Speakers

Here, we will present the list of speakers and moderators with a short bio sketch in alphabetical order to give you an overview about their individual field of expertise.

Last update: March 26, 2024


ABDELFATTAH, Ahmed
I am a researcher and head of the working group Microbiome Management at the Department of Microbiome Biotechnology, Leibniz Institute of Agriculture engineering and Bio-economy (ATB), Potsdam. Microbiome management working group focuses on the assembly, interaction, and function of the microbiome of environmental and natural ecosystems. I was a Marie Curie Fellow at Graz University of technology (TU Graz) with the project applebiome (https://applebiome.com/), a former postdoc at Stockholm University, and Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria. I received my doctoral degree in 2016 from Palermo University, in Agro-forestry sciences. I am focused on understanding how plant-associated microbes are transmitted
between generations and how global change may influence their community composition. The main goals of Microbiome Management are to understanding the interlinked effects of the microbiome in circular bio economy; Developing microbiome-based products and microbiome management strategies; and establishing integrative, eco-evolutionary understanding of microbiomes for sustainable future.
BEYERL, Katharina
is a psychologist with focus on environmental psychology. She holds a doctorate in Geography from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Since 2012, she has been working at the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam RIFS (formerly IASS), Germany. Her research focuses on perceptions of the socio-ecological crisis and coping strategies to support a transition to more sustainable lifestyles. Since 2022, she has been leading the junior research group "Social, economic and ecological effects of participatory, sustainable food production" [pane] at the Technische Universität Berlin and the RIFS. The [pane]-project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The aim of the junior research group is to scientifically accompany fifteen community-supported agriculture initiatives in structurally weak, rural regions of Germany in a transdisciplinary approach to investigate the impacts on individuals, communities and nature.
CHAHINE, Anne S.
(she/her) is a practice-based researcher with an interest in multimodal, collaborative, arts-based, and decolonial approaches to knowledge-making, research methods, and visual anthropology. She works as a Research Associate in the Arctic Governance Group at the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS) and received her PhD from the Anthropology Department at Aarhus University in Denmark.
DARVISHI, Asef
My research plans are basic concepts and developing new conceptual and methodological frameworks to solve environmental problems in a changing world (from nature domination to human domination). As a landscape ecologist (PhD), I investigate complex relationships between landscape patterns, processes, and services in the socio-ecological systems as an Integrated Hierarchical Landscape Services (IHLS). My research perspective is based on landscape complexity management in a holistic and integrated manner to design landscape composition and configuration to identify how and where should be protected or managed. This approach can help us enhance biodiversity and be dynamic against future changes such as land use and climate change and their effect on biodiversity distribution”

DOERING, Nina
has been leading the RIFS Arctic Governance Group since June 2021. Her interests are focused on research ethics, knowledge co-creation / co-production, and decolonial approaches to Arctic research. Before joining RIFS, she completed a DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment. In her dissertation, she engaged with public participation, democratic decision-making, and extractive resource management in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland).
FOURNIER, Bertrand
is a Junior Professor at the University of Potsdam, where he has been leading the Landscape Ecology Group since 2020. The aim of his research is to uncover the underlying mechanisms that shape the spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity within anthropogenic landscapes, including urban environments, agricultural areas, and restored ecosystems. By focusing on these human-influenced landscapes, he aims to shed light on how human activities impact biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to inform conservation efforts and land management strategies, ensuring the preservation and restoration of biodiversity for future generations.
GERLACH, Viola
studied Political Science and Sociology in Stuttgart (Germany) and Florence (Italy), and holds a PhD in Sociology. Her research focuses on understanding and strengthening the transformative potentials of entrepreneurship. She works as a facilitator at the international level, bringing together decision-makers and researchers in order to bridge the gap between knowledge and action.

