Fern Wickson is Senior Scientist and Program Coordinator of the Society, Ecology and Ethics Department (SEED) at Genøk Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway. In this position she works as a cross-disciplinary researcher focused on advancing sustainable agriculture, responsible innovation and resilient socio-ecological futures. Originally trained in both ecology and political science, she completed an interdisciplinary PhD across the Arts and Science faculties on the use of science in political decision-making on the environmental release of genetically modified crops. She is currently project leader for biodiverSEEDy and The Agri/Cultures Project but in the past has worked on a range of international projects related to environmental philosophy and ethics, the politics of risk and uncertainty, transdisciplinary research, and public participation with science and technology. She is engaged in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and is a member of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board. She enjoys hiking through wild landscapes, attempting to grow her own food, and is constantly inspired by the beauty and diversity of life on earth.
Sarah Agapito completed a PhD (2011-2014) in plant genetics with the Crop Science Department at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil. She undertook a Master of Plant Genetics at the Federal University of Santa Catarina and a Bachelor Degree in Agronomy from that same university in 2008. Sarah was appointed to the UN Roster of Biosafety Experts in 2013 by the Brazilian Government and has been actively participating in the Network of Laboratories for the Detection and Identification of Living Modified Organisms hosted by the Biosafety Clearing House Portal as part of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Her research experience includes plant breeding, plant genetic diversity and conservation, and risk assessment of genetically modified organisms. Specific expertise includes: molecular characterization of plant-pathogen systems, in vitro techniques for its use in conservation of wild species, the biochemical and genetic characterization of transgenic crop plants and transgene flow to wild relatives (particularly as it relates to environmental safety), transcriptomics (particularly dsRNA) and proteomics. The main goal of her current research is to uncover the roles of transgenes in gene regulation in plant systems and to apply that knowledge to assessing their safe use in food and the environment.
Flor Rivera is currently a PhD student at Genøk Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway. She completed a Masters in Plant Genetics at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil and a bachelor degree in biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is interested in native maize conservation in Mexico, mainly because of its relationship with the cultural life. She has been doing research on native maize conservation with indigenous farmers in Mexico for about 16 years, always working from a participatory perspective, including actors and institutes from different backgrounds such as local communities, universities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In conducting her research, Flor is able to combine her two passions for cultural diversity and nature. For the biodiverSEEDy project she is researching the bio-cultural challenges that native maize biodiversity is facing in Oaxaca and applying joint strategies together with indigenous people to address these identified challenges.