Keynote speakers


ICREA Research Professor at Universitat de Lleida (UdL).
Life & Medical Sciences


Talk title: "Third generation plant biotechnology products to address the Food-Feed-Nutrition-Health nexus".


Short biography

BS Chemistry & PhD Plant Biochemistry, University College London. Senior Scientist at Agracetus Inc., Madison, WI, USA, where he developed genetic transformation technology that lead his group to generate the first commercial crop sold by Monsanto (Roundup Ready Soybean). Subsequently Head of Molecular Biotechnology Unit, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK-led the Tropical Maize and Rice Biotechnology Laboratory sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. Head Crop Genetics & Biotechnology Department, Fraunhofer Institute Molecular Biotechnology & Applied Ecology, Aachen, Germany. Currently at Universitat de Lleida as an ICREA Professor & Head of the Applied Plant Biotechnology Laboratory. Founding Director Agrotecnio CERCA Center, 2013-2015. Recipient of ERC Advanced Grant BIOFORCE and ERC PoC Grant Multinutrient Maize. Received 2 Bill & Melinda Gate's grants, one ongoing. PI in 12 EU projects over past 25 years 2 as coordinator and 2 as deputy coordinator.




Research Director at ENEA, Rome.


Talk title: "Convergent evolution of crocin biosynthesis in higher plants".


Short biography

Giovanni Giuliano is Research Director at ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development) in Rome. He holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of Pisa and did postdoctoral studies at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the University of Pennsylvania. His main research interests are on plant carotenoid biosynthesis, genomics and metabolic engineering. He received the Award of the Italian Minister of Culture, by the Italian Academy of Sciences (2016) and chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Carotenoids (2018).




Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy and School of Medicine at Tufts University.


Talk title: "Lutein as a part of a nutrient pattern for brain health".


Short biography

Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D. obtained her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did her postdoctoral work at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University where she is currently an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy and School of Medicine at Tufts University. Her research interests are in nutrition and healthy aging with an emphasis on phytonutrients and age-related visual and cognitive function. She has been involved in numerous clinical and epidemiologic studies and has collaborations with academia, industry and government agencies. Dr. Johnson has membership with the American College of Nutrition, International Carotenoid Society, Carotenoid Research Interactive Group, American Society for Nutrition, and Global Phytonutrient Society. Dr. Johnson also has editorial roles at Food Reviews International and Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly.




Professor of Nutrition at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland.


Talk title: "Pro-vitamin A Carotenoids in Foods: Nutritional Significance in Developing World Countries".


Short biography

Following her BSc (Food Science) from University College Cork, Nora O’Brien completed a Masters in Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Louvain.  She was appointed to a faculty position in Nutrition at University College Cork in 1990.  Her research programme on the relationship between nutrition and health, including extensive work on bioactivity and bioavailability of carotenoids, has grown very successfully over the years with many competitive grant awards from national and international funding sources.  Nora has supervised over 50 individuals at Masters, PhD and Post-doctoral levels.  Her work has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed research publications in the international scientific literature as well as numerous conference presentations.  Nora is a member of EUROCAROTEN and Leader of Working Group 2; Quality Along the Food Chain.




Investigator at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).


Talk Title: “Carotenoids – are we ready for dietary intake recommendations?".


Short biography

Dr. Torsten Bohn is a principal investigator at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH). He is a Food Scientist and Nutritionist by training, with a PhD in Human Nutrition obtained from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich). Following his doctoral work on mineral bioavailability which received the Nestle Nutrition Price Switzerland he pursued a post-doc at the Ohio State University, focusing on the bioavailability and bioactivity of secondary plant compounds, specifically soy isoflavonoids and carotenoids. In Luxembourg at the Institute of Science and Technology as well as the LIH he has focused on the digestion and absorption of polyphenols and carotenoids and their relation to oxidative stress and inflammation. He has around 100 publications (H-factor 32, Google). Dr. Bohn is likewise Editor-in-Chief of the Int J Vitam Nutr Res and adjunct associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg where he is lecturing.




Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.


Talk Title: "Carotenoids and derivatives for the industry: Traditional, emerging and prospective applications".


Short biography

Dr. Meléndez has a PhD in Pharmacy from Universidad de Sevilla (2005), where he is Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. He carries out his research in the Food Colour & Quality group ( He has multidisciplinary training on carotenoids and other dietary compounds acquired at Universidad de Sevilla (Food Science, Food Colour & Quality group), University of Liverpool (Biologial Sciences, G. Britton´s lab), University of London (Plant Sciences, P. Fraser and P. Bramley´s lab) and USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University, Boston (Nutrition and Health. X-D. Wang´s lab.). He has been a fellow of very competitive international and national research programmes like Marie Curie, Juan de la Cierva and Ramon y Cajal . He was the coordinator of the CYTED-funded ( “Ibero-American network for the study of CARS as food ingredients (IBERCAROT)”, which was highlighted by its perfomance ( He is Chair of the COST action “European network to advance carotenoid research and applications in agro-food and health” (, that brings together stakeholders from over 35 countries. Some of his awards and achievements are the Extraordinary Prize of Doctorate of Universidad de Sevilla (2006), the
Manuel Losada Villasante Award to the Excellence in Agrifood Research (2014) and the
International Carotenoid Society George Britton Award for Young Investigator (2014).
He is Fellow and an elected councilor of the International Carotenoid Society.He has published over 90 papers and has been an invited speaker in several international congreses. Currently he is the principal investigator of several research projects and contracts. He referees research activities for funding agencies from Europea and America and the EU as well as papers for more than 40 journals. Currently he serves in the editorial board of 3 of them. 





Talk Title: "Health Claims and Nutrition Information".


Short biography

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB, 1987-). Director of LBNB (Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology) of the (UIB) (1995-), CIBERobn (2006-) and IDISBA (2015-). The main research is in the field of Molecular Nutrition and Food Science. The main discovery has been the new function of Leptin in breast milk, which absence predisposes to obesity in adulthood. Around 350 articles (h-index: 49). Conferences in Spain and abroad (15-20/y). International and National Awards such as "Hipocrates” (Asturias, 2008); Nutrition and Health (Univ. Navarra, 2011). Lifetime trajectory (Spanish society SEEDO, 2011) and the National Award "Dupont" on Science (2013). At the UIB he has been Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Vice-Rector for academic staff, planning and research. Chair of 3 EU large collaborative projects/contracts, including BIOCLAIMS (2010-2015). Second Vice-Chair of the Scientific Committee on Food (2000-02). Vice-chair of the Scientific Panel of Nutrition of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) (2002-2009). Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency of Food Safety and Nutrition (2003-2011).

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