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Partner's general description and participants


Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech - University of Liège

Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech belongs to University of Liège. The Laboratory of Integrated and Urban Phytopathology, which belongs to the Department Agronomical Sciences, is involved from more than 25 years in the R&D on plant viruses, encompassing areas like diagnostic tool development and validation, population genetics, epidemiological studies, plant-virus interaction. Moreover, the laboratory is the official Germplasm Health Unit of Musa Genebank Collection of Biodiversity International (from CGIAR center) and has participated or coordinated the validation of molecular diagnostic tool at EU levels. The Laboratory corresponds to a team of 26 people (including 3 professors, 7 Post-doc, 5 technicians, 11 PhDs and 1 engineer) and hosts during 6 months an average of 10 Master trainees each year.

Role and participation in the project

ULG will lead the WP2 (Improvement of the validation process) and will participate to all WPs except WP3. Team involved:


Sebastien MASSART

Prof. Sebastien Massart is a plant pathologist interested in diagnostics improvement, plant virology and plant microbiome research.

He started his academic position in 2015 and is currently managing a research team of 10 scientists in plant pathology. He is also the manager of the Germplasm Health Unit of Bioversity International Genebank, ensuring virus testing of the Genebank before international distribution.

He has worked during 6 years (2008-2013) in a private company developing high throughput sequencing (HTS) services for diagnostics. He is currently coordinating a COST Action ( involving more than 150 scientists and focused on the use of HTS technologies to study and detect plant viruses.

Sebastien speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and Catalan and has basic knowledge of Dutch.

Bénédicte LEBAS

Bénédicte Lebas has recently joined the Univeristy of Liège of Gembloux to work on the Work package 2, lead by Sébastien Massart.

Dr Bénédicte LEBAS has more than 15 years’ experience in plant virology diagnostics at the Plant Health and Environment Laboratory of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), New Zealand. She was involved in the development, implementation and auditing of the quality system ISO 17025. She also took part in the writing of IPPC manual guide on pest diagnostics.

During the last year she was part of the MPI Plant Import team looking after the Import health standard for nursery stock and conducting audits of offshore facilities. She took part of a QUADS group (group of experts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA) working on managing regulatory issues arising from new technologies.

Bénédicte speaks fluent French and English.

EU H2020
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement n°773139.

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