Speaker Bios

Jim Elser

Director, Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance

Jim Elser is a limnologist and National Academy of Sciences member with research focused on the effect of key limiting nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in lake ecosystems.  He is a Research Professor and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability and serves as the Director for the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. He is also director of the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana.

Jonathan Coppess

Director, Gardener Agriculture Policy Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jonathan Coppess is on faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program and author of THE FAULT LINES OF FARM POLICY: A LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE FARM BILL.  He has served as Chief Counsel and special counsel for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency at USDA and Legislative Assistant to Senator Ben Nelson.  Jonathan grew up on his family’s farm in Western Ohio, earned his Bachelors’ from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC.

Dan Egan

Journalist in Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for Water Policy.

Dan Egan covered the Great Lakes for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for two decades. He’s the author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes (a New York Times bestseller) and the forthcoming The Devil’s Element: phosphorus and a world out of balance.

JoAnn Burkholder

Director, Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, NCSU

JoAnn Burkholder is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has authored or co-authored nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications emphasizing cultural eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems, and she has received numerous awards for excellence in research and for service in water quality protection, such as the AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. Burkholder has been invited to testify before Congress on issues involving nutrient pollution and harmful algae, and has served on several governor-appointed policy boards involving protection of aquatic resources.

Silvia Secchi

Professor, Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa

Silvia Secchi is a professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Science at the University of Iowa. Her work focuses on the interface between agriculture and the environment, particularly water and carbon. She is a natural resource economist by training, and her work typically combines methodologies from the social sciences, the natural sciences and engineering.

Lejjy Gafour

CEO, CULT Food Science

Lejjy is a self-taught entrepreneur and experienced company operator who made his start creating opportunities at the young age of 14, and he has been working, leading, and building businesses ever since. Lejjy is the former co-founder and CEO of Future Fields, a YCombinator backed biotechnology company, and one of the first operating cellular agriculture companies in Canada. He has over 15 years of experience in both public and private enterprises executing strategy, technology, and product development for everything from financial institutions, manufacturing, public health, to world class universities. He is also a founding member of Cellular Agriculture Canada.

Maurício Fortuna

Phosphate Analyst, CRU

Maurício is a Phosphate Analyst at CRU, examining global production and demand markets. He is the editor of the CRU’s Phosphate Rock Market Outlook. His other research interests include sustainability in phosphate markets, and developments in agricultural production in Latin America. He hails from sunny Rio de Janeiro but is currently based in rainy London.

Kaushik Majumdar

Director General of the African Plant Nutrition Institute, Morocco, and Interim Executive Director of the Global Phosphorus Institute

Kaushik Majumdar is the Director General of the African Plant Nutrition Institute, Morocco, and Interim Executive Director of the Global Phosphorus Institute. Earlier, Dr. Majumdar was the Vice President of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), coordinating research and outreach activities of IPNI in Asia and Africa. Dr. Majumdar has a Ph.D. in Soil Mineralogy/Soil Chemistry from Rutgers University, U.S.A. His current area of interest is precision crop nutrition for climate resilience and soil health in smallholder production systems. Dr. Majumdar has co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Ludwig Hermann

President, European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform

Ludwig works as senior researcher and advisor at Proman Management GmbH, (www.proman.pro), which designs, develops, manages, and evaluates innovation, research and development projects for business, policy makers and non-profit organizations. Ludwig is president and member of the board of the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform. He is member of the Scientific Advisory Board “Environment” of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin, of the Steering Committee of the International Water Association’s Resource Recovery Cluster, The Hague, and of Expert Groups dealing with plant nutrition, protection of soil, water and management of critical raw materials on behalf of the European Commission, Brussels.


Emily Remmel

Director of Regulatory Affairs, National Association of Clean Water Agencies

Emily Remmel is NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and spends her time working on water quality, PFAS, biosolids, stormwater, water reuse and other pertinent regulatory issues happening at the federal level. Emily has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Vermont Law School.

Anna-Maria Marshall

Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Anna-Maria Marshall has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University.  She is currently an associate professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Illinois. Her research currently focuses on governance and policy-making on the environmental issues associated with agriculture.  She is working on several projects on the adoption of innovative technologies and best management practices to address nutrient loss in Midwestern waters, and the role of voluntary policies in promoting such adoption.

Jacob Jones

Professor of Materials Science, Director of STEPS

Jacob Jones is the Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Director and Principal Investigator of the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center (www.steps-center.org, a U.S. NSF Science and Technology Center), and Director and Principal Investigator of the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (www.rtnn.org) at NC State University. Jones’ research involves developing functional materials such as materials for phosphorus sorption, primarily through the use of advanced X-ray and neutron scattering tools. Jones has published over 275 peer-reviewed academic journal articles and delivered well over 200 invited lectures on these topics. Jones is a Fellow of the IEEE Society and the American Ceramic Society and has received numerous awards for his research and education activities, including an NSF CAREER award, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, the NC State College of Engineering George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award, and the 2019 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award.

Nancy Rabalais

Professor, Louisiana State University

Nancy Rabalais is a Professor at Louisiana State University, Oceanography and Coastal Studies, where she holds the Shell Endowed Chair in Oceanography/Wetland Studies. Since the mid-1980s, Rabalais has characterized the dynamics of oxygen deficiency across a large region in the northern Gulf ofMexico. She currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program Division Committee. She is a fellow of the AAAS and AGU, a recipient of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur award, and a member of the NAS.

Will Brownlie

Postdoctoral Research Associate, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Will Brownlie is the project coordinator of the Our Phosphorus Future project. His research focuses on the sustainable management of phosphorus and nitrogen to minimize impacts on the environment and society. Will contributes to the UNEP in various capacities, including engagement with the UNEP Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) as a member of the Phosphorus Task Team, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), and is also part of the project coordination unit of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS) project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund.

Bryan Spears

Professor, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Since 2001, Bryan Spears has studied phosphorus pollution and geoengineering in lakes across the world and currently leads research into climate and land-use change mitigation in freshwaters. In 2017, Bryan co-founded the International Society of Limnology Working Group on Lake Restoration which works across borders to deliver knowledge and expertise to the international community, with a focus on building capacity to restore lake ecosystems in developing economies. Bryan also contributes to the UNEP World Water Quality Alliance and the GPNM Phosphorus Task Team.

Laura Johnson

Director, National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University

Laura Johnson is director of the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. At the NCWQR, long-term monitoring of streams and rivers is used to examine the influence of human activities on water quality and help decide actions that lead to healthier ecosystems. Laura is best known for research examining the linkages between agricultural runoff and harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. As director, she has overseen the expansion of the monitoring program, curriculum development in Watershed Science, revitalization of the Sandusky River Watershed Coalition, and has been part of numerous workgroups and advisory boards. Under her guidance since 2016, the NCWQR continues to be the gold standard for research in nonpoint source pollution in watersheds. Laura received her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and was a postdoctoral research associate at Indiana University in Bloomington prior to joining Heidelberg University in 2013.