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Dr Robert Koebner

Dr Robert Koebner provides advice and direction to research projects and students supported by the Kirkhouse Trust (KT). After over 20 years' experience as a wheat geneticist, first at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, UK, and later at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, he has been associated with KT since 2006.

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Professor Michael P. Timko

Michael P. Timko is the Lewis and Clark Professor of Biology and Public Health Science, and Director of Human Biology DMP at the University of Virginia, USA. Dr Timko and his team In Virginia are researching the functional genomics of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) and the molecular genetics of host plant and non-host plant resistance to parasitism by the root hemiparasite Striga gesnerioides and its relatives at the Timko Laboratory.


Professor Timko provides scientific guidance and coordination to all KT's legume breeding programmes. His group provides short-term training to KT-funded African PIs and students.

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Dr María Muñoz-Amatriaín

Dr María Muñoz-Amatriaín is a 'Beatriz Galindo' distinguished researcher at the University of León, Spain. She has previously worked at Colorado State University and the University of California, Riverside, USA. Her research focuses on legumes, mostly cowpea because of its major importance as a protein-rich food and feed in many food insecure regions of the world. She is very involved in the development of genetic and genomic resources for cowpea and their use to understand the genetics of important traits, including heat and drought tolerance. The ultimate goal of her research is to improve global food security and sustainability of cropping systems.

Dr Muñoz-Amatriaín joined KT's team of consultants in April 2022. She provides scientific advice and guidance to the African Cowpea Programme.


Dr Travis Parker

Dr Travis Parker, Professional Researcher, University California Davis, USA. Dr Parker completed his PhD in 2020 in plant biology and a post-doctoral fellowship in Professor Paul Gepts’ lab. Dr Parker’s research interests include the genetic basis of complex traits in common bean. As a plant breeder, he has developed and released five common bean varieties. Teaching is another of his passions, and he has developed and taught a course (PLS 198: Drones in Agriculture) at UC Davis. Dr Parker has trained several KT students since 2017, in several topics, including molecular biology techniques, the use of drones and video-making in research.  Dr Parker also has an educational YouTube channel on methods related to plant sciences and agriculture.

Dr Parker provides scientific guidance to the Kirkhouse Trust African Bean Consortium (ABC) and also advises KT's cowpea breeding projects.


Dr Prem N. Mathur 

Dr Prem N. Mathur was Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT's Regional Representative for Central and South Asia and remains engaged with several of global and regional activities relating to conservation and use of agrobiodiversity. Prior to joining Bioversity, he served at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) as Principal Scientist. Dr Mathur also served as national coordinator for the ICAR-NBPGR-ICRISAT collaborative programme on genetic resources, and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Oxford Forestry Institute, Oxford, UK. Currently he is engaged with Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT as Advisor (Agricultural Biodiversity Expert – Tropical Fruit Trees) and with UNDP-India as Senior Technical Advisor (Sustainable Land Management).

Dr Mathur is the Scientific Leader and Coordinator of the Kirkhouse Trust Stress Tolerant Orphan Legumes (STOL) projects.

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