Invited plenary speakers

Ed Cahoon


Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Director, Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA 

Edgar Cahoon is the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Center for Plant Science Innovation at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Cahoon’s lab conducts basic and applied research on plant lipid metabolism and synthetic biology to enhance the nutritional and industrial value of crop plants and to probe the synthesis and function of bioactive lipids, including sphingolipids. His research is directed at improving oilseed quality and crop performance for enhanced producer profitability. He is the author of more than 100 publications and inventor or co-inventor on 30 issued U.S. patents in plant biotechnology. Dr. Cahoon received his B.S. in biochemistry from Virginia Tech, an M.S. in plant physiology from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in plant biochemistry and molecular biology from Michigan State University. He is a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists and a 2017 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.



Jiana Li


Professor, Southwest University, China

Dr. Jiana Li is a Professor & Vice-Dean of Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Southwest University, Director of Key Lab of Southwest Crop Genetic Improvement & Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture,  and Director of Engineering Research Center of South Upland Agriculture, Ministry of Education, P. R. China. His research interests concentrate genetics and breeding of Brassica napus. He has made a series of significant contributions in genetics and breeding of yellow-seeded B. napus.

Dilip Nakhasi


Senior Director of Research, Development & Innovation in Stratas Foods, USA

Prior to joining Stratas Food, he was Director of Innovation, Bunge North America, Inc. where he was responsible for managing projects from concept to commercialization.   Dilip Nakhasi has an executive MBA from Washington University of St. Louis and Executive Certification in Strategy and Innovation, MIT Sloan School of Management. He has been actively involved with professional associations like IFT, American Association of Cereal Chemists and AOCS and has been a Member of AOCS’s Governing Board since 2016. He has over 28 years of experience in research and development in fats and oil industry, with research focused on dietary lipid science, functional ingredients and nutrition.  He has 10 granted US patents and 50 international patents with several applications pending.

Brent Zettl


Mr. Zettl co-founded CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. in 1988. In February 2003, he founded SubTerra (and the Company's second biosecure underground growth chamber) at White Pine, Michigan and in 2004, acquired the 35 square mile mine site for biopharmaceutical production. He contributes to the community through his involvement as Director of the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation - West, Chair of Harvest Community Inc., a non-profit assisting people with intellectual disabilities and past Chair of Ag-West Bio Inc., an organization supporting growth in the agricultural biotechnology industry. In December 2013, he served as a Special Advisor to Michigan Legislature in respect of Senate Bill 660, which created a new pharmaceutical grade cannabis program to operate in conjunction with the State's existing medical cannabis program. In 2014, he was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Prairies Business-to-Consumer category. He served as President of CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. since 1998 to 2018. He received a Bachelor of Science & Agriculture degree with distinction from the University of Saskatchewan.

Invited theme speakers

Genyi Li (Keynote) (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg): Analyzing genetic factors for oil content in Brassica species

Christina Eynck (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon): Camelina and B carinata improvement

Kun Lu (Southwest University, Chongqing, China): Whole genome resequencing reveals Brassica napus origin and genetic loci involved in it improvement

Meghna Malik (Yield10 Bioscience, Saskatoon): Yield10 Bioscience Platform: Technologies for increasing seed yield and oil content in oilseeds.

Mark Smith (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon): Lipid diversity in seeds: Exploring the potential for novel oleochemical feedstocks.

Dauenpen Meesapyodsuk (Keynote) (National Research Council Canada, Saskatoon): Engineered oilseed crops produce oil enriched in two new very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids with health-promoting properties.

Patricia Vrinten (Bioriginal Food and Science Corporation, Saskatoon): Phosphatidylcholine:diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase (PDCT) genes and PDCT-like genes in Brassica napus, Brassica carinata and Camelina sativa.

Martin Reaney (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon): Can authentomics analysis protect consumers from food fraud?


Fabrice Berrue (Keynote) (National Research Council Canada, Halifax):  Bioprospecting microalgae for value-added compounds with applications in food, feed, and human health and wellness. 

