Senior Research Fellow
As of January 2020, Ruben is a Sr. Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington DC; and a Research Associate (non-resident) at the Latin-American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP) based in Santiago, Chile. Ruben is Director General Emeritus of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Cali, Colombia. He led CIAT from 2009 to 2019 and in 2019 promoted the creation of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. In the mid-2000s Ruben was Executive Director of the Science Council of the CGIAR, based at FAO Rome. He worked in agricultural, environmental and rural development issues for more than a decade at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. where he led the creation of FONTAGRO. In the late 1980s he worked on agricultural research policy issues and strengthening national research capacities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, based at the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) in The Hague. As part of his Ph.D. thesis, he conducted field research based at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.
Ruben studied Agronomy at the University of Uruguay (B.Sc.) and Agriculture Economics at the University of Minnesota (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) with special emphasis on the economics of technical and institutional change. Ruben has received leadership management training (Harvard, IMD) and belongs to several professional associations (IAAE, AIARD, EARN). He chaired the International Advisory Board of the Latin-American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP) for more than a decade. Ruben is a member of the International Advisory Council of the Global Bioeconomy Summit. Ruben is currently Chair of the Global Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI) and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Catalan Institute of Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain.
Marc Chatel is a retired senior scientist with broad international experience in plant breeding and international cooperation. He held a scientist position at the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development (Cirad) for 40 years, mainly in collaboration with national and international institutions. He spent 8 years in Madagascar, working as maize, cassava, and rice breeder. He also worked for 10 years in Brazil as a rice breeder at the Rice and Beans Center of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). Finally for 19 years he worked at CIAT headquarters as a rice breeder and was responsible for the Cirad–CIAT Rice Collaborative Project.
During his career, Marc was responsible for the co-creation and release of numerous rice varieties adapted to upland and lowland ecosystems. He also co-developed and managed a Latin American rice breeders network that facilitates sharing of basic and promising germplasm throughout the region, as well as the dissemination of the innovative method of rice breeding and enhancement through recurrent selection techniques.
Physiologist Agrobiodiversity Research Area
Tropical Forages Program
Dr. Reinhardt Howeler was born in Indonesia but grew up in the Netherlands. After obtaining his BSc degree in Tropical Agriculture from the International College of Tropical Agriculture in Deventer, the Netherlands, he immigrated to the United States in 1964. He received his MSc degree in Soil Fertility from the University of Missouri in 1966 and a PhD in Soil Chemistry from Cornell University in 1970. He joined CIAT, initially as a postdoc, in June 1970, working on flooded and upland rice, mainly in the Eastern Plains of Colombia. With the establishment of CIAT’s Bean and Cassava Programs in 1973, he was assigned to work on soil and plant nutrition problems for both programs until 1975, when he started working fulltime for the Cassava Program.
In 1986, he was transferred to the CIAT-Bangkok office to work with national programs in many Asian countries in the fields of agronomy and soil fertility management, especially addressing soil erosion issues. After core funding for this program ended in 1994, he obtained special project funding from the Nippon Foundation and later from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to conduct farmer-participatory research (FPR) in collaboration with cassava researchers and extension agents in Cambodia, China, East Timor, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam, until his retirement in June 2009.
The most interesting and rewarding part of his 39-year career at CIAT was to work directly with cassava farmers in many different countries and see how the FPR approach enhanced the adoption of new cassava varieties and more-sustainable production practices, which in turn increased cassava yields in Asia and markedly improved the lives of many poor farmers.
Dr. Howeler is currently working as a cassava consultant. He has authored or co-authored over 200 publications, and edited 13 books on cassava. He has received numerous awards for his work in Asia, including a Royal Decoration in the Third Class of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant granted by the Thai government.
Tropical Forages Program
Carlos Lascano is a Colombian citizen, who in 1965 completed undergraduate training in Agronomy at the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana in Zamorano, Honduras. Later he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where he completed a BS in Agriculture in 1967 and an MS in Animal Science in 1970. After completing his MS studies, he joined a Feed Company (SOLLA) in Medellín, Colombia, where he served as Head of the Technical Department and was responsible for formulating feed rations for different kinds of livestock. In 1973 he joined CIAT and was based in Cali, Colombia, for 3 years as Coordinator of an International Training Program in Tropical Livestock. In 2006 he was awarded a scholarship by the Rockefeller Foundation and enrolled as a graduate student at Texas A &M University, College Station where he obtained a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition in 1979.
