome and crops.


Dr Didier Lesueur/ Laetitia Herrmann (pro-rata)

CIAT Asia – International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Agricultural Genetics Institute, Pham Van Dong, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Contact: D.Lesueur@CGIAR.ORG /