Dr. Deborah Henderson
LEEF Regional Innovation Chair
Deborah Henderson has been the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture since 2005 and LEEF Regional Innovation Chair since 2009 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from UBC in 1982, and established E.S. Cropconsult Ltd. in 1989 to offer IPM and research services to both conventional and organic agriculture in the Fraser Valley. Deborah developed an active research program in biological and non-chemical management strategies for pests and diseases to advance agriculture and landscapes towards ecologically sound alternatives. Her research at ISH develops microbial biocontrols and environmentally sound bioproducts in partnership with agricultural industry partners. Her goal is to put more biocontrol option in the hands of growers. The Institute has both research capacity and production capacity for beneficial fungi and insect viruses and over the next few years, is developing this capacity to become an incubator for new biopesticides.
Lisa Wegener, MSc.
ISH Laboratory and Research Co-ordinator
Lisa has been with ISH since July 2009, and has seen the lab grow from a new and empty building, to a buzzing centre of research, industry collaboration and education. Lisa was born and raised in High River, Alberta. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of New Brunswick in 1999, and then moved to Vancouver to complete the Forensic Science Technology program at BCIT. Subsequently, Lisa worked in the Biology section of the RCMP Forensics Lab in Vancouver, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that her calling was not solving crimes, but rather helping agricultural producers solve disease and pest problems. After spending a year working for the BC Blueberry Council on a serious disease issue at the time – Blueberry scorch virus, Lisa completed a Master of Science degree at Simon Fraser University, specializing in Plant Virology. Following that, she worked as a Plant Disease Diagnostician at the University of Guelph, and then returned to BC and continued working with the agricultural industry. Since joining ISH, Lisa’s research interests have shifted from blueberry viruses to molecular identification and mass production of fungal entomopathogens. She is a member of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, and the Professional Pest Management Association of BC. Lisa is an avid cyclist and enjoys commuting to work by bicycle. Time off work is often spent in the mountains camping, canoeing and fishing, or in bad weather brewing beer.
Andrés Torres, MSc.
Greenhouse Research Co-ordinator
Soon after finishing his Agriculture Engineer degree in Ecuador in 1994, Andrés started working in the Floriculture and Cut Flower industry until 1999. After working for six years in the industry as a Rose Grower he decided to continue his education. He finished his Master Degree in Crop Production and Plant Science in Miyazaki University, Japan in 2002. In 2007 he started working at the Greenhouse Industry in Canada. Andrés joined the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture in 2010 and has worked extensively in applied research as a horticulture specialist and possess more than 20 years of experience in the industry.
As a horticulturist he is being member of the International Horticulture Society since 2000 and the British Columbia Institute of Agrologist since 2012. His expertise and background includes, Protected Cultivation, Greenhouse Environments, Soilless media, Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers. In his current position, Andrés coordinates greenhouse research trials, many of which are carried out in collaboration with industry partners to promote and create sustainability. Recent projects and trials have included investigating the value of Biochar in horticulture applications. Andrés is keen learning about Plant Factory and Artificial Lighting.
Dr. Asalatha Manda
Asa Manda did Master’s in Plant Physiology from Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University and worked in the same University as Scientist for 8 years. During that time she was involved in projects that collaborated with Australian Centre for International Agricultural research (ACIAR). In 2001 received international award “JohnAll Wright fellowship”, from ACIAR. Asa went to Australia and finished PhD “Physiological and biochemical factors associated with aflatoxin production in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L)” from the University of Queensland, Brisbane. In 2006, she came to Canada as a permanent resident and did post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia. From 2007 onwards Asa has been involved in research and development for fertiliser industry and is continuing the same at the Institute of Sustainable Horticulture. Currently she is involved with research and development projects related with Macrocystis integrifolia which is the seaweed that grows in west coast of British Columbia.
Elizabeth Hudgins MSc.