Guanqun Chen (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Identification and characterization of an acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2 from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis. 

Randall Weselake (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Elucidating α-18:3-enrichment of flax oil using a yeast system. 

 Richard Bazinet (keynote) (University of Toronto, Toronto): Translating polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism from rodents to humans: Time, grunt work and new advancements

 Harold Aukema (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg):  Oxylipins provide novel information on potential effects of fatty acids

Jian Yang (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon): Sphingosine-1-phosphate and cancer

Rakesh Kapoor (Bioriginal, Saskatoon): Saturated Fat:  Role in Health and Disease.

Dérick Rousseau (Keynote) (Ryerson University, Toronto): Structure and functionality of fat crystal-stabilized water-in-oil emulsions.

Amanda Wright (University of Guelph, Guelph): Influence of solid fat content and gastric instability on emulsion droplet digestibility.  

Ricardo Couto (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Preparation and encapsulation of bioactives in solid lipid particles using supercritical CO2

Fereidoon Shahidi (Keynote) (Memorial University, St. John's)Omega-3 oils: facts and controversies in novel food and health products.

Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi, PhD, is a university research professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).  He is the author of over 800 research papers and book chapters, has also authored or edited 64 books, and 10 patents. He has received numerous awards from different societies, including the "Millipore Sigma/ Nicholas Pellik - AOCS Research Award" in 2017 and has received the ACS Fellow Award, the Distinguished Service Award and Advancement of the Application of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Award, among others. He has served on many committees, nationally and internationally and is currently an elected member of the Scientific Council of the IUFoST. Dr. Shahidi served as the editor-in-chief (EiC) of the Journal of Functional Foods as its founder for 10 years and is now the EiC of the Journal of Food Bioactives <> , an editor of Food Chemistry, and is the principal founder of the International Society for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (ISNFF).  He has served as a member of the Expert Advisory Panel of Health Canada on Standards of Evidence for Health Claims for Foods, and a member of the Washington-based Council of Agricultural Science and Technology on Nutraceuticals, among others. Fereidoon Shahidi has earned Ph.D., FACS, FAGFD-ACS, FAOCS, FCIC, FCIFST, FIAFoST, FIFT, FRSC during his carrier.

Rick Green (POS Bio-Sciences, Saskatoon): New Trends and Emerging Technologies in Food Ingredients.

Dr. Rick Green joined POS Bio-Sciences in 1989.  As President of Intellectual Capital Generation, his responsibilities include mentoring and coordination of the technical team for the development of new ingredient processes and technologies for the food, and health and wellness industries.  His expertise includes process development in the area of extraction and isolation of proteins, polyphenol extracts, specialty oils, and microencapsulation.  Dr. Green is a Board member of the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre and is also on the Board of Ag-West Bio.  He is a Certified Food Scientist and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

Roberto Armenta (Mara Renewables, Nova Scotia): Not all algal omega-3 oils are created equal: Innovation as key for competitive advantage.

Dr. Roberto Armenta is the Chief Scientist – Director of R&D of Mara Renewables Corporation, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dr. Armenta leads the most advanced Canadian industrial R&D program of algae fermentation to produce renewable oils for nutritional and energy applications. He focuses on critical issues, including yield coefficients, strain discovery and development, chemical and biochemical front-end and downstream processing, and process scale-up and scale-down. Roberto has extensive experience in biochemical processes to produce both high-value products and commodities. He is a prolific inventor, with over a dozen commercially relevant patents and many of his developed technologies have been implemented at industrial scale. Dr. Armenta has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, and have presented at multiple international conferences. Roberto is also an Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie University’s Department of Processing Engineering and Applied Sciences in Halifax, Canada.

Tom Shipley (Canopy Growth Corporation, Ottawa): The Rapidly Evolving Cannabis Regulatory Environment in Canada.

