Dr. Deborah Henderson - Director and BCIC Chair
Deborah Henderson has been the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) since 2005 and LEEF Regional Innovation Chair since 2009 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from the University of British Columbia (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 options in the hands of growers.
Lisa Wegener, MSc. - Laboratory and Research Coordinator
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 Coordinator
Andrés has worked at ISH since 2010 and has more than 20 years of experience in the horticulture industry. In 1994, he finished his Agricultural Engineering degree in Ecuador and started working in the Floriculture and Cut Flower industry as a rose grower. In 2002, he completed a Master's Degree in Crop Production and Plant Science at Miyazaki University, Japan. Andrés moved to Canada and started working in the greenhouse industry in 2007. As a horticulturist, he has been a member of the International Horticulture Society since 2000 and the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists since 2012. His expertise and background include 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. Andrés is interested in learning about Plant Factory's and Artificial Lighting.
Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi - Research Scientist and Faculty Member
Sepideh has been at ISH since 2016. She completed her Ph.D. and MSc in Entomology (in Ecology and Biological Control respectively) and BSc in Plant Protection (Entomology, Plant Pathology, and IPM) before immigrating to Canada in 2014. She researched at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems’ toxicology lab at the University of British Columbia as a visiting scientist and honorary Postdoctoral Fellow. Sepideh’s research background and expertise include toxicity of microbial pesticides (insecticides and fungicides) and botanical insecticides against pests, population dynamics and biology of insects, and interaction among natural enemies, pests, host plants, and the environment. She enjoys teaching and has taught a variety of topics including pest and plant disease, entomology, plant pathology, toxicology and pesticide science, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and biological control. The main purpose of her research is to help reduce the impact of chemical pesticides on the environment and ecosystems and to achieve the commercialization of environmentally friendly microbial insecticides, microbial fungicides, and biofertilizers.
Dr. Li Ma - Research Scientist and Faculty Member
Li has been at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture since 2019 as a Research Scientist. She obtained her Ph.D. in plant science from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2017 and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship. She gained extensive teaching and research experience at UBC. Li specializes in plant ecophysiology, and has enjoyed working with both microorganisms and plants at ISH. Her research has focused on four broad areas: plant disease management, biological control, secondary metabolites of plants and fungi, and endophytes from medicinal plants.
Melissa Calderwood - Research Technician
Melissa Calderwood has been at ISH since 2019. She is a graduate of the Environmental Protection Technology Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). While working at ISH, Melissa has enjoyed learning about research in sustainable horticulture and technology in greenhouse crop production, including the use of biological controls for integrated pest management. She has worked on a variety of projects including plant tissue culture and insect rearing of cutworms in the laboratory and various plant growth trials with indusry partners in the ISH greenhouse.
Liz Kitura - Research Assistant and Lab Technician
Liz joined the ISH team in the spring of 2021. She completed her BSc in horticulture science (Plant Health) at KPU in January 2021, and her horticulture technology diploma (Sustainable Crop Production) in May 2018. She has 5 years of experience within the industry (Greenhouse, landscape, Integrated Pest management, and apiculture). She is currently working with Bee Vectoring Technologies, where she is assisting in researching biological disease management solutions for local organic production.
James Gedak - Research Assistant
James has been with ISH since September 2021 and is currently working in the laboratory as a research assistant. He is in the final stages of completing the Environmental Protection Technology (EPT) Diploma and Associate Degree of Geography from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). Once completed, he will transfer to Simon Fraser University (SFU) to complete a Bachelor of Environment degree. James has enjoyed working with the impact of light wavelengths on plants and integrated pest management strategies.