In late 1979 he came to CIAT as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Tropical Forages Program and in 1982 he was appointed Senior Staff, responsible for research on forage quality and uses. During this time, he carried out long-term grazing experiments in the Eastern Plains of Colombia to assess productivity and tolerance of grass and grass+legume pastures under low fertilizer inputs and different management systems. These experiments proved to be a valuable resource to study the dynamics of vegetation and soil properties under contrasting management systems. In the 90s, Lascano established a dairy research facility in the Quilichao research station, located in the department of Cauca, to evaluate forage quality using short-term grazing experiments with milking cows. He also contributed by supervising numerous postgraduate theses to defining negative and positive effects of condensed tannins in legumes and to establishing differences among species and genotypes in tannin content and biological activity. He made valuable contributions to understanding how environmental factors affect the concentration and chemical properties of condensed tannins in legumes.
In 1997 Lascano was appointed Leader of the Tropical Forage Program and for 10 years he led an international multidisciplinary team dedicated to improving forages for different tropical agro-ecosystems and production systems. Some important achievements under his lead include: 1) selection of multipurpose legumes with adaptation traits to drought and low fertility soils; 2) establishment of a private-public partnership to fund, develop, and promote use of improved hybrids of Brachiaria, which is the most widely, planted grass in Latin America and South East Asia; 3) development of methodologies to screen forages for quality and anti-quality traits and for adaptation to biotic and abiotic constraints; 4) discovery of endophytic fungi in tropical forage grasses; and 5) identification of a mechanism for controlling the biological nitrogen inhibition (BNI) capacity of Brachiaria humidicola, which has enormous implications for nitrogen-use efficiency in crop–livestock systems .
His published work comprises over 80 articles and book chapters. In recognition of his contribution to global forage/livestock research, he was invited to read the Harry Stobbs Memorial Lecture in Australia in 1990, was elected President of ALPA (Asociación Latinoamericana de Producción Animal) for a three-year term (1997–2000), and received CIAT’s Outstanding Senior Staff Award in 1966. Upon his retirement from CIAT in 2007, he was appointed Emeritus Scientist.
Agrobiodiversity Research Area
Dr. Francisco J. Morales obtained his BSc degree in Agricultural Engineering from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá, in 1971. The following year he was admitted to the Graduate School of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, where he received his MSc degree in Plant Pathology, with a Minor in International Agricultural Development. In 1978, he finished his doctoral studies at the Plant Pathology Department of the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA, in the area of Plant Virology. That year, he joined CIAT as a virologist for the Bean Program.
In 1988, Dr. Morales created the Plant Virus Research Unit at CIAT, which integrated the four CIAT’s mandated commodity programs (beans, cassava, rice, and tropical forages) to the Unit’s research agenda. From 1999 until 2002, he assisted the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute-IPGRI (currently, Bioversity International) as a part-time Plant Health Specialist.
In 2002, he became the coordinator of the Global Whitefly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Project, while continuing to act as Head of CIAT’s Plant Virus Laboratory, until his retirement in 2008. Dr. Morales is author of over 120 international publications, and has received several national and international awards for services rendered to the international agricultural community.
Idupulapati M. Rao
Plant Nutritionist and Physiologist
Agrobiodiversity Research Area
Dr. Idupulapati M. Rao received his BSc degree in 1971 with majors in chemistry, botany and zoology from Andhra University, MSc degree in Botany from Bhopal University in 1973 and PhD degree in Botany (Plant Physiology) in 1978 from S. V. University, in India. He worked for two years as a Plant Physiologist at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India. He moved to USA in 1981 for postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois with Professors Louise Anderson (Plant Biochemistry) and John Boyer (Plant Physiology). In 1984 he moved to the University of California, Berkeley to work with Professor Norman Terry (Plant Nutrition) as an Assistant Specialist.
In 1989, Dr. Rao accepted a Senior Scientist position at CIAT in the Tropical Pastures Program to work on the mechanisms of adaptation of tropical forage species to acid soils and to contribute to the multidisciplinary team working on mechanistic understanding of soil-plant-animal relationships in legume-based tropical pastures. In 1997, he was given the additional responsibility to work with the Bean team on improving abiotic stress tolerance in common bean and the Soils team to overcome soil degradation in the tropics. He worked at CIAT for 27 years and has contributed to the development of abiotic stress (soils and climate)-adapted tropical forage and common bean germplasm options for sustainable intensification of crop-livestock systems in the tropics.
