Open Session Chairs

 Dr. Pamela Bachman

Dr. Pamela Bachman

Dr. Pamela Bachman is an Associate Science Fellow and ecotoxicologist/risk assessor in Monsanto’s Global Regulatory Sciences division. In this role, she designs and coordinates studies to evaluate potential effects and assess the ecological risk of biotechnology-derived crop protection products on non-target terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. Additionally, Pamela’s responsibilities include preparing safety assessments to support registration and re-registration of crop protection products and providing technical support to Monsanto personnel and external parties about the environmental safety these products. Since joining the company in 2008, Pamela has been active in representing Monsanto in industry task forces, workshops and scientific committees to develop guidance for ecological risk assessment and further develop and refine these assessments for crop protection products such as Bts and RNAi-based products. Pamela currently serves as the Chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC) Non-Target Organisms (NTOs) committee. More recently, Pamela has focused her efforts on specific NTO issues such as honey bees and other native pollinators including monarch butterflies, and addressing the role of agriculture in promoting biodiversity across the agricultural landscape. Pamela is trained as an aquatic toxicologist and received her PhD from Florida International University in Miami.


 Dr. Karen E. Hokanson

Karen E. Hokanson

Karen Hokanson is a Senior Fellow with the Stakman Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health at the University of Minnesota, working in the area of biotechnology regulation and risk assessment. She is currently serving as the Regulatory Lead for two USAID projects, insect resistant brinjal and late blight resistant potato, in Southeast Asia. She worked for many years as a biosafety advisor with IFPRI’s PBS and with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s BRN, providing regulatory and technical guidance to governments and researchers in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Karen has been actively engaged as a public researcher in the negotiations of the Cartagena Protocol for Biosafety, and she was a member of the most recent AHTEG on Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Karen began her career in biotechnology regulation many years ago, as a Biotechnologist/Ecologist with USDA APHIS. Dr. Hokanson received her MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Michigan State University.


 Dr. Michael Meissle

Dr. Michael Meissle

Dr. Michael Meissle is Senior Scientist at Agroscope, the agricultural research institute of the Swiss government. He studied biology in Munich and conducted his PhD at Agroscope in Zurich until 2009. Research fellowships allowed him to gain experience in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. He is currently deputy leader of the Biosafety research group at Agroscope, which is focusing on risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) plants and of introduced exotic arthropods.

Michael has been working in the area of non-target risk assessment since 2001. His research interests cover laboratory, field, and landscape-level effects of GM crops on arthropods; multitrophic interactions between plants, arthropods, and microorganisms; transfer of Bt proteins between trophic levels (using ELISA); bioactivity of insecticidal proteins in plants, herbivores, and beneficial arthropods. Systematic literature reviews on arthropods in European agricultural crops and on arthropods in Bt maize have been conducted by Michael for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU-project GRACE. Michael has been active in the IOBC-WPRS working group on GMOs in Integrated Plant Protection since its establishment in 2003 and since 2013 he acts as convenor of this group. One focus of his work is to evaluate how GM crops fit into the IPM concept and how current agricultural systems can be improved using GM crops.


  Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann

Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann

Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann has been director of the Institute for Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology at Julius Kuehn Institute (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, until his retirement in September 2016. Since2006, he is Honorary Professor at University of Luneburg. He has been coordinating several national and EU-funded cluster projects on biosafety research (e.g., GRACE – GMO Risk Assessment and Communication of Evidence). From 2000 to 2003, he was member of the Scientific Committee on Plants of the European Commission, Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General, and from 2003 to 2009 member of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). From 2002 to 2012, he was member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR), from 2004 to 2008 President of ISBR. Since 2004, he has been member of the Steering Council of the European Technology Platform “Plants for the Future”.


Adinda De Schrijver

Dr. Adinda De Schrijver

Dr. Adinda De Schrijver is an engineer in biosciences. She has been a Senior Staff Scientist at the Scientific Institute for Public Health in the Unit Biosafety and Biotechnology (Brussels, Belgium) for 15 years. She is involved in the scientific evaluation of GM plant dossiers, and acts as a scientific expert for the Belgian competent authority responsible for GMOs. She is actively involved in the work of the OECD Working Group on Harmonization of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology, and is member of the EFSA GMO Panel since 2015. 


  Dr. Christine Tibelius

Dr. Christine Tibelius

Dr. Christine Tibelius is the Director of Plant Health Science at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) where she is responsible for plant health risk assessment, including evaluation of the safety of plants with novel traits before their release into the Canadian environment. She has worked in policy development and program management in areas including seed regulation, invasive alien species and plant health at the CFIA, as well as research management and strategic research policy development in areas including biotechnology and genomics at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Christine holds a BSc in Agriculture (Plant and Soil Science) from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in cereal breeding and physiology from McGill University, both in Canada