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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.


Professor Paul Gepts

Paul Gepts is Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis, USA. Dr Gepts' main research interest is the study of crop biodiversity for the purposes of conservation and application to breeding programs, with a focus on Phaseolus beans (black, pinto, kidney, yellow beans, etc.). In addition, Professor Gepts and his team develop a range of molecular resources which are of interest to the global bean breeder community.


Professor Gepts is the Scientific Leader and Coordinator of the Kirkhouse Trust African Bean Consortium (ABC). His research group hosts African ABC students for short-term training.


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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Dr Joseph DeVries

Dr Joe DeVries has worked in agricultural development projects in Africa for over three decades. In 2006 he co-founded the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and established and led the Program for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS) dedicated to increase the capacity to breed, produce and disseminate quality seed in eighteen African countries. In 2019 he founded the Seed Systems Group (SSG), of which he is also President. SSG is devoted to develop a sustainable quality seed supply in the African countries which were not included in the PASS programme.

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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.