Emeritus Professor, Ghent University, Belgium

Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu is a pioneer in plant molecular biology. He is well known (with J. Schell) as the discoverer of the Ti-plasmid and the inventor of Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation technology, now used worldwide to produce genetically engineered plants. Van Montagu used this new technology to study gene regulation and to discover the molecular basis of several plant physiological processes. He has made major contributions to the identification of genes involved in plant growth, development and flowering. He was Founding Member and Member of the Board of Directors of two Belgian biotech companies, spin-offs from his laboratory, Plant Genetic System (PGS) and CropDesign. At PGS he drove front-line innovations for biotech agriculture, such as plants resistant to insects or tolerant to more environmentally friendly herbicides. 

He has won numerous prizes amongst which the Japan prize. He is a member of several academies including the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Italy, Brazil and the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Academies of Agriculture of France and Russia, and the Academy of Engineering of Sweden. In October 2013 he was awarded the World Food Prize. In November 2014, he became UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for Agribusiness. He is ranked as the most cited scientist in the field of Plant & Animal Science until 2004. He has produced over 1000 publications and the totality of scientific publications has received more than 50.000 citations. Due to his accomplishments he received in 1990 the title of Baron from the King of Belgians. Currently he is President of the European Federation of Biotechnology and of the Public Research and Regulation Initiative, and Chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach. Marc Van Montagu holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry/ Biochemistry and a BA in Chemistry from Ghent University.