Dr. Barbara Zeeb received her PhD from Queen’s University, Canada in 1994. She joined the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 1996 to co-ordinate environmental research projects, supervise graduate students, and manage environmental projects at numerous active and abandoned military installations across Canada. Since 1999, Dr. Zeeb has been involved in studies to phytoremediate heavy metals and organochlorines (in particular PCBs and DDT). Working with government agencies (Environment Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources, and US EPA), and contaminated site owners, she has worked to provide a realistic picture of the benefits (and pitfalls) of organochlorine phytoextraction. In January 2004 (and renewed in 2009) Dr. Zeeb was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Biotechnologies and the Environment at RMC in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, as well as Canada Foundation for Innovation Awards, to fund the creation of her analytical laboratory and purchase of a controlled plant growth chamber dedicated to biotechnological research. Recently she was awarded a second NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grant to expand her current work on biochar characterization and utilization for contaminant sorption at new field sites, including those impacted with high concentrations of salts. Dr. Zeeb is also an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Queen’s University, Canada and on two occasions she has participated in teaching mini-courses on phytoremediation to researchers and land owners in Eastern Europe.

Immediate Past President

Dr. David T. Tsao is the Americas Remediation Engineering and Technology Manager in BP’s Remediation Management function at their Naperville, IL office. He is responsible for a team of specialists coordinating, developing, and implementing the technical clean up strategies for a broad range of BP sites.  He is active in oil spill response planning and prevention, and lead the Bio-Chem Strike Team for the Deepwater Horizon response. He is also responsible for evaluating and minimizing the potential environmental impacts of new products and activities associated with unconventional and alternative energy sources.  David is a chemical engineering graduate of Purdue University (B.S., M.S., Ph.D) where his research included plant biotechnology, pharmaceutical production, and plant production for space (NASA) applications.  Upon graduating, David worked for Amoco specializing in the remediation of fuel oxygenates and the use of phytotechnologies for remediation and prevention.  He remains active in several remediation and restoration technology areas by actively developing, publishing research and technical guidance, and teaching these technologies.  He is a founding member in the International Phytotechnology Society and Senior Associate Editor of the International Journal of Phytoremediation. David serves on the Board of Advisors for the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council, a U.S. regulatory association.

Executive Vice President

Dr. Liz Rylott has expertise in the remediation of organic and inorganic pollutants from soils by plants. More specifically this involves understanding, at the molecular and biochemical levels, how plants respond to and detoxify environmental pollutants. Her research focuses on explosive compounds, herbicides and metals, particularly nickel, gold and platinum group metals. Species studied include Arabidopsis, a model plant for molecular biology research, along with more phytoremediation-relevant plants such as switchgrass, willow, miscanthus and metal-hyperaccumulator species. The longer-term aims of the current research include developing uses for sustainably extracted metals ( and GM-based technologies for the remediation of explosives from military ranges. Dr Rylott received her Ph.D. in Plant Genetics and Biochemistry from The John Innes Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK in 1997. She is a member of the International Phytotechnology Society (IPS; secretary 2012-2015), the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) and Royal Society of Biology (RSB) and a Scientific Advisor for Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS). Dr Rylott has extensively published her research findings in high profile journals including Science, Nature Biotech, PNAS, The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology and New Phytologist. Her research has been widely publicised in leading national and international newspapers and other media. Further details can be found on her website

Vice President

Dr. Marta Marmiroli is Associate Professor of Biotechnology and of Phytoremediation at the University of Parma, Italy, at the Department of Chemistry, Life Science and Environmental Sustainability. She graduated in Physics at the University of Parma and had her Ph.D. at the same University in Plant Biotechnology. She is specialized in the mechanisms of interaction of plants with metals, and in the last ten years she developed an interest in nanobiotechnology and the study of nanomaterials as crop additives. She constantly collaborates with the CAES (Connecticut Agriculture Environment Station, CT., USA). She also conducts research with Electron Microscopy and with synchrotron-based techniques in Trieste, Italy and ESRF, France. She works with biochar as an amendment for agriculture. She teaches Biotechnology at the University of Parma. She is also part of the Doctorate school of Biotechnology and Bioscience at the University of Parma, where she tutors several Ph.D. students.

 She is an Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Phytoremediation for the section on metals and often features as Guest Editor for Special Issues in the Journal Nanomaterials. She is a member of the International Phytotechnology Society, of the Italian Society for Biology and Genetics, of the Italian Society of Microscopy. She was awarded the Steven Ebbs Prize in 2019.

Vice President

Dr. Azam Noori is an Associate Professor of Biology at Merrimack College (North Andover, MA). She received her Ph.D. from Tarbiat Modares University (Tehran, Iran) in 2012. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry for four years. Her research in phytotechnology involves plant responses to environmental pollutants at the physiological and molecular level. She has studied the phytotoxicological responses to petroleum, nanomaterials, and PFAS. Throughout her work at Tehran refinery and central areas of Iran she has gained experience in applying phytotechnology in the field. At her current institution, a primarily undergraduate institution, she trains undergraduate students on her research.

Dr. Noori is a member of the International Phytotechnology Society and American Society of Biologists. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Phytoremediation and is a guest editor for the special issue of the journal Horticulturae. 

