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We welcome Robel Takele, Jemal Seid Ahmed, Svenja Mager and Leonardo Caproni from the Center of Plant Sciences as Affiliates of the Department of Excellence L’EMbeDS

Publication date: 16.10.2023
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Robel Takele, Jemal Seid Ahmed, Svenja Mager and Leonardo Caproni, researchers at the Center of Plant Sciences, have become official affiliates of L’EMbeDS in July 2023.

Robel Takele is an agrometereologist from Ethiopia, currently a PhD student in agrobiodiversity.  He is a specialist of crop-climate models with experience in the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the international center for maize and wheat improvement (CIMMYT). In his research, Robel uses remote sensing data and climate models to study the impacts of climate change on agriculture. He has developed an R package called AquaBEHER, which is currently used by Meteorology Services in sub-Saharan Africa to forecast the onset of the rain season based on a soil water balance model. In his current PhD work, he is aiming at tailoring crop models to local agriculture to produce a lasting impact on farming communities.

Jemal Seid Ahmed is also an agrometereologist, with a background in atmospheric physics, currently pursuing a PhD in agrobiodiversity. Jemal has been a consultant of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, East Africa, and Director of Climate and Geospatial Research Program at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). He is leading and contributed to the development of the Ethiopian Digital AgroClimate Advisory Platform (EDACaP), BigData based Wheat Rust Surveillance and Prediction System and the Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) for the Global South with FAO, Columbia University, Cambridge University, CIMMYT and Alliance CIAT-Bioversity. In his current research, he is focusing on blending gridded climate data, ground observations, and soil water balance models to improve skills of climate prediction and climate information services that is used to support agricultural decisions in the horn of Africa and beyond.

Svenja Mager is a PostDoc with an expertise in genomics spanning from algae to plants. Her research focuses on the production and analysis of DNA sequencing data, primarily from plants. She uses bioinformatics to characterize collections of plant and microorganism diversity, and to relate this diversity to traits of interest, such as productivity or stress resistance. Her findings have helped to identify genetic markers that are associated with important traits, such as resistance to drought and disease. This information can be used to improve crop productivity.

Leonardo Caproni is an Assistant Professor at the Sant'Anna School with a background on adaptation genomics. He works on the production and analysis of DNA sequencing data generated by second and third generation technologies. In his research, bioinformatics is combined with climate science to characterize processes of natural adaptation in collections of diversity of cultivated plant species. His research lines include genome-wide association studies and genetic mapping of traits, exploiting methodologies based on machine learning, deep learning and AI.