Executive Committee

Meet the executive committee of CAPB

Dr. Yafan Huang
President, National Correspondent and Government Liaison

Dr. Yafan Huang


Dr. Yafan Huang is the head of Performance Plants Inc., and is responsible for the overall science, technology and commercial development of the company.Performance Plants is one of the leading agricultural biotechnology developers of the world, and has a robust R&D platform, a solid product pipeline and a successful commercialisation strategy, securing licensing and co-development licensing agreements with many major international seed companies. In conjunction with its partners, it is opening up emerging agricultural biotechnology markets worldwide and creating new alliances, forming the basis of the development of next generation of high yielding crops for farmers around the world. For these achievements, the Company has recently won the prestigious 2014 Agrow Award in Best Industry Collaboration.
Dr. Huang earned his M.Sc. in Plant Biochemistry from Mount Allison University, and his Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology from Queen’s University of Canada. Prior to his work in Performance Plants, Dr. Huang worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Illinois at Chicago in the field of plant genetics and hormone signal transduction. Dr. Huang specializes in the field of plant biotechnology and has published extensively in the research areas of plant signal transduction and abiotic stress tolerance, and has presented many keynote seminars and symposia in prestigious research conferences and research institutes around the world. Dr. Huang is one of the key inventors of over 86 patent applications of Performance Plants, and his profound international credibility in plant science has made a strong contribution to his role as the President of the company, where he has successfully built many commercial partnerships.

Dr. Abdelali Hannoufa
Vice-President, Deputy National Correspondent and Secretary

Dr. Abdelali Hannoufa


Dr. Abdelali Hannoufa is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in London, Ontario. He is an expert in the areas of functional plant genomics, biotechnology and secondary metabolism. In his career, Dr. Hannoufa has co-authored over 45 articles and two book chapters, and has presented his research findings at numerous scientific conferences. He was an invited speaker at many national international scientific meeting. He is currently leading or co-leading multi-institute research projects involving plant functional genomics and biotechnology. He served on the steering committee of the ABIP Cellulosic Biofuel Network and was the co-leader of the cell wall biosynthesis section of the Network.
Dr. Hannoufa is also an adjunct professor and a full member of the school of graduate and postdoctoral studies at the University of Western Ontario. He is a member of the science advisory or editorial board of five international journals, and has peer reviewed manuscripts for numerous international journals, and reviewed grant proposals for major granting agencies. Dr. Hannoufa has been a member of the operations committee of IAPB-Canada since 2011, and more recently served as its communications director. He is humbled and honored to be chosen to serve as vice-president and executive secretary of the association for the next few years. He will work in coordination with IAPB-president to advance the plant biotechnology agenda in Canada and internationally.
Dr. Xiu-Qing Li
Director of Communication

Dr. Xiu-Qing Li


Dr. Xiu-Qing Li is a senior level Research Scientist of Molecular Genetics at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and has adjunct professor appointments at several universities; earned his “Doctorat d’Etat” (State Doctor, the highest doctorate degree in France) from Université de Paris-Sud. He worked as an associate research scientist at the Natural Science Research Centre of France (CNRS, France), associate professor at Peking University, invited professor at Université de Paris-Sud, and visiting professor at Purdue University. Dr. Li has chaired six times (years) the Somatic Genome Workshops of the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG; San Diego, CA, USA), and currently is on editorial board of Genetics and Epigenetics and Potato Journal and editor of the book Somatic Genome Manipulation (Springer In press), Dr. Li has published 31 peer reviewed journal papers and 42 chapters in plant cell culture and genetic engineering (and 40 peer reviewed journal papers on other topics).Dr. Li has received awards from the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, the Potato Association of America, and the India Potato Association.
Dr. Rima Menassa
Academic and Industry Liaison

Dr. Rima Menassa


Dr. Rima Menassa obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in plant pathology from the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in plant molecular genetics from the Department of Biology at McGill University. She then joined Agriculture and AgriFood Canada first as a postdoctoral fellow with Jim Brandle, then as a scientist, and now leads the molecular farming effort for the production of recombinant proteins in tobacco leaves at AAFC. She holds an adjunct professor appointment at Western University in London Ontario, and has trained 5 research technicians, 3 postdoctoral researchers, 4 PhD students, and 7 MSc students. Dr. Menassa has been developing a program focused on producing high value recombinant proteins in plants, and has recently focused on producing veterinary subunit vaccines using transient expression by agroinfiltration and stable expression by chloroplast transformation.
She has recently co-organized a workshop sponsored by the OECD on plant-made vaccines as an alternative to antibiotics: countering antimicrobial resistance to veterinary bacterial diseases and ensuring human food safety. This international workshop brought together experts from the research, regulatory, animal health and biotechnology industry communities. Dr. Menassa is funded by AAFC through the A-base, CCGI and ABIP programs. Dr.Menassa has co-authored over 40 scientific publications and was involved in three patent applications. She serves as a reviewer for many international scientific journals as well as national and international scientific granting agencies. Dr. Menassa has been a member of CAPB since 2012, and her duties on the executive committee include networking with Universities and Industry on Plant Biotechnology issues.
Dr. Pankaj Kumar Bhowmik
Membership and Treasurer

Dr. Pankaj Kumar Bhowmik


Dr. Pankaj Kumar Bhowmik received his PhD at the University of Kagawa, Japan and postdoctoral training at the University of Alberta and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Lethbridge Research Centre. He is currently working as a Research Officer under ACRD (Aquatic and Crop Resources Development) portfolio at NRC, Saskatoon. His research focuses on development of an effective and efficient microspore transfection protocol for wheat. Pankaj has been a member of IAPB since 2007. He is a member of the editorial board of Global Science Books and three other international journals and a recipient of many awards including JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) postdoctoral fellowship, NSERC visiting fellowship and Izaak Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Dr. Gary Tian
Webmaster, PostDoc and Student Affairs

Dr. Gary Tian


Dr. Gary Tian is a research scientist at Performance Plants Inc. He obtained his B.Sc in Biotechnology from Sichuan University in China and worked in a Biotech company for 5 years. He then obtained his PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to his work at Performance Plants, Dr. Tian worked as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He specializes in the field of plant biotechnology, epigenetics control of stress response and hormone signal transduction in plants. Dr. Tian has co-authored many scientific publications in high impact journals and delivered talks and presentations at various domestic and international conferences. Dr. Tian will focus on the postdoc and graduate student related issues, and provide assistance on communications such as newsletters and social media. Graduate students and postdoc fellows play important roles in the Canadian plant biotechnology community. Although the majority of them are generally satisfied with the current status of the research environment, problems are still recurrent in many aspects especially in terms of professional development, training and career building. By establishing effective connection networks among students, postdoc, scientists and industry experts, we can fill the gaps and help young professionals succeed in both academia and industry.
Mr. Dhananjay Dhokane
Student Affairs

Mr. Dhananjay Dhokane


Mr. Dhananjay Dhokane is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at Department of Plant Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is honored with prestigious Indian Council of Agriculture Research – International Fellowship (ICAR-IF), awarded by Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India and Graduate Student Excellence Award, McGill University for my PhD studies. He received his Masters in Biotechnology from Centre for Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India. He was bestowed with Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (JNU), awarded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for my Masters studies. He did his Bachelors in Agricultural Biotechnology at College of Agricultural Biotechnology, Mahatma Phule Agricultural University, India. Being a graduate student representative, will promote membership among students and take care of their issues. Membership is open to all professionals/students worldwide busy with Plant Biotechnology. Come on and join hands with CAPB to bridge the gap between learning and applications.
Dr. Lining Tian
Observer as immediate past president
Dr. Lining Tian