Dr. Rao worked across a wide range of agricultural research areas including plant physiology, plant nutrition, agronomy, plant-soil-livestock-climate interactions, and climate variability and change, mostly related to the sustainable intensification of crop-livestock systems especially for smallholders in marginalized environments. He worked as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 40 international research projects. As part of multidisciplinary teams, he has made contributions that impacted on smallholder agriculture through improved food and nutritional security and natural resource management to fulfill United Nations’ recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end extreme poverty and tackling the climate change.
Dr. Rao has published 185 journal articles and 61 book chapters. He won the outstanding principal staff award from CIAT in 2000 and outstanding research publication awards in 1999, 2003, 2009 and 2011. He was also part of the CIAT team that won the excellence in science award from the CGIAR for outstanding partnership in 2001.
Dr. Rao is currently working as a visiting scientist at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Peoria, Illinois, USA. Dr. Rao is married to Kusuma and he has two daughters, Madhuri and Subhashini.
Plant Cell Physiology
Agrobiodiversity Research Area
After obtaining a B.Sc. in Biology at the Universidad Nacional Agraria, La Molina, Peru, W. Roca was awarded with a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. USA, in Plant Cell Physiology under Prof. F.C.Steward. Following a Post-doctoral stage at Cornell, Dr. Roca joined CIP, Lima in 1973; five years later, he moved to CIAT as a Plant Cell Physiologist. While leading CIAT Genetic Resources Unit, Dr. Roca developed in vitro culture techniques for the conservation and distribution of cassava clones, and started cryopreservation of cassava shoot tips.
In 1986, Dr. Roca was instrumental in the creation and development of CIAT Biotechnology Research Unit, hence formalizing biotechnology R&D for the first time in the CGIAR. This Unit allowed Roca to work and develop the use of double haploid rice lines and bean interspecific hybrid lines in breeding programs; the BRU also allowed Roca to broaden CIAT’s research to molecular /biochemical and cellular technologies for the characterization, genetic mapping and assisted selection /breeding , and genetic modification with all CIAT crops.
After 22 years work at CIAT, Dr. Roca moved back to CIP, Lima, in 2000, where he became leader of biodiversity research and head of the genebank, managing, studying and conserving the world largest root & tuber crop collections, including in vitro, seed and in situ conservation of potatoes, sweetpotatoes and a range of Andean root and tuber crops.
Throughout his career Dr. Roca received several academic and professional distinctions, including the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Medal on Biotechnology presented by REDBIO and FAO, the CIAT Outstanding Senior Staff Achievement Award, and was distinguished as Academician by the LAC Academy of Sciences, as well as the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Cornell Chapter. Dr Roca has also conducted a number of reviews and evaluations of biotechnology and genetic resources programs and projects, including the recent coordination of the first half of the LAC Biosafety multi-country project supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank.
Dr. Roca is author and co-author of 45 refereed journal publications, of several invited book chapters and manuals, and editor/coauthor of a multi-author book; he has also co-authored an invention patent and a variety registration. Currently, Dr. Roca is a Consultant in Genetic Resources and Biotechnology.
Dr. Roca is married to María del Rosario Delgado. They have two children, Eduardo and Claudia.
Tropical Forages Program
Professor Rainer Schultze-Kraft is an agronomist, specialized in tropical pastures and forages since 1970. During 1973–1976, he conducted the research for his PhD project at CIAT and the Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; and worked from 1976 until 1991 at the then CIAT Tropical Pastures Program. In 1991, he was appointed as a professor for Pastures and Forages in the Tropics and Subtropics at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, where he worked until his retirement in 2007.
At CIAT, Prof. Schultze-Kraft established the Center’s collection of tropical forage germplasm adapted to acid, low-fertility soils, mainly legumes and mostly via collecting expeditions that he led, in collaboration with national partner institutions in tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Besides his plant introduction work, he was also involved in agronomic evaluation of forage germplasm as well as in activities within the International Tropical Pasture Evaluation Network (RIEPT, its Spanish acronym). At the University of Hohenheim, besides postgraduate teaching he led a number of research projects in the areas of tropical forages and biodiversity, engaging MSc and PhD students in tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
He co-authored over 250 scientific publications. Since his retirement from the University of Hohenheim, he has been an advisor to the CIAT Tropical Forages Program. Today he is co-editor of the online bilingual journal Tropical Grasslands–Forrajes Tropicales, created in 2012.
