MAIZE Management Committee Members


B_Prasanna B.M. Prasanna

B.M. Prasanna is Director of the CIMMYT Global Maize Program. He was faculty member of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), served as team leader for India under the CIMMYT-led Asian Maize Biotechnology Network (AMBIONET) during 1998-2005 and was an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) National Fellow during 2005-2010. At CIMMYT, he has led several Network Projects on molecular breeding, gene pyramiding, quality protein maize (QPM), biofortification, functional genomics, and allele mining. Prasanna’s research findings are published in over 82 refereed international journal articles.

M_Banziger Marianne Bänziger

Marianne Bänziger has been the Deputy Director General for Research and Partnership at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT, Mexico) since 2009 and led the development of CRPs MAIZE and WHEAT. She entered CIMMYT in 1994 working in maize physiology for varieties tolerant to drought and low soil fertility, based in Zimbabwe before moving to Nairobi as Maize Program Director. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and contributed significantly to the development of drought-tolerant maize varieties in Africa.

D_Chikoye David Chikoye

David Chikoye is Director for the Regional Hub for southern Africa and the Plant Production and Health Management at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Nigeria). His main research interests include assessing the response of weed seedbanks to control options and promoting the uptake of improved weed, crop and natural resource management options by farmers. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph and lecturer at the University of Zambia.

O_Erenstein Olaf Erenstein

Olaf Erenstein is Director of the CIMMYT Socioeconomics Program. Since joining CIMMYT in 2004, he has analyzed wheat and maize based innovations, systems and livelihoods in South Asia, and since 2009 drought tolerant maize and maize systems in Eastern and Southern Africa. Prior to joining CIMMYT, he has worked in Pakistan, Mexico and West Africa. His research has focused on RD implications based on agricultural system and innovation analysis in developing countries.

B_Gerard Bruno Gérard

Bruno Gérard is Director of the CIMMYT Global Conservation Agriculture Program since 2011. Prior to joining CIMMYT, he was Principal Scientist at ICRISAT (2000) where he developed and led projects investigating decision support to farmers and integrated soil fertility management. In 2008 he joined ILRI where he developed a project portfolio with 5 CGIAR centers and Wageningen University to research crop residue tradeoffs in South Asia, West Africa, East and Southern Africa. At CIMMYT, he and his team are developing integrated, multi-scale, and impact focused approaches for the sustainable intensification of maize and wheat-based systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

I_Hillbur Ylva Hillbur

Ylva Hillbur is Deputy Director General for Research at the International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA, Nigeria). Ylva was previously Head of Department of Plant Protection Biology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), where her collaboration with Addis Abeba University led to the establishment of an extensive research and capacity-building network. With a background in entomology and chemical ecology, her research focuses on sustainable plant protection strategies.

Abebe Menkir Abebe Menkir

Abebe Menkir holds BSc-in Plant Science, MSc and PhD in Plant Breeding from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Manitoba (Canada), and Kansas State University (USA), respectively. Prior to his assignment at IITA as a maize breeder-geneticist in 1996, he worked as a sorghum and finger millet breeder at the Alemaya College of Agriculture and the Institute of Agricultural Research in Ethiopia. His current research emphases at IITA include breeding for high yield potential, resistance to diseases and Striga, drought tolerance, enhanced nutritional quality, and resistance to mycotoxin contamination.

K_Pixley Kevin Pixley

Director of CIMMYT’s Genetic Resources Program since 2011, Kevin Pixley joined CIMMYT in 1990 as a postdoctoral fellow, and later served as a maize breeder (1993) and then team leader (1997) in Zimbabwe. After 11 years in Africa, he returned to CIMMYT headquarters in Mexico to serve in directing positions in the Global Maize Program. Main projects have included a maize breeders’ network on disease resistance and agronomic performance in E&S, and breeding provitamin A biofortified maize with focus on Zambia. Kevin is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

M_Robinson Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson is Chief Science Advisor at the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. He has over 20 years of R&D experience in industrial biosciences and, more recently, biofuels technologies, renewable energy, and carbon accounting in agriculture. He was previously Senior Technology Analyst for the Syngenta Corporate Strategy & Technology group. He has helped establish and manage several global collaborative research programs with academic and commercial organizations.

Joyce-Malinga Joyce N. Malinga

Joyce Malinga currently serves as Institute Director of KALRO Food Crops Research Institute, where she is leading a multi-disciplinary team of scientists. She is also Food Crops Programme leader, supervising scientists working on food crops including maize in 16 KALRO institutes in Kenya. She holds a Ph.D. in crop protection from Egerton University (2007) and has published extensively in refereed journals. As member of the MAIZE Management Committee, Joyce is representing national agricultural research centers and particularly KALRO.

Dave Watson Dave Watson

Dave Watson is the Program Manager of MAIZE. Over the past 10 years, he has managed research-for-development partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa; first as program leader for innovative partnerships in the Innovation Systems Programme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and more recently as Director for Project Development and Management at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Claudia Velasco Claudia Velasco

Claudia is the Program Administrator of MAIZE. Prior to this appointment she worked as Project Coordinator of the MAIZE and WHEAT CRPs managing multiple sub-projects and she also served as Finance Manager for both Research Programs. Claudia has been trained in Program Management by the PMI and holds a certificate in Project Management for Development professionals (PMD Pro). Before joining CIMMYT, she worked in the private sector as Head Project Manager managing the construction of four maximum security prisons for the Mexican Government. She also worked as a consultant in budgeting and administration of resources for numerous iconic buildings in Mexico.