At the RIFS, she is involved in both transformation research and transformative research that examines the efforts of entrepreneurs to become responsible actors in the eco-social-system and explores opportunities to support the co-creation of responsible solutions by entrepreneurs, policymakers and scientists.
H. BASAVEGOWDA , Deepak
is a doctoral researcher in Engineering Sciences with a secondary in Data Science at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB, Potsdam) and TU Berlin. After completing his post-graduate studies in Mechatronics at the University of Siegen, he started working as a research fellow under Prof. Dr.-Ing. Cornelia Weltzien in the Department of Agromechatronics at ATB, Potsdam.
His research focuses on the application of geospatial technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) for the autonomous monitoring of agricultural landscapes, with a focus on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. In his Ph.D. thesis, he is working on the development of a semi-autonomous monitoring system using drones and deep learning to monitor biodiversity in grassland habitats. He is qualified and experienced in image data analysis, remote sensing, and predictive and generative AI.
HOFFMANN, Tuany Gabriela
is graduated in Chemical Engineering from the University of Blumenau - FURB (2017). She holds a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from the same university (2019) and a specialization in Food Safety Management from the SENAC/SP University Center (2019). She worked in the food industry for two years and as a researcher engineer and adjunct professor at the University of Blumenau (FURB), conducting research in the areas of food preservation, refrigeration systems, and technological packaging. Currently, she is a PhD researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin and scientist and PhD representative at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy e.V. (ATB) in the Department System Process Engineering. She is also a committee member of the Young Professionals Network of the European Society of Agricultural Engineers.

LADU, Luana
is the coordinator of the STAR4BBS project. She is a senior research Fellow at the Chair of Innovation Economics of the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) and at the department of Digitalization of Quality Infrastructure at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM). She conducts research in the field of innovation economics and sustainability focusing on sustainability assessment, standardization, conformity assessment and regulation. She is involved in the implementation of different horizon projects aimed to facilitate the transition to a sustainable circular bio-based economy. Before joining TUB and BAM, she worked in the field of international development, with a focus on education & labour market reforms, digitalization and ICT for development. She holds a PhD in Economics from the Technische Universität Berlin (Germany), a M. Sc. in Economics from UFBA (Brazil) and a Degree in Law and Business Administration (Master equivalent) from Bocconi University (Italy).
LINGNER, Isabel
is the student assistant in the Arctic Governance group at RIFS. She recently co-authored the report of our Week of Exchange on Ethics and Methods in Arctic Transformative Research, which took place in Oulu, Finland in October 2023. In addition to her work at RIFS, she is doing her Masters in Global Change Management at the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde and working as a student assistant at the Robert Bosch Foundation in the Climate Change department.
MIROSHNYK, Nataliia
is a senior researcher at the Institute for Evolutionary Ecology NAS Ukraine, Kyiv.

Her field of research is biodiversity, ecology and ecosystem evolution, plant invasions, landscape ecology, environmental conservation, management, urban green infrastructure, forests, sustainability, air pollution and climate change interactions. Her PhD study was on the impact of air pollution on pine forests (2011) with the Institute of Agroecology and Nature Management NAS Ukraine, Kyiv. Currently she is leading a project at the Institute for Evolutionary Ecology NAS Ukraine "Bio-indication assessment of the state park ecosystems in conditions of urbanization" (2022-2026). She was a Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) from Sep 2022 until December 2023 where she focused to assess the state of green infrastructure (park ecosystems and plant diversity) in cities in Germany (Würzburg, Berlin) and Ukraine (Kyiv, Vinnitsa, Chernihiv) depending on air quality (traffic flow), degree of urbanisation, climate change, effects of war Russia and Ukraine 2022 to sustainable development. She studies and compares changes in urban green infrastructure in terms of proportion, quality (health of park ecosystems) and structure under different conditions of urbanisation, traffic and climate change impacts that affect the ability to perform ecosystem services, in particular biodiversity conservation.
MORIN, Evie
is a Research Associate at the RIFS. She is interested in co-creative research methods and supporting Indigenous rights and self-determination. Her projects have focused on supporting the exchange of knowledge and expertise to improve collaboration between Indigenous rights holders, environmental and other non-governmental organizations, local stakeholders, researchers, and policy makers to strengthen the conservation and restoration of biocultural diversity in the Arctic and on connecting best practices for co-created research across the Arctic.

