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16th World Congress On Parasitic Plants

 July 03 – 08, 2022, Nairobi, Kenya

Blended Meeting

About the Conference

WCPP is a series of biennial meetings organized by the International Parasitic Plant Society (IPPS: https://www.parasiticplants.org/). The tradition started in Malta in 1973 and provides a platform for experts on parasitic plants from all over the world to exchange ideas and discuss recent progress made in the field of plant parasitism. The 15th WCPP was held in Amsterdam in July 2019 and more details can be found here: https://www.parasiticplants.org/wcpp-meeting/wcpp2019-amsterdam-the-netherlands/


The IPPS will sponsor poster prizes and seven travel grants to support students and young researchers from developing countries who will be participating at the Congress.
If you (or one of your collaborators) would wish to apply for any of the travel grants, please read the following rules and act accordingly. Applicants must comply with the following conditions:

  • Your abstract should have been submitted as an oral presentation or a poster at the Congress
  • You should be an Early Career Scientist (e.g. MSc student, Ph.D. student, post-doc)
  • You should not exceed the age of 35 years at the starting date of the Congress (3rd July 2022)

If you meet these criteria and are interested in the possibility of getting a travel grant from the IPPS, please send your application no later than the 30th of June 2022 by e-mail to the IPPS secretary secretary@parasiticplants.org. The IPPS secretariat (with the help of an ad-hoc Committee) will be responsible for the evaluation of the applications. Your application must include:

  • A brief Curriculum Vitae
  • A short motivation letter
  • A budget (estimation of the costs for travel, registration, and accommodation including the costs covered by your home institution)

Successful applicants will be notified by the IPPS Secretary. The IPPS will not provide the travel grant in advance. Please note that the travel grant cannot exceed 750 Euros.
The IPPS also sponsors 3 poster prizes: First prize: 400 Euros; Second prize: 250 Euros; Third prize: 100 Euros
The recipient of grant/prize will need to send by email a completed “Declaration Form” to the IPPS secretary/treasurer within 15 days after the event. The grant/prize will be reimbursed/awarded by the IPPS Treasurer to the recipient by bank transfer after his/her active participation in the Congress, and after receiving the forms, within two months after the event. Details on reimbursements and Declaration forms will be provided by the IPPS Treasurer if a grant has been awarded.

About the Hosts

Damaris Achieng Odeny

Cluster Leader – Genomics, Pre-breeding and Bioinformatics

Damaris Achieng Odeny is a plant molecular breeder working at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Her interest in parasitic plants goes back to her childhood, when she was regularly asked by her parents to weed out Striga from their maize and sorghum fields. Striga, also known as witchweed, is one of the most devastating weeds in western Kenya, where Damaris grew up. Focused on trying to help her parents manage the weed, Damaris is now researching more on the best management strategies for Striga in sorghum and finger millet fields. She also coordinates all Striga activities at ICRISAT. Damaris is delighted to be one of the hosts of the upcoming conference and warmly welcomes all participants to Nairobi.

Email: D.Odeny@cgiar.org

Steven Runo

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology

Steven is an Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Kenyatta. He obtained his first degree in Biochemistry in 1998 at Kenyatta University. He then did a Masters degree in Biotechnology at the same University in 2003. Upon completion, he obtained a PhD fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to study Biotechnology in a sandwich program between Kenyatta University and the University of California Davis where he worked with Prof Neelima Sinha. His PhD was obtained in 2008.

Steven took up a faculty position at Kenyatta University in 2009 as a Lecturer then proceeded to the University of Sheffield as a visiting scientist where he worked with Professor Julie Scholes with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2013 he worn a Fellowship from the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) for another visiting scientist position at the University of Virginia where he worked with Prof Mike Timko.

Steven has had a long-standing research in parasitic plant biology. His initial work was demonstration of active mRNAs exchanged between parasitic plants and their hosts. This paved way for using the concept of host-induced gene silencing to provide resistance against parasitic plants. These initial experiments were carried out in tobacco and Cuscuta.

To transfer the technology of host induced gene silencing to other parasites of economic importance in Africa (Striga), Steven started experiments in sorghum and maize genetic transformation at Kenyatta University. His current work involves identifying sources of Striga resistance from cereals. Stevens group was able to demonstrate Striga resistance in wild sorghum germplasm and maize and millets.
Genetic loci underpinning these resistances are currently being explored using genomics.

Currently, his group is using gene-editing to introduce Striga resistance in sorghum and as a functional genomics in Striga-sorghum interactions

Email: smruno@gmail.com or runo.steve@ku.ac.ke


The video is a message from the President, International Parasitic Plant Society, Prof. Dr. Harro Bouwmeester, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam

Previous conference


WCPP2019 offers an exciting and varied scientific program. In addition to this engaging scientific program, there will be time for social events.

About the venue


Nairobi is a major conference destination and has been named Africa’s leading business destination twice (2016; 2019) by the Annual World Travel Award.

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