Howard-Yana Shapiro, PhD Chief Agricultural Officer Mars; Incorporated Senior Fellow Plant Sciences College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences UC Davis

Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars Advanced Research Institute Fellow, Mars, Incorporated;
Senior Fellow, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis;
Science Advisor, MIT Media Lab;
Distinguished Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

Howard has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 40 years. He has worked with indigenous communities, NGO’s, governmental agencies and the private sector around the world.

His academic career spanned 15 years. Shapiro is a Senior Fellow at UC Davis, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, involving graduate student and post-doctoral students exclusively.  A former Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow, in 2007 Howard was made a Distinguished Fellow of the World Agroforestry Centre and authored the IAASTD chapter on Biotechnology and Biodiversity.  He was a member of the National Research Council Committee on Citrus and Greening, a founding member of the Keystone Roundtable on Sustainable Agriculture, co-chair of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd World Congress of Agroforestry and was the Chairperson of the External Advisory Board of the Agriculture Sustainability Institute at UC Davis for 10 years. In 2009, he was named recipient of The Award of Distinction from The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis.  He led the global effort sequencing, assembling and annotating the Theobroma cacao genome, and the Arachis hypogaea genome.  Shapiro served the World Bank as one of the lead authors of the Mid-Term Review of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture research, serves as an Advisor to the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility, sits on the Board of the WWF Markets Institute, collaborated on cropping systems with the Tata Trust and serves as a consultant to many NGO’s.

Shapiro founded the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) and the African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA) in 2011.  The effort will sequence, assemble and annotate 101 key food cultivars, which are the backbone of African nutrition. Additionally, the AfPBA will train 150 African scientists in modern breeding technology for discovery and translation of new nutritionally improved varieties.  So far 47 crops have been sequenced, assembled and annotated with 67 breeding programs in place.

He collects and restores classic American, modern Japanese and Italian motorcycles, recently becoming a member of the 200 Mile Per Hour Club on an unrestricted 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa, averaging 201.386 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats.