The potato program of the International Potato Center (CIP): successes, challenges and the way forward


Dr. Ian Barker began his assignment as Leader of the International Potato Center (CIP) Global Potato Agri-Food Systems Program in 2019.  He leads a portfolio of high impact research and development projects designed to achieve the objective of intensifying, diversifying and strengthening the resilience of agri-food systems with potato-related technologies, contribute to food security, nutrition and rural economic growth in priority countries within the framework of the organization’s sustainable development goals.

Recently, he has taken a leading role in developing models for the dissemination of quality seed of public-bred potato varieties through innovative public-private partnerships in East Africa and SE Asia.

Ian has 30 years of experience in management of agricultural R&D in the public and private sectors. Previously, Ian was the Head of Agricultural Partnerships for The Syngenta Foundation  (SFSA).  Prior to that, he was the Senior Virologist and Seed System Lead at the International Potato Center (CIP); he also worked as the head of the Diagnostic Methods Team, Food and Environmental Research Agency (FERA) in the UK.  A British national, he holds a PhD. from Exeter University and a BSc. In Plant Sciences from Wye College, London University.

Dr. Barker is based in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

    The Upotato Plan-genome design of  potato diploid hybrid with true seeds


Sanwen Huang obtained his Ph.D. in the Laboratory of Plant Breeding at Wageningen University in 2005 and currently acts as the Director General of the Agricultural Genomics Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

He plays a leading role in international vegetable genome projects, organizing the International Genome Consortia to sequence cucumber, tomato, and potato. His lab also constructed genome variation maps for cucumber, melon, tomato, and potato, which provide a theoretical framework for germplasm utilization. He identified key genes in the domestication and improvement of these crops and develop a multi-omics methodology to understand the impact of human selection to flavor and quality. He launched the “Upotato Plan”, which aims to transform potato from a clonally propagated, tetraploid crop to a true-seed-propagated, diploid crop, using genomic design breeding. 

He has published over 100 papers, including in Cell, Nature, Science, and Nature Genetics. In 2015, he was awarded with the Grand Challenge 2015—Young Scientist Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2016, he was awarded with Basic Science Award from the Zhou Guang Zhao Foundation. In 2018, he was awarded the “Science and Technology Progress Award” by the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation and the National Natural Sciences Awards of China.

Acrylamide Mitigation Strategies in Fried Potato Products


Vural Gökmen, BSc, MSc, PhD is professor in the Food Engineering Department at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. His responsibilities include to teach at undergraduate and graduate levels, to supervise MSc and PhD theses, to conduct research projects, and to give consultancy on knowledge and technology transfer in the field of food science and engineering. Prof. Gökmen graduated in 1990 with food engineering degree and gained his PhD degree in 1998. In 2004, he has been awarded as outstanding young scientist by the Turkish Academy of Sciences, and in 2007 he gained science incentive award by The Scientific and Technological Council of Turkey. He has founded Food Quality & Safety Research Group in 2004, Food Research Center in 2010 at Hacettepe University, and The National Food Technology Platform of Turkey in 2011.

In his career, Prof. Gökmen has carried out national and international research projects related to different aspects of food science. He has lectured nationally and internationally. He has continuous collaborations with the research groups in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, The Netherlands, USA, UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Belgium, and Denmark. As one of the leading experts on food science, Prof. Gökmen has contributed greatly to the understanding of process-derived effects on the quality and safety of foodstuffs. Also, he has developed chromatography, mass spectrometry, and computer vision based advanced analytical techniques to monitor food quality and safety. To his credit, Prof. Gökmen has published over 230 articles, which includes over 210 peer reviewed manuscripts based on original research, 14 book chapters, and edited a book. As of May 2019, his publications have been cited more than 5700 times according to Web of Science, and 6100 times according to Scopus.  


Prof. Gökmen is currently associate editor in Food Research International and editorial board member in Food Chemistry, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, and Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences. According to Web of Science, Prof. Gökmen is in the list of top 100 authors of the world in the field of Food Science and Technology.




 How to tackle late blight? Insights in the biology and pathology of Phytophthora infestans




Francine Govers is a professor in Phytopathology at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Her goal is to unravel the biology and pathology of Phytophthora pathogens and their interaction with plants. Phytophthora infestans is renowned for causing the Irish potato famine in the 1840s and its impact on world history.


Today late blight is still a major problem worldwide and control depends on intensive spraying regimes, every 5-7 days. In 1990, when Govers started her career in phytopathology, the awareness that Phytophthora is not a true fungus was just emerging. Oomycetes, the class that comprises the genus Phytophthora, evolved independently of fungi. Yet, they occupy similar ecological niches and also their weaponry for plant infection is comparable including the exploitation of effectors to suppress host defense. Nevertheless, there are remarkable differences. In her presentation Govers will highlight several unique features that illuminate the success of Phytophthora species as pathogens. Examples are the massive expansion of gene families encoding host specific RXLR effectors, the counterparts of resistance proteins and instrumental in R gene discovery, and alternative signaling pathways and novel cytoskeleton structures, pointing to potential targets for novel oomicides.


For an overview of publications dealing with these topics visit