Vice President

Yongming Luo is the former General-Director of Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YIC-CAS) and now is a Director of Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, CAS(since 2011). He is also the professor of Institute of Soil Science (ISS), CAS and was a Director of Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, CAS during 2008-2012 in ISS-CAS. Dr. Luo received his PhD degree at the Queen’s University of Belfast in UK in 1997. He joined the ISS-CAS in 1998 as a “Hundred Talents Program” professor. In 2011, he was appointed as a vice director and professor at YIC-CAS, and then the General Director of YIC-CAS in 2013.Dr. Luo has served as an active member of the International Phytotechnology Society and an editorial board member of the International Journal of Phytoremediation since 2003. He is also a scientific steering committee member of Future Earth Coast and the director of the East Asia Node since 2011. He has served as an executive member of the Soil Science Society of China since 2012, and the academic consultant of the Soil Remediation Committee of SSSC since 2014. Dr. Luo’s research interests mainly focus on soil environment and pollution remediation (especially phytoremediation and bioremediation), regional environmental quality and risk management. He has more than 20 years of experience in fundamental and applied researches with more than 400 (co-)authored scientific papers and 20books. He has also obtained 27patents on soil methodology and remediation technology in China. In the last two decades, he has headed more than 30 large multidisciplinary research projects which include 6 projects of international cooperation with the USA, UK, Germany, the Netherland, Australia and Japan funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). He, as a chairman, organized 15 international conferences, including 5 SOILREN, 3 SITEREM and 2 PHYTOTECH (2008 in Nanjing and 2016 in Hangzhou). He was awarded as the “National Outstanding Young Scientist” by NSFC (2001) and the first prize of the 9th and 11th “Science and Technology Award of Soil Science Society of China” (2014 and 2016).


Elena Maestri is currently a Full Professor of Biology at the University of Parma (Parma, Italy), working in the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. She obtained the Master degree in Biology at the University of Pavia (Italy, 1985). The PhD in Genetics (University of Ferrara, Italy, 1989) concerned plant responses to carbon starvation. Postdoc positions at the University of Parma were focused on studies of abiotic stress response in plants (heat shock, drought). After obtaining a permanent position at the University of Parma in the group led by Prof Nelson Marmiroli, the research activities shifted towards environmental pollution and phytotechnologies, nanotechnologies and toxicity, food safety and authenticity, sustainability in agriculture, capacity building. She is a professor in the Bachelor degrees of “Biotechnology” and of “Sciences for Nature and Environment”, teaching general and animal biology, environmental biology, applications of transgenic organisms. She is the current Coordinator of the “Biotechnology” bachelor degree. She participates in the Italian Consortium for Environmental Sciences (CINSA) and in the National COnsortium for Science and Technology of Materials (INSTM). She is Subject Editor for “Phytoremediation and ecosystem restoration” for the journal ESPR – Environmental Science and Pollution Research, and in the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Phytoremediation. She has been active in the International Phytotechnology Society since 2007, recently in the Board of Directors. Prof Elena Maestri has co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed publications and delivered over 85 presentations at conferences and congresses. Her current h-index is 24 with over 2600 citations (Scopus, 2017). Twitter @MaestriElena


Matt Limmer is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Delaware in the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences. He researches the biogeochemical interactions of arsenic, silicon, and rice. He graduated from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Environmental Engineering where he studied plant interactions with organic contaminants, with a specific focus on phytoscreening.

Board of Directors

Dr. Om Parkash Dhankher, PhD, Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Massachusetts, USA

Professor Harrison Atagana, PhD, Pr. Sc. Nat., FRSB, Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability, College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, University of South Africa; Pretoria, South Africa

Karah Conklin, Consultant, Integral Consulting; Denver, Colorado, USA

John Quinn, PhD, Principal Hydrogeologist, Argonne National Lab; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Barry Harding, Director of Nature Based Solutions, AECOM Remediation West; Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Douglas M. Burge, RG, PG, Senior Manager, Ramboll; St Louis, Missouri, USA

Dr. Joel Burken, Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology; St Louis, Missouri, USA

Dr. John L. Freeman III, Chief Science Officer, Intrinsyx Environmental; Sunnyvale, California, USA

Renee Stoops, Municipal Liaison and Conservation Specialist, Southern Rhode Island Conservation District; Wood River Jct, Rhode Island, USA

Dr. Chen Tu, PhD, Associate Professor, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

Tomas Vanek, PhD, Vice-Head of Laboratory of Plant Biotechnologies, Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR; Prague, Czech Republic

Founding President

Lee Newman 

President's Advisory Council

Dr. Jason C. White, Director, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES); New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Dr. Lee Newman, Associate Professor, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York (SUNY); Syracuse, New York, USA

Website Administrator

Renee Stoops is a passionate and professional ecological horticulturist, conservationist, and communicator specializing in bridging diverse scientific and spiritual dimensions for the purposes of applying practical strategies to our managed landscapes to provide ecosystem services-clean water, clean soil, clean air, and habitat and to re-balance the human relationship with the natural world. She is currently working for the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District as the Municipal Liaison specializing in green infrastructure, stormwater management, and water resource management. Her background includes substantial academic, professional, and life experience in stormwater and wastewater treatment consulting, plant selection and management, writing, teaching, science translation, partnership building, wetland conservation/restoration/management, sustainable landscapes, and Plant Spirit Medicine (TM). Renee received her B.A. in Biology/ Geology from Brown University in 1994, and her M.S. in Plant Science from the University of Rhode Island in 1999. Notable achievements include: curriculum development and teaching of the Associates Degree Program in Phytotechnology at Chemeketa Community College; management of the Oregon Garden’s 17+acre constructed treatment wetlands for 12 years; innovative research with floating wetlands; notable publications, such as supplements to Sustainable Industries Journal; producing a regional phytotechnology conference called “Soak It Up"; hosting the 2011 IPS Conference in Portland, Oregon; serving as a member of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Advisory Committee to rewrite the regulations for Recycled Water use; and being an inaugural certified “Green Roof Professional” by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She has lectured and given keynote presentations for many different industries and continues to actively seek out opportunities for technology transfer from science to land management. She has served as the IPS Website Administrator for about 8 years.