Nguyen Van Bo
Soils, plant nutrition and cropping systems
Nguyen Van Bo, born in 1954, is currently a CIAT Emerirus, Principal Scientist of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), and independent adviser. He got a Bachelor in Agriculture from the Cuban Agricultural University, Russia, in 1978 and a PhD in Biology from the Moscow State University, Russia, in 1988.
Dr. Bo worked as Director General at the National Institute for Soils and Fertilizers (1994–1999); Director General of the Department of Science and Technology, MARD (1999–2005); President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (2006–2014).
His main research experience includes soil fertility, plant nutrition, soil conservation, land degradation and desertification, and cropping systems. Recently, Dr. Bo spends most of his time for research on land-use, food security, agricultural environment, and climate change issues. Dr. Bo is author/co-author of 14 books and over 60 papers published in Vietnamese and international journals.
Dr. Bo has been a member of many national and international organizations, networks, and programs: i) Deputy Chair and Secretary General of Science and Technology Council, MARD; ii) Steering Committee of National Committee for Climate change in Agriculture; iii) Member of the Vietnam Panel on Climate Change; iv) Member of Vietnam (in charge for agriculture) inter-govenmental Vietnam-US Science and Technology Committee; v) Chair of Editorial Board of Journal “Agricultural Science and Technology”; vi) Member of the CGIAR-CCAFS Commission for Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change; vii) Member of the ACIAR Policy Advisory Committee. Dr. Bo is also focal point for collaboration with IRRI, ICRISAT, CIAT, ICRAF, CIP, APAARI, CABI, CIRAD, and IRD; vii) Member of the Foresight and STI Strategy Team-Vietnam’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy Period 2011–2020; viii) President of the Platform “Markets and Agriculture Linkages for Cities in Asia-MALICA;” ix) Member of the Council for Partnership on Rice Research in Asia; x) Chairman of the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative-AFACI, among others. He also lectures MSc and PhD students.
Dr. Bo has been awarded with the Medal of Labour of the 1st category of Vietnam; Medal of Merit for the Cause of Science and Technology; Agriculture and Rural Development; “Order du Merite Agricole” from France; and Medal from the Australian Crawford Fund (Australia), among others.
Dr. Anthony C. Bellotti obtained his Associate degree in Plant Protection Technology from Long Island Agricultural and Technical Institute, New York, in 1957. He received his BSc degree in Agricultural Biology from New Mexico State University in 1967 and his PhD in Entomology (Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology) from Cornell University in New York in 1974. From 1957 to 1961 he was a laboratory technician for Baxter Laboratories, New York City. In 1962–1963 he was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador, Central America, working with the National Center for Agricultural and Forestry Technology (CENTA, its Spanish acronym). From 1967 to 1970 he was a US Foreign Service Officer assigned to the Peace Corps and Agricultural Extension Service (SEA) in Paraguay, South America. In 1974, Dr. Bellotti joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as an Entomologist for the Center’s Cassava and Bean programs.
In 1975, he became a full-time entomologist with the Cassava program and remained at that position until 2006. In 1978–1979 he was outposted as a visiting researcher with the National Cassava and Fruits Research Center (CNPMF, its Portuguese acronym) of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA, its Portuguese acronym). From 1979–1980 and 1989–1990, he was Leader of CIAT’s Cassava Research Program, and from 1995–2004 he was Coordinator of CIAT’s Pest and Disease Management Project. Dr. Bellotti participated in several international pest management projects, including biological control of cassava mealybugs and mites in Africa and Asia and the Global Whitefly IPM Project. He was a guest lecturer in tropical entomology at the University of Florida, USA, and an active participant in numerous national and international congresses, workshops, and symposiums.
He authored or co-authored over 250 international publications and book chapters, and received numerous national and international awards for research and services rendered for the international agricultural development and research community.
He will be remembered for his enormous professional accomplishments, which advanced the knowledge of cassava entomology from its infancy to maturity, opening the way for major contributions to improved livelihoods for cassava farmers around the world.