Dr. Deborah Henderson
LEEF Regional Innovation 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 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 possesses more than 20 years of experience in the industry.
As a horticulturist, he is being a member of the International Horticulture Society since 2000 and the British Columbia Institute of Agrologist 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. Recent projects and trials have included investigating the value of Biochar in horticulture applications. Andrés is keen learning about Plant Factory and Artificial Lighting.
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 the 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 is a research scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She completed her PhD and MSc in Entomology (in Ecology and Biological Control respectively) and BSc in plant protection engineering before immigrating to Canada in 2014. Additionally, she conducted a research 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 entomopathogenic fungi (mostly focused on Beauveria bassiana) and nematodes against pests, toxicity of beneficial fungi (Trichoderma spp.) and bacteria to suppress plant diseases, bioactivity of essential oils as botanical insecticides to control pests, population dynamics of poplar pests by irrigation periods, and interaction between pests and natural enemies, their biology, and parameters growth.
Her teaching experience comprises several topics such as pesticide science
Currently she leads and manages ISH’s research team, as well as instructs and supervises students, research technicians, and research assistants. The main goals of her research team are to cooperate with the reduction of environmental pressures due to the extreme application of chemical pesticides, and to achieve the commercialization of environmentally safe entomopathogenic insecticides, microbial fungicides, and biofertilizers.
Dr. Li Ma
Li received 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. She worked as a part-time instructor for Mad Science before joining the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) as a full-time research scientist in the summer of 2019. Li specializes in plant ecophysiology, and she is excited to start working with both microbes and plants at ISH. She is currently working on three projects:1) Microbial biocontrol of disease in ornamental crops, 2) Effect of abiotic factors on steviol glycoside content in Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, 3) Metabolites of Trichoderma sp.
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 7 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.
Elena Devanadera holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Santo Tomas and an MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of the Philippines. She moved to Canada, in 2014, to pursue her diploma in Environmental Protection Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She joined the 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 ISH 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.
Gabriel Arruda is a graduate of Environmental Protection Technology at KPU with his Diploma. He assists on a project on cutworms at ISH 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.
An Nguyen is a recent graduate of Environmental Protection Technology, receiving her Diploma from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). 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 the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the near future to further her knowledge in the industry.
Ryan Hoy graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelors degree in Biology in May 2019, and started working at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture later this year. He is interested in plant molecular biology and plant immunity, and he intends to start a Master’s degree next fall. Ryan is currently working on a soil-borne disease bioassay to test the efficacy of novel biofungicides in woody ornamental plants, and will also be working on a project studying salt stress in lettuce.
Masha Zalyvadna recently received her diploma in Environmental Protection Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is currently performing research at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) on secondary metabolites and physical and chemical properties of Trichoderma. As a student, she worked for E.S Cropconsult in the summer of 2018 on a Co-op term and briefly helped out in the blueberry fields in April 2019. In her second co-op term she work at Simon Fraser University’s Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion on a collaborative project with ISH to develop innovative technologies for temperature and humidity control in greenhouses.
Melissa Calderwood is currently working in the ISH greenhouse as a research intern. She recently graduated with an Environmental Protection Technology Diploma from 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.
Jasmine is working towards getting Bachelor of Health Science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She is working as a co-op student at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture. She currently researches the antifungal activity of beneficial bacteria in black solider fly frass against several plant pathogens such as Pythium myriotylum and Rhizoctonia solani.
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.
Past Research Intern
Mazna is a second year student in Food Engineering (Master degree program) at AgroSup Dijon (France). Mazna was 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.
Alisson Lopes Cabral
Past Research Intern
Alisson is a second year student in Food Engineering (master degree program) at Agrosup Dijon in France (National Institute of Agronomy and Food Science). She worked as research intern at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Institute for Sustainable Horticulture(ISH) under supervision of Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi. She studied impact of beneficial bacteria present in black soldier fly on soil microbe profiles. The aim of this project was to exhibit benefits as a plant growth promoter as well as a plant pathogen suppressor due to the bacterial profiles and to achieve having green industry in the future.
Past Research Intern
Sofie holds a MSc in Bioscience Engineering Technology from Ghent University, Belgium. In 2018 she spent a semester at the ISH lab, researching the properties of two isolates of the fungus Beauveria bassiana and testing their efficacy as a bio-insecticide against cabbage looper larvae. She wrote her master’s thesis on the subject and was mentored by Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi during the process.
Past Student Intern
Sarah is a grade twelve student at R.E. Mountain Secondary School. From September of 2017, Sarah was involved in horticultural research under the mentorship of Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi. She took part in numerous projects including the studies of natural fungal biocontrol agents, such as Trichoderma atroviride and Beauveria bassiana. Her most recent independent trial involved the investigation of Black Fly larvae frass as a novel biofertilizer, which showed significant results for improving plant health while mitigating environmental impact.
Past Student Intern
Neelah Hassanzadeh is a high school IB student who is currently in grade 12 in Langley. She started volunteering at the Institute of Horticulture (KPU Langley Campus) in June 2018 and continued to work at ISH throughout the year. In October 2018, Neelah and her friend, Sarah Choi, decided to start their own project about Black Soldier Fly Larvae frass as an organic fertilizer that is able to defend against harmful pathogens. They worked on this project under the supervision of Dr. Sepideh Tahriri Adabi, a research scientist who works at ISH. In April 2019, Neelah and her friend presented their project at the Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair where they won gold which advanced them to the Canada-Wide Science Fair; where they won a silver medal. Neelah worked as a research assistant at ISH on various projects with other research scientists and aspires to attend the KPU nursing program when she graduates high school.