Get to know AGENT partner NPPC
NPPC is a research organization under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Slovakia involving seven research institutes. It is the only research organization in Slovakia dealing with strategic and applied research in agriculture and food. Work in the AGENT project is carried out in the Research Institute of Plant Production, which performs various activities in the field of technological research: sustainable and innovative technologies in plant production, including the integrated alternative and ecological forms; plant production greening research of effects and impacts of climate change on the plant production process and possibilities for an adaptation of agriculture to climate change. The genetic breeding research is focused on, in particular, the conservation and utilization of plant gene pool for food and agriculture (the gene bank is located at the Institute in Piešťany); analyses of plant genotypes and the phenotypes, the relationship between them and creation of new biological materials with improved properties using the progressive methods; biotechnological procedures applicable in plant production and in agriculture.
AGENT precison collection, Borovce station
The main goal of the gene bank is to conduct the conservation of seed species of the crops and to ensure monitoring, evaluation, study, identification and long-term conservation of gene pools of all agriculture crops. The Genetic Resources Information System of Slovakia can be found here: https://griss.vurv.sk. The Gene Bank of the Slovak Republic cooperates with other gene banks worldwide, mainly in the bilateral exchange of seeds for research and breeding. The Slovak Republic, as a member of the Bioversity International Rome, participates in the activities of the European Cooperative Programme for Genetic Resources. Research activities are focused on cereals, oilseed forages, legumes, winter wheat, oats, triticale and poppy and some special crops.
AGENT checks, Piešťany
The role of NPPC in the AGENT project is processing and documenting historical and new phenotypic data of wheat and barley varieties, contributing to the creation of a database for the pan-European gene bank phenotyping network, providing biological material and breeding varieties from Slovakia and their sources originating mainly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, disseminating results, scientific publications, the multimedia publication for broad audience outreach, testing a gene bank monitoring system, and training and capacity building gene bank genomics management practices.
Borovce station, AGENT harvest
NPPC main Team
Ing. René Hauptvogel, PhD, is the team leader and manager of NPPC in the AGENT project and researcher at the Gene Bank of the Slovak Republic. He graduated from the Department of Landscape Engineering of the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra. He completed his PhD study at the Department of Botany and Genetics of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. René Hauptvogel is mainly interested in studies of gathering and conserving plant genetic resources, and their evaluation and exploitation for the need of the gene bank, with a particular focus on cereals. He is also an investigator in national and international projects targeting the use and application of geographic information systems in the programme conservation of plant genetic resources. He participates in sessions of the working groups of the European co-operative program ECP/GR, coordinated by Bioversity International in Rome and in international conferences concerning the conservation of plant gene pools and research of agricultural crops.
“I am excited that the AGENT project will link important sites and data of genetic resources of wheat and barley across many countries into one whole, which will help breeders and scientists to increase crop safety and adaptability of varieties to current climate conditions.”
Ing. Pavol Hauptvogel, PhD, has been working at the Research Institute of Plant Production in Piešťany since 1982, where he devotes himself to the evaluation and use of alfalfa genetic resources in breeding. He is a researcher in several scientific projects of the Slovak Research and Development Agency. Pavol Hauptvogel is currently the curator of wheat and a researcher in the field of genetic-breeding research, plant tolerance to abiotic factors and physiological characteristics of wheat, especially concerning the impact of climate change. Under his leadership, projects are being built at VURV Piešťany aimed at supporting applied research, development and technology transfer from the research of plant genetic resources. He also participated in building the Gene Bank of the Slovak Republic and the creation of the National Program for the Preservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources. To a significant extent, he participated in the legislative and organizational principles of work with the gene pool of plants in the Slovak Republic. Since 2014, he has been the executive director of the Research Institute of Plant Production at the National Agricultural and Food Centre.
Pavol Hauptvogel is a country representative in EUCARPIA – European Association for Research on Plant Breeding. Moreover, he is part of the National Focal Point Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture FAO and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. He is also a member of the Slovak Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the board of the Slovak Research and Development Agency for agricultural sciences, amongst others, and is the recipient of several prestigious awards in the field of genetic and breeding research.
“From my many years of experience, the AGENT project is one of the most extensive and complex international projects I have participated in. I believe that the project will make data available that we will be able to use for the benefit of humanity.”
Mgr. Katarína Ondreičková, PhD, is a scientist. She is a molecular biologist and has extensive practical experience in modern methods of molecular biology and biotechnology, specifically in the field of molecular cloning and genomic analyses of plants and microorganisms. She detects microbial genetic diversity in environmental samples and DNA polymorphism in plants. She actively participates in more than 15 research projects as a (principal) investigator. She regularly publishes original scientific papers in international scientific journals, and, at present, she has 174 registered DNA sequences in the GenBank database.
“As a molecular biologist, I am glad that with the AGENT project, I can contribute to uncovering the genetic background of several hundred wheat and barley genotypes stored in our gene bank.“
Mgr. Martina Hudcovicová, PhD, is a scientist. She has extensive practical experience in Real-Time PCR, marker-assisted selection for plant breeding, genotyping of agricultural crops by SSR markers, molecular detection of fungal and viral pathogens of plants and designing of specific primers. She is experienced in managing projects as a principal investigator. Furthermore, she actively participates in research projects as an investigator. Apart from publishing original scientific papers in international scientific journals, she is also a co-designer of currently 24 sequences in the GenBank database.
Ing. Ľubomír Mendel, PhD, is a researcher and a database manager in the Gene Bank of the Slovak Republic and works as an expert in gene bank data. He deals with the genetic diversity of many agricultural species, the evaluation of germplasm of cereals and species suitable for industrial and energy use. His expertise and research are focused on processing research data from field and laboratory experiments and Genotype x Environment management system interactions. Ľubomír Mendel is a member of the Documentation and Information Working Group of the ECPGR.