The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has appointed Álvaro Gaitán to Director of its National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé). Gaitán holds a BA in microbiology from Universidad de los Andes and a PhD in phytopathology from Cornell University. Gaitán has worked with the FNC on research into genetic improvement of plants and the management of plant diseases for more than 25 years, and has coordinated its Phytopathology department for the past 16 years. He is the co-author of the American Phytopathological Society's Compendium of Pests and Diseases and has authored seventeen publications in referenced journals, twelve book chapters, educational material on technology transfer and has two patents in coffee biotechnology. In addition to providing trainings to coffee growers and the FNC’s Extension Service, Gaitán has been invited to speak about his research at events both in Colombia and abroad. Gaitán will join a panel of experts to discuss how the public and private sector can support initiatives to reduce the effects of climate change, at the 4th World Coffee Conference in Ethiopia in March. Gaitán will be accompanied onstage by Royal Botanic Gardens Senior Research Leader Aaron Davis, HRN Stiftung and President of Coffee and Climate Michael Opitz and The Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, Bio-statistician and Head of Research Michael Ndoumbé Nkeng. The FNC’s Cenicafé focuses on finding solutions to agricultural challenges in terms of productivity, disease management, germplasm characterisation and interaction of coffee with the environment.