Speakers and Panelists


Key Note: Dr. Toyoki Kozai, “LED lighting for Urban Agriculture”

Back by popular demand, Day One’s Key Note speaker will be Dr. Toyoki Kozai, Professor Emeritus at Chiba University.

Dr. Kozai is known as the “Father of the Japanese Plant Factory.” He will speak about his experiences and philosophies in key areas of CEA, with the Key Note theme being “LED lighting for Urban Agriculture” based on his new book of the same name.

Dr. Kevin Folta

Kevin Folta is a professor in and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, and he has worked at University of Wisconsin before settling in at University of Florida. Dr. Folta researches the functional genomics of small fruit crops, the plant transformation, the genetic basis of flavors, and studies at photomorphogenesis and flowering. He has also written many publications and edited books, most recently was the 2011 Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Berries. Dr. Folta received the NSF CAREER Award, an HHMI Mentoring Award and was recognized as “University of Florida Foundation Research Professor” in 2010.

Dr. Gary Stutte

Dr. Stutte is the principal investigator for several spaceflight experiments designed to grow plants in microgravity. One of these is the Photosynthesis Experiment System Testing Operation (PESTO) experiment, the first plant science experiment to be conducted aboard the International Space Station once it is delivered by the crew of STS-110. Although he was born in Oklahoma, Dr. Stutte considers Fayetteville, Arkansas his home. He attended the University of Arkansas for two years in the Horticultural Food Sciences Program, finishing his BS degree in Biology at the Oklahoma State University. Dr. Stutte has a Masters Degree in Horticulture for the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Stutte served as a member of the horticulture faculty at the University of Maryland for six years, teaching both graduate and undergraduate horticulture courses.

Dr. Don Wilkerson

“It was a special privilege to participate in the 2015 ICCEA. The information presented during the 3 day event was cutting edge and diverse. An incredible lineup of international speakers covered topics ranging from robotics to financing new CEA businesses. Producers provided “how-to” information directly applicable to a variety of leafy crops. Researchers shared their latest discoveries and provided a glimpse into the future. The quality of the program was matched by the outstanding hospitality of our Panamanian hosts. Can’t wait for May, 2017!”
— Dr. Don Wilkerson, Senior Horticulturist, iBio CMO

Dr. Roberto Lopez

Roberto Lopez is an Assistant Professor and Controlled Environment and Floriculture Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University (MSU). He earned his Ph.D. in Horticulture from MSU and he worked at Purdue University for 9 years before returning to MSU. Dr. Lopez’s research focuses on energy-efficient propagation and production of floriculture and leafy green crops in high tunnels, greenhouses, and multi-layer controlled environments. The primary emphasis of his research is to determine how light (quantity, quality, and duration) and substrate temperature during the young and finished plant stages influence crop timing, rooting, quality, and subsequent performance. He is a co-editor of the Light Management in Controlled Environments book which will be published in 2016.

Dr. Leo Marcelis

Leo Marcelis is a professor in Crop Production in Low-Energy Greenhouses at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He is leading the research team Crop Management, Physiology and Modelling of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, a research unit of 120 researchers within Wageningen UR that focusses on innovation in protected cultivation. He has over 25 years of experience in experimental and simulation research on plant growth in controlled environments such as greenhouses and climate rooms. He has (co-) authored more than 120 scientific articles. Prof. Marcelis operates in close collaboration with other departments within Wageningen UR in developing reliable and complete food systems.

Dr. Christopher Currey

Christopher Currey is an assistant professor for the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University. His controlled-environment and greenhouse crop research is focused on providing research-based best-management practices to support commercial producers of ornamental and food crops to improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability using and managing light, temperature, mineral nutrition, and plant growth regulators. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy from Purdue University, and a Master of Science from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Chieri Kubota

Dr. Chieri Kubota is a professor in the School of Plant Sciences and Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at the University of Arizona. Dr. Kubota received Ph.D. from Chiba University, Japan. In 2002, Dr. Kubota left Japan, where she worked as an assistant/associate professor for 6 years, and joined the faculty of School of Plant Sciences at University of Arizona. She also has a joint appointment at the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Her research program focuses on the development of science-based technologies in the area of controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Her teaching program uniquely encompasses plant sciences and horticultural engineering. Dr. Kubota has been very active in interdisciplinary collaborations contributing to horticultural crop production. Her work on vegetable grafting, high quality greenhouse crop production, hydroponic strawberry production, as well as LED lighting has been widely known by her peers and stakeholders. Find her on Facebook.

Dr. Ricardo Hernández

Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences in the area of Horticultural Energy at North Carolina State University. He has a Bachelor of Science, Agronomy - Crop consulting from New Mexico State University. His Masters of Science, Entomology – Biological Control from Texas A&M University. Doctoral, Plant Sciences – Plant Physiology from the University of Arizona. Doctoral Minor – Entrepreneurship from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, Eller School of Business and Minor – Ag and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona.

Mike Betts

Mike is the Director of Investments at AgFunder and has been in the finance and technology industries for more than 8 years as an investment banker, operator, entrepreneur and software developer. A graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, he grew up in Kansas with family in farming. Mike began his career in the technology investment banking group at Credit Suisse where his transaction experience included Walgreens’ acquisition of drugstore.com, Responsys’ IPO, RightNow’s convertible debt offering and advising Wine.com on M&A and capital raising. Mike later joined eCommerce company Wine.com, where he managed analytics and led M&A and capital raising efforts. As an entrepreneur, Mike has taught himself computer programming, started two companies and worked as developer for Visible.vc, a venture capital software company. Prior to joining AgFunder in early 2015, Mike managed technology partnerships and integrations strategy at Apteligent, a B2B provider of mobile software.

More information coming soon!