The Chair - Dr Heather G. Marco

Dr Heather G. Marco

Dr Heather G. Marco was born and educated in Cape Town, South Africa. She completed all her academic degrees at the University of Cape Town (UCT), which is the top-ranked university on the African continent and ranked amongst the top 200 universities in the world. She is an alumna of both the Science Faculty and the Health Sciences Faculty. The PhD in Zoology was conferred in December 2000. She carried out a postdoc at the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf with an Alexander von Humboldt postdoc fellowship in 2002-2003, where she used molecular biology to investigate a G protein-coupled receptor for a family of neuropeptide hormones (the allatostatins). Her research area is Comparative Neuroendocrinology.


Heather has been an academic staff member of UCT’s Science Faculty since 2001 where she teaches Animal Physiology and Cell Biology. Her scientific standing has been rated by the national and international scientific community via the National Research Foundation of S. Africa since 2005. To date, Dr Marco has more than 45 articles published in international/peer-reviewed journals, and chapters in 4 academic books; her recent work “Genome Sequence of the Tsetse Fly (Glossinamorsitans): Vector of African Trypanosomiasis” is published in Science (2014) 344: 380-386. Heather has twice hosted Feodor Lynen postdocs, is a member of scientific societies (Zoological Society of South Africa, European Comparative Endocrinologists) and since 2010, she serves on the executive committee of SAWISE: The Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering. Heather Marco is a  Humboldt Ambassador Scientist in South  Africa, and served as interim Secretary of AGNES.

In 2012 she was selected for the Humboldt Alumni Prize for innovative networking (which was conferred in 2013), and since 2013 she is the Secretary of AHASA (the Alexander von Humboldt Association in southern Africa: the south-western Chapter).

The Vice-Chair - Jens Gebauer

Jens Gebauer

Born in Berlin, Jens Gebauer studied horticulture at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (M.Sc. Hortic.), agriculture at the University College Dublin (M.Sc. Agric.) and received in 2003 his doctoral degree from the Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

His great affinity for (wild) fruit trees leads him to Africa. With a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, worked for two years at the Agricultural Research Corporation in Sudan investigating complex sustainable land use systems.


From 2005, Gebauer worked as a research  assistant at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences of the University of Kassel. He conducted botanical field surveys with a special focus on genetic resources in Africa and Asia.

The results obtained were in 2008 summarized in his habilitation. From 2009 he carried out research and taught as an assistant professor at the University of Kassel.

Since 2011, Gebauer has been professor for Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems with Special Focus on Horticulture and head of the Tropical Greenhouse at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.

He has over 45 peer-reviewed papers, 15 non-reviewed papers and 75 conference contributions.

Gebauer is a member of the German Society for Horticultural Science, the Council for Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Research, the editorial board of the Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics, and the board of  directors of the German Association of   Humboldtians.

The Secretary - Clement Adebooye


Adebooye, a Nigerian, is a holder of B. Agric.(Plant Science), MSc and PhD (Agronomy/Plant Physiology). He is full Professor in the Department of Agronomy, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria. He is presently the Regional Project Coordinator for West Africa for the Canadian Government IDRC-GAC Project 107983 being implemented in Benin Republic and Nigeria. He is also the Ambassador Scientist for German Humboldt Foundation in Nigeria. He currently serves as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Research), Osun State University, Osogbo.

He is a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an alumnus of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He holds Certificate in Tissue Culture Techniques (United Nations University, Tokyo), Certificate in Cytogenetics (IITA, Ibadan) and Certificate in Food and Plant Analysis (United Nations/CSIR, India). He served as PhD external examiner for University of Fort Hare, South Africa (2007-2013) and project assessor for the Danish Government (2006-2009) and external examiner to many universities in Nigeria. 

He is a Fellow of the College of Research Associates (CRA), United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. He had postdoctoral research experience at the United Nations University, CFTRI, Mysore-India from 2005-2006. He also worked as an Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Bonn-Germany in 2006-2008. He was at several times a Visiting Professor at the University of Bonn-Germany (2009, 2011, 2014, 2017). He worked as Visiting Professor at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart-Germany (2011) and Forschung Zentrum, Julich, Germany (2012). He also had a short Visiting Appointment at the Cape Breton University, Sydney, and worked as a Professor at the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Canada. 

Adebooye is a winner of 12 competitive international research grants and has attended about 70 international conferences in about 37 countries. Adebooye was named the winner of 2009 Humboldt Alumni Award by the Humboldt Foundation. As at today, the totality of Professor Adebooye’s research grants and international funding portfolio stands at about twelve million US dollars (US$12.0m) with grants from United Nations and the German, Italian, Canadian and Indian governments. 

He is the Secretary of the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES) which is an appendage of the German Government Humboldt Foundation as a tool for international cooperation. He is a member of many professional associations including the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES), International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), German Society for Horticultural Science, Horticultural Society of Nigeria (HORTSON), Japanese Society for Horticultural Science, College of Research Associates, United Nations University and Association of Food Scientists (ASFST), India. 

Office Administrator - Emilio Mathews

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Emilio Mathews has worked for many departments at the University of Cape Town, until recently joined AGNES in March 2017. Emilio is currently working as the general Administrator and also Personal Assistant to the Chair and President of AGNES, Dr. Heather Marco.



Anja Kern

Anja Kern

Anja Kern has been working as programme officer at the Humboldt Foundation since September 2013 . Among her responsibilities are the support of the AGNES Network and the implementation of Humboldt Life, the new online network for Humboldtians. In particular, she moderates the AGNES group in Humboldt Life and is looking forward to encourage social networking amongst the AGNES members online. Before she took up her employment at the Humboldt Foundation she studied German, African and Arabic Studies and has been teaching at universities abroad.

Dr. Daniela Kneissl

Dr. Daniela Kneissl

Dr. Daniela Kneissl is Head of Division Africa, Middle East in the Sponsorship and Network Department of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She is responsible for various sponsorship and alumni programs as well as for special measures for supporting and extending the Network of Humboldt Research Fellows and Award Winners in Africa and the Middle East. Previously, she was amongst others Head of the Division Evaluation, Statistics. Dr. Kneissl holds a PhD in Modern and Contemporary History and master degrees in Comparative Literature and Art History. She studied in Augsburg, Munich and Paris. Before joining the Humboldt Foundation in 2009, Dr. Kneissl was working as a researcher at the German Historical Institute in Paris.