From the construction of the Smiths Falls facility and sale of the first batch, to the development of Tweed’s in-house laboratory, Tom’s number one priority has always been ensuring the safety and quality of our products. Tom studied Biopharmaceutical Sciences specializing in Genomics at the University of Ottawa. His toxicology research, while at Health Canada, focused on the effects common materials in our environment such as printer toner, paint, sunblock, tobacco smoke and road-side dust have on DNA mutations. Upon completion of the research, he transferred to the Center for Vaccine Evaluation of Health Canada. There he reviewed vaccine production practices and performed testing on a variety of vaccines including influenza, hepatitis, yellow fever and rotavirus. He also contributed to the development of new testing methods of vaccines to replace traditional animal testing methods. Tom’s scientific knowledge and experience in toxicology, biopharmaceuticals, and drug regulations all contribute to his effectiveness as Vice President of Quality Assurance.

Lisa Quiring (Health Canada, Ottawa): Canada’s Public Health Approach to the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis.

Lisa Quiring has over two decades of regulatory experience beginning at Environment Canada as a Regulatory Analyst, continuing at Employment and Social Development Canada as a Senior Legislation Officer and now at Health Canada as a Senior Advisor working on the cannabis file.  Lisa is part of the regulatory team responsible for the Industrial Hemp Regulations and the Cannabis Regulations (with a focus on Licensing). She also supports the development and implementation of cannabis policy, legislation and regulations, through analysis and advice, and collaborates with partners and stakeholders. In addition to her extensive work experience, Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law.

Jodi Souter (Hemp Genetics International, Saskatoon): Hemp oil vs CBD oil: the obstacles and opportunities in Canadian agriculture.

Jodi Souter is a Plant Breeder for Hemp Genetics International and is responsible for developing superior hemp varieties. Jodi received a BSA in Plant Science and a PhD in Plant Biology, both from the University of Saskatchewan. Jodi’s graduate studies focussed on molecular biology, genetics, and plant breeding, specifically studying and selecting for abiotic stress resistance in soybean and common bean. Jodi grew up on her family’s farm in northeast Saskatchewan and is a very active member of the agricultural community in Saskatchewan. 

Larry Holbrook (CB3 Life Sciences, Saskatoon): Lipid Signaling in the endocannabinoid system of vertebrates.

Dr. Holbrook is currently Chief Scientific Officer at CB3 Life Sciences, with expertise in cellular and basic molecular biology experimentation and more than 35 years of experience in research and application related to the genetic modification of crop plants with diverse agricultural biotechnology experience in both government and industry. His extensive plant research includes tissue culture, plant breeding, genetic transformation, microscopy, phytohormone and senescence biochemistry. Dr. Holbrook was an associate adjunct professor at the University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences from 1997 to 2003 and has authored or co-authored over 40 publications, reviews or invited papers. His experience includes leadership roles in four agricultural biotechnology start-up companies in Canada. He has worked in the medical marijuana field for the past 15 years leading research developments plus associations with clinical studies initiatives and the QA/QC department functions. He served as the Chief Research Officer at CanniMed Therapeutics Inc until 2018. Dr. Holbrook holds B.Sc., M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology and Developmental Biology from the University of Toronto and postdoctoral research at the UCLA School of Medicine, Brain Research Institute.

Chithra Karunakaran (Canadian Light Sources, Saskatoon): Synchrotron-based structural and functional imaging of plant based bioproducts

Edmund Mupondwa (Agricuture and Agri-Food Canada): Technoeconomics of renewable bioresource utilization:coproducts and value chain integration.

Tim Mutsvangwa (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon): Effects of feeding graded levels of camelina meal on feed intake, milk yield and composition, and milk fatty acid profiles in dairy cows.

Anna Rogiewicz (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg): Lipids and energy utilization from canola co-products by poultry.

Anthony Miller (AOCS, USA): AOCS’ Technical department and method development.

Jonathan Curtis (Keynote) (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Developing lipid-derived intermediates for the synthesis of high biocontent polymers                                                       

Jerome Kpan (Technology Transfer Automotive Centre, Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany): Maintaining the engine oil changing interval in the midst of Biofuel usage.             

Magdalena Hubmann (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Lipid-derived curing agents for prairie drying oils