Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro
Howard has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 50 years. He has worked with indigenous communities, NGO’s, governmental agencies and the private sector. His academic career spans 45 years. He served as the Co-Chairperson for the 1st and 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry. He co-authored the Mid-Term Review of the CGIAR, co-authored, 21st Century Agricultural Renaissance: Solutions from the Land, he was the lead author on the biotechnology chapter for the IAASTD Global Report. Shapiro founded the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) and the African Plant Breeding Academy in 2012. The effort will sequence, assemble and annotate 101 key food cultivars, which are the backbone of African nutrition. 2021, he initiated the African Plant Breeding Academy. CRISPR aiming to deploy the latest CRISPR technologies (i.e., genome editing) to fast-track development of new sources of vital traits in food crops in Africa.
In August of 2018 he co-authored, in PLoSBiology, the landmark paper, that shows for the first time a maize landrace grown in nitrogen-depleted fields near Oaxaca, Mexico, where up to 82% of the plant nitrogen is derived from atmospheric nitrogen. This work was done under the Nagoya Protocol. In August of 2022 he co-authored, in Plant Biotech Journal, a breakthrough paper, Genetic modification of flavone biosynthesis in rice enhances biofilm formation of soil diazotrophic bacteria and biological nitrogen fixation.