OHSE, Bettina
is a research fellow at the University of Potsdam with a focus on forest ecosystem dynamics. In her current research, she combines disturbance ecology and functional biodiversity research to quantify long-term variations in biodiversity and ecosystem function in temperate forests. She is fascinated by trees as very long-lived organisms that face a multitude of challenges across their life-time, such as climate change, herbivory, natural disturbances, or impacts from forest management. Several of her projects relate to improving species conservation and forest resilience. She has experience working in remote areas, designing and leading field-experiments, as well as applying big-data synthesis. Bettina studied at the Universities of Greifswald (Germany) and Fairbanks (Alaska/USA) and holds a MSc degree in Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation. She received her PhD from the University of Leipzig and held Postdoc positions at the Leuphana University Lueneburg and at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). Her research has been reported on public broadcasting and in the international press. She also founded a nature education NGO in Germany and a Nature School in Estonia.
OROZCO, Richard J.
completed his doctoral studies in the field of Economics and Governance of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in January 2024. After obtaining his bachelor degree on Supply Chain Management at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA, he moved to Germany and studied Integrated Natural Resource Management at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Since 2019, he works at the ATB and has been involved in several innovation projects including GO-GRASS (https://www.go-grass.eu/) and MarginUp! (https://margin-up.eu/). He employs a variety of methods including business modelling, institutional analysis and machine learning. He aims to shed the light on the complexity of innovation processes and the interlinkages between technologies, nature and people. This is urgent in view of pressing socio-economic and ecological challenges resulting from misalignments of strategies and processes at the level of individuals, businesses and their environments. Since 2022, he has also served as Bioeconomy Youth Ambassador for the International Advisory Council on Global Bioeconomy (IACGB).
ROSSI, Giacomo
is a doctoral researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Agriculture Engineering and Bio-economy (ATB) in Potsdam. After completing a Master program on Food technology and Biotechnology at the University of Perugia in Italy, he has been involved in a 6-months Erasmus internship at Wageningen University (the Netherlands), during which he developed an innovative system for high precision counting of insects’ eggs. In 2019 he started his PhD program with focus on the evaluation of quality and safety of edible insects reared for feed purposes. His research focus on the use of edible insects in the modern food and feed sector, touching several fields, from the cultivation of insects on alternative substrate to processing and extraction of valuable compounds. He is also active on the study of insect-mediated waste bioconversion as well as on the evaluation of the environmental impact of edible insects.
SCHLUETER, Oliver
received his Ph.D. in food technology at the Berlin University of Technology and received his habilitation in food technology 2019 at the Dresden University of Technology. Since 2003, he is a senior scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB). Dr Schlüter is spokesperson of the ATB program area on healthy foods, designated vice-head of the department of systems process engineering and head of the ATB microbiology lab. He is adjunct professor at the University of Bologna and he is supervising PhD students, Master students and Bachelor students. The research in his working group on bio-efficient food processing focuses on emerging technologies in primary food production and food processing, including non-destructive quality and safety monitoring. Among others, Dr. Schlüter is the Chair of the Technical Board of CIGR Section VI: Bioprocesses, Chair of EFFoST Standing Committee on Careers Development & Education, and Chairman of the annual international conference INSECTA.
SCHMITT, Susanne
is an anthropologist (PhD), artist, and facilitator. She creates contact zones between species, disciplines, and institutions. Those include minature bars for extinct insects (with Katrin Petroschkat), hacked audio guides for Natural History Museums (with choreographer Laurie Young), nail salons that raise questions about touch between species (Haptic Hortus, 2022), and excursions into millinery and its environmental histories, read through AI-powered species recognition apps ("To be of Service. Speculative millinery's tiny worlds of consequence, 2023). As a facilitator, she loves running barcamps and facilitates transdisciplinary collaborations (which she also teaches at unviversity level, e.g. at TU Munich).

Susanne was Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS)/Helmholtz Center Potsdam in 2022 and 2023 and is now head of STEAM projects at the Museum für Naturkunde Bayern with BIOTOPIA Lab in Munich. www.susanneschmitt.org
SHAH, Meera
is an enthusiastic environmentalist and a passionate advocate for climate action. She combines experience in agricultural policy research and food systems transformation in Africa, corporate social responsibility, wildlife conservation, and climate-positive peacebuilding, to carve out new pathways for sustainable development. Having grown up in Kenya, she focuses her energy on two key challenges facing Africa: climate change and food security. Meera is the Programme Manager for Enhancing Agricultural Adaptation at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, seeking to identify opportunities to mobilise more climate finance for agricultural adaptation. Previously, Meera was a Research Associate with the Malabo Montpellier Panel, based at Imperial College London where she co-authored eight policy-oriented reports on agrifood systems in Africa, specifically on digitalization, energy, livestock, trade, bioeconomy, climate finance, and women. In addition to her role at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Meera is also a Trustee for GanzAfrica, and a member of the Steering Group for Initiatives of Land, Lives, and Peace. Meera was the Corporate Relations Manager at Save the Rhino International, Office Manager at E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism, and a Researcher and Team Administrator at Accountability. Between roles, she has completed several internships at think tanks and conservation organizations including Environmental Law Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Chatham House, and Global Call for Climate Action. Meera holds a Masters in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick.

