International Phytobiomes Alliances Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors

The International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research announces the appointment of Natalie Breakfield and Matthew Ryan as new Board members of the organization.

Natalie Breakfield is the Molecular Biology Director at NewLeaf Symbiotics, a US-based company dedicated to sustainable agriculture and singularly focused on a group of beneficial microbes known as M-trophs. In her role, Breakfield is responsible for isolations, sequencing, and initial phenotyping of new Methylobacterium isolates. She works closely with other teams to ensure that the most promising candidates are advanced through NewLeaf’s product pipeline.

Breakfield has been a member of the Alliance Coordinating Committee since the creation of the organization in 2016. She was selected for the Board of Directors for her exceptional depth of knowledge of the biologicals industry and of science related to host-microbe interactions and the overall use of biologicals in agriculture.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve on the Board of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research. Industry-government-academic partnerships, like this one, are becoming more critical as we work towards the common ground of globally sustainable agriculture,” said Breakfield. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Board to advance the work of the Alliance.”


Matthew Ryan is curator of the Genetic Resource Collection at CABI, a UK-based non-profit international organization dedicated to providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Microbiologist by training, Ryan is specifically interested in pure and applied mycology, biodeterioration and natural product research. He is involved in several CABI projects, such as The Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) project aimed at developing a centralized pan-European research infrastructure integrating microbial resources, services and data.

Ryan was selected for the Board of Directors for his outstanding leadership skills displayed through his activities in the UK, Europe, and abroad related to microbial culture collections, agriculturally related microbiomes, plant disease diagnostics, and the acceleration of all phases of phytobiomes science in the developing world as well as in developed countries.

“I am delighted to join the Board of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research. The Alliance has taken the lead to promote the benefits of phytobiomes research and development to global agriculture which ultimately impacts on the lives of people throughout the world through the development of sustainable solutions to increase crop yields,” said Ryan. “I look forward to helping the Alliance achieve its goals over the coming years.”

“We are extremely pleased to have Natalie and Matthew join the Board, they have consistently shown an interest in helping to advance the overall field of phytobiomes science and have repeatedly shown strong leadership capabilities that are essential for Board members of the Phytobiomes Alliance,” explained Kellye Eversole, the Alliance Executive Director. “Their leadership and vision will be invaluable to shape and drive the Alliance strategy for the coming years.”

Launched in 2016, the non-profit International Phytobiomes Alliance facilitates and coordinates international efforts toward expanding phytobiomes research in order to accelerate the sustainable production of food, feed, and fiber for food security. The Board of Directors is in charge of setting the overall vision and mission of the Alliance and provides general oversight for the Alliance operations. Breakfield and Ryan will join the current Board members, Gwyn Beattie (Iowa State University), Kellye Eversole, Magalie Guilhabert (Bayer CropScience) and Jan Leach (Colorado State University) for a three-year term.

About the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research

The International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research is an international, nonprofit alliance of industry, academic, and governmental partners created in 2016. The goal of the Alliance is to understand, predict and control emergent phenotypes for sustainable production of food, feed and fiber on any given farm.

The Alliance is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Eversole Associates, Monsanto, The Climate Corporation, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Novozymes, Colorado State University, Evogene, Indigo Ag, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the University of Maryland, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NewLeaf Symbiotics, the Noble Research Institute, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research, the American Phytopathological Society, BioConsortia, Prime Discoveries, and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.

About NewLeaf Symbiotics

NewLeaf Symbiotics is an agricultural technology company engaged in discovery, development, production, and commercialization of products containing beneficial plant microbes (M-trophs). NewLeaf’s family of products help farmers increase yield by promoting stronger plants and better nutrient uptake, ultimately contributing to the transformation of agriculture towards a more sustainable future. Its 40+member team is based in BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO.

About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries (and lead agencies) including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.



Isabelle Caugant
Communications Director
International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research

Maureen Mazurek
Director of Communications
NewLeaf Symbiotics

Wayne Coles
Communications Manager
+44 (0)1491 829395