Elizabeth Hudgins has been a plant pathology resource and researcher with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture since 2014. Her passion for plant diseases took her from University of Toronto for her BSc to Michigan State University where she received her MS degree working on a Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. apii: a wilt disease of celery. At the end of her degree, she discovered the exciting world of applied diagnostics and was invited to work as the State Plant Disease Diagnostician for Oklahoma. She returned to Canada in 1998 and continued to work in plant disease diagnostics with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. After a break off to raise children, she is pleased to be back in the world of microbiology and plants with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture where she currently spends her time on Trichoderma sp. research and development.
Dr. Mathias Schuetz
Research Scientist/ Faculty Member
Mathias Schuetz is a part-time Research Scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture. He is also a faculty member in the department of Biology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Botany department at the University of British Columbia. Mathias is a plant biologist with expertise in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, and advanced microscopy techniques. He has a PhD from Simon Fraser University and completed post-doctoral fellowships in the department of Botany and Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia. Mathias has a keen interest in both fundamental and applied plant research focusing on Cannabis and Hop plants, where he works to understand how the biosynthesis of different aroma and flavour compounds are regulated.
Dr. Michelle Franklin (Nesbitt)
Research Scientist/ Faculty Member
Michelle Franklin is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) and Faculty member in the Biology Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her research at ISH is primarily focused on the use of baculoviruses as biopesticides for the control of lepidopteran pests. She has studied factors influencing the production of baculoviruses and the efficacy of baculovirus product LOOPEX for cabbage looper control in brassicas. In addition, she has examined the pollination success of two alternate bumble bee species for commercial greenhouse vegetable pollination. Michelle has a PhD from the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Biology at Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi
Sepideh Tahriri received her PhD and MSc in agricultural entomology and BSc in agricultural engineering-plant protection before immigrating to Canada in 2014. She worked as a visiting scientist and honorary post-doctoral fellow on bioactivity of plants essential oils against some important horticultural pests, under the supervision of professor Dr. Murray Isman in insect toxicology lab at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Land and Food Systems. She has a wide range of experience in teaching and research including entomology, integrated pest management (IPM) and plant protection against pests and diseases. Dr. Tahriri’s research background and expertise is in insect population biology, based on her Masters’ research on aphids and a biocontrol agent (parasitoid), and her doctoral research on field populations of several pests on hybrid poplars in response to different watering regimes. Results from both studies have been published in a range of regional and international entomological and agricultural journals. In June of 2016 she joined the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as a research scientist. She leads research with the goal to produce and commercialize eco-friendly microbial insecticides and fungicides.
Amy Huang participated in a 6 month internship in Cuba working on food security projects involving insect viruses, and biogas production. Immediately after graduating from the Environmental Protection Technology program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)in 2012, she started working at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as a research assistant. Over the last 5 years at ISH, Amy has taken on projects involving entomopathogenic fungi and viruses, and developing other biological pest controls and fertilizers.
Basanti Bandekar holds a BSc and an MSc in Microbiology from Karnatak University, India and an MSc in Agriculture from Dalhousie University, Canada. She has been with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture since 2016 as a full-time Research Assistant. Basanti’s projects involve investigating the use of Macrocystis integrifolia extract in horticulture crops for their plant growth promoting effects and also enhancing plant tolerance toward abiotic stresses like salinity and extreme temperature. Her current research sheds light on molecular mechanisms activated by M. integrifoli extract using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Coel Ediger started working with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) in 2011 and helped in building and cataloguing the institutes’ culture collection. During the summers, between her studies at Dalhousie University, she worked on several projects from the efficiency of local bumblebee pollination in commercial greenhouses to working with entomopathogenic viruses and fungi. She’s also worked rearing test insects for trials such as wax and wireworm. After receiving her BSc in June 2017, Coel returned to ISH and currently works as the lab media production specialist and studies Trichoderma as a part of the Microbial Pest Control Products team.