STURM, Barbara
is Scientific Director at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) and Vice-President of the Leibniz Association. In a joint appointment, she holds the professorship "Agricultural Engineering in Bioeconomic Systems" at the Humboldt University of Berlin and she is President of the European Association of Agricultural Engineers EurAgEng and founding member of the working group on circular bioeconomy systems of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering CIGR.
After studying process and environmental engineering in Constance, she completed her doctorate at the University of Kassel and initially conducted research at the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability at Newcastle University. In her scientific work, Barbara Sturm focusses on system approaches to resource-efficient food processing and energy and process efficiency in food processing and animal husbandry. She is focussing on innovative process control systems and the use of digital twins.
TANG, Matthias
studied politics and communications. He has worked as a journalist, was deputy press spokesman for the Green Party parliamentary group in the German Bundestag and, most recently, press spokesman for the Berlin Senate Administration for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection. Matthias joined RIFS (former IASS) in November 2018, where he heads the institute's Press & Communications unit. He is particularly fascinated by the institute's focus on co-creating transformative knowledge for a sustainable future.
TREAT, Claire
is the Young Research Group Leader for Permafrost Region Greenhouse gas fluxes at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) since 2020. Her research focuses on the response of greenhouse gas fluxes from northern ecosystems to environmental changes resulting from factors such as climate warming, permafrost thaw, longer duration of soil thaw, and interannual variability. In 2019, Treat received an ERC Starting Grant for her project “The role of non-growing season processes in the methane and nitrous oxide budgets in pristine northern ecosystems (FluxWIN).” She has led several working groups in international research networks including the Permafrost Carbon Network and Carbon in Peatlands Network. She has also given invited talks at leading international conferences and given seminars at top-ranked universities and research institutes in the U.S. and Europe. Treat earned her PhD in 2014 from the University of New Hampshire, USA. Prior to joining AWI, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Finland, Alaska, and New Hampshire, USA. Her field work takes her to Finland and Alaska, where she spends lots of time in wetlands and tundra. She lives in Potsdam, Germany with her wife and dog and enjoys skiing and badminton
VIRAH-SAWMY, Malika
is a facilitator, systems scientist, activist, and storyteller, who is passionate about activating social transformation. She provides inspiration and leadership on systems change with institutions such as the UN, NGOs, with companies and with social movements. She is dedicated to social justice, community living, nature connection, and North-South healing and reconciliation. She has worked the last 20 years on social transformation across the world from Asia, Australia, Africa to South America. Her work is rooted in theory and practice in systems change, collective leadership, futures thinking, innovation, learning, embodiment, and healing.

WELTZIEN, Cornelia
is Head of Department “Agromechatronics” (formerly Engineering for Crop Production) and Speaker of the program area “Diversified Crop Production” at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB, Potsdam). In a joint professorship, she holds the Chair of Agro Mechatronics at the Technical University Berlin since 2015.
After studying agricultural engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne, she completed her postgraduate studies in mechanical engineering at Technical University Braunschweig in 2006. In 2008, Cornelia Weltzien received her doctorate at the Institute for Agricultural Machinery and Fluid Technology. Before joining ATB, she was part of an interdisciplinary advanced engineering team in industry, developing electro-hydraulic control systems for mobile working machinery. Her area of expertise is precision agriculture, automation of agricultural processes, smart systems, digitalization in agriculture and field robotics. In the project DAKIS, she is focusing on the development of a semi-autonomous monitoring system using drones and AI to monitor biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. She is a nationally and internationally recognized elite researcher in the field of digital agriculture.
WINDIRSCH, Torben
is a geoecologist specialising in ecosystem and land use research in the terrestrial Arctic. He studied geoecology at the University of Potsdam, where he finished his PhD in geochemistry on animal-permafrost-interactions in early 2024. With a strong focus on herbivore management, he aims to develop sustainable and climate change-mitigating land use strategies in Arctic areas in a co-creative, community-based and transdisciplinary approach.