Elena Devanadera holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Santo Tomas and an MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of the Phillipines. She moved to Canada, in 2014, to pursue her diploma in Environmental Protection Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She joined Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as a co-op student and after graduation, in 2016, she continued to be part of ISH working as a research assistant. Elena’s research involves developing a novel microbial biocontrol of Trichoderma for British Columbia’s Horticulture industry.
Heather Little has her BSc in Environmental Management from Royal Roads University as well as her Diploma in Environmental Protection Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has been with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture since the summer of 2013 and has worked on various research projects in the last 6 years. Most recently she is involved with the research necessary for the registration of a foliar biofungicide for use against Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea),and the study of Effective Microorganisms and their influence on salt stressed food crops.
Matilda Talbert is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH). She has a Bachelor of Science in History and Biology from the University of the Fraser Valley and began studying horticulture, specializing in greenhouse crop production, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University prior to starting at ISH in 2015.
Before beginning her position at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH), Rachel Hagel attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and received her diploma in Horticulture Technology: Sustainable Crop Production. She is highly interested in water protection and environmental remediation, specifically the role of plants in supporting healthy ecosystems. Since graduating in the spring of 2017, she has been working with the ISH greenhouse team as a research assistant. While with ISH, Rachel has enjoyed learning about, and contributing to, the sustainable research and technology that is the future of horticulture.
Yan Han graduated from WuHan University of Technology 武汉理工大学 in China with a Bachelors degree in Transportation Engineering Management. After she worked in management positions in port logistics for over 10 years, Yan came to Canada and studied Environmental Protection at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She joined the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as part of a work co-op in 2011 and has since successfully managed and investigated several research projects with the institute. Her most recent project is working on the Registration of Microbial Pest Control Products.
Gabriel Arruda is an Environmental Protection Technology student at KPU. He assists on a project on cutworms at ISH as a Co-Op student since the start of the spring semester. Always attentive and enthusiastic, he helps with insect rearing, as well as bioassays. Previously he was a potato scout for E.S. Cropconsult, and a keen volunteer for Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS). He has presented a poster at the Environmental Managers Association of BC (EMA of BC) Workshop in 2018, and was a student speaker at the Professional Pest Management Association of BC (PPMA of BC) Symposium in 2019.
Anna Westhaver is a 4th year Plant Health student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In 2018, Anna completed a 3-month internship in Cuba where she assisted in a project which sought to control sweet potato weevil (Cylas formicarius) using local strains of Beauveria bassiana, a common species of entomopathogenic fungus. Following her return, Anna began working as a research assistant at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, where she has helped to rear cutworm colonies for the ongoing fungal bio-pesticide trials. This summer, Anna will be working on a project concerned with evaluating the role of plant nutrition and soil amendments in the optimization of glucoside production in Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni. Once she graduates from KPU, Anna intends to complete a Master of Science degree at the University of Guelph, specializing in Plant Agriculture. In the future, Anna hopes to build her career as a plant pathologist.
An Nguyen is an Environmental Protection Technology student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), currently finishing up the last term toward her Diploma. She joined the Institution of Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as part of her Co-op Work term and found herself working on the Registration of Trichoderma as a Biocontrol Product research project. She mostly works on preparing samples for the GCMS and HPLC analysis, as well as drafting protocols for the project. In addition, she also works on a side project investigating the effectiveness of Trichoderma atroviridein producing host-specific secondary metabolites, specifically targeting Rhizoctonia solani.She plans on returning to school for her Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the near future to further her knowledge in the industry.
Currently, Mazna is a second year student in Food Engineering (Master degree program) at AgroSup Dijon (France). Mazna is working as a research intern at the ISH laboratory. She is studying the use of Trichoderma isolates to control the foliar plant disease, Botrytis cinerea (grey mold). This project aims to evaluate the beneficial fungi, in the genus Trichoderma, to suppress the growth of the plant pathogen B. cinerea on ornamental plant species and strawberries in greenhouses and outdoors. Mazna’s research is focused on the suppression of B. cinerea by Trichoderma species on strawberry fruit post-harvest to improve the shelf-life of the fruit.