Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
University of California
Seed Biotechnology Center

Seed Biology and Quality

Delivering improved varieties and crop protection through high quality seed is a vital component of modern agricultural production systems. It is critical that seed producers and marketers have an understanding of the biological factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of seed health, vigor and viability, and how those qualities are measured. This course presents the scientific background and technical protocols for assessing, enhancing and maintaining high seed quality and updates participants on new information in these topics, including seed pathology and enhancement. The course targets quality assurance professionals in the seed industry, new employees, consultants, breeders and seed producers to extend and update their knowledge. 

Registration for Seed Biology and Quality opening soon

Course Topics

  • Seed development and maturation
  • Seed vigor and viability
  • Seed health and phytosanitation 
  • Seed testing
  • Seed enhancement
  • Seed longevity and storage
  • Seed biotechnology
  • Seed pathology
Preliminary Lab topic areas:
  • Standardized seed health testing methods
  • Certification of labs for seed health testing
  • Testing treated vs. non-treated seed (fungicide, bactericide, biological, organic & disinfectant treatments)
  • Molecular vs. ‘biological’ seed health assays (indirect vs. direct assays)
  • Location of infection of seeds by plant pathogens
  • Sample size for seed health testing, seed sampling protocols

Seed Biology and Quality Instructors

Course Instructors are not yet confirmed

Kent J. Bradford, Professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Director, Seed Biotechnology Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA. Kent received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Horticulture from Michigan State University and received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from UC Davis in 1981. Kent is the founding Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, interim Director of the World Food Center and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Dr. Bradford, as Academic Director of the SBC, oversees, promotes and conducts the outreach, education and research activities of the Center. His research is focused on the development, maintenance, and expression of seed quality; plant water relations; developmental and growth regulation.

Samantha Thomas
Samantha Thomas has earned a MS and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University. She has been with Monsanto for 11 years and currently she is the Stewardship and Industry Affairs lead within Quality. She works across seed industry and regulatory partners to develop and use quality tools to address the phytosanitary risk of seed movement. Her areas of expertise include seed pathology and seed health testing, seed movement, best management practices for vegetable seed production.


Phyllis Himmel, CPPSI
Phyllis Himmel, Director, Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI). Phyllis joined the UCD Seed Biotechnology Center in July 2015 to lead the seed industry funded CPPSI. She brings 25 years of experience in disease resistance discovery and development, research leadership, product discovery and development in the Agricultural Sciences. Phyllis received her MS and PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Arizona. After a 3 year USDA/ARS Post Doc researching WSBMV in hard red winter wheat at the University of Illinois, Phyllis joined the Asgrow (later Seminis, Monsanto) Vegetable Seed Company as a research pathologist. She established and led a program to identify and develop resistance in vegetables to viral pathogens, eventually leading the global pathology team of 64 scientists and staff as Director of Research Pathology. While at Marrone Bio Innovations, Phyllis held personnel and product management roles in the discovery and development of plant and microbe based biopesticides.

Pedro Bello, UC Davis
Pedro Bello has a B.S. degree in Systems Analysis and a graduate degree in Strategic Management of Information Technologies from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas in Brazil. At UC Davis, Pedro gathered vast experience in seed research working with professor Dr. Kent Bradford for over 7 years. He is specialized in the assessment of seed quality, vigor and storage life. He has been developing efficient tools and mathematical models for new seed technologies. His innovations on the analytical equipment for single-seed respiration measurements (Q2 Scanner) made the information from the instrument useful and more accessible to users around the world.

Diane Krause
Diane Krause spent 36 years at Monsanto in performing and managing testing of bacterial seed-borne pathogens and disease resistance in vegetable crops.  Diane worked on cross-functional teams in seed sanitation, field quality and seed testing. The work with the seed sanitation team helped validate or modify seed testing to adapt to new seed sanitation methods.  She also assisted the research team in developing new seed testing methods. 


Riad Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Riad Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, CA, USA. Areas of specialization include seed viability and vigor determinations, as well as laboratory methods development for routine seed quality testing. His current research focuses on exploring the use of automated monitoring and data collection systems for identifying universal indicators of seed vigor, with emphasis on radicle growth measurements.”


Mike O’Leary
Mike O’Leary is a postdoctoral researcher working under the direction of Professor Robert L. Gilbertson at the University of California, Davis. He received his B.S. in Botany from UC Riverside in 2009, and his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from UC Davis in 2018. His research focuses on bacterial blight diseases of common bean, with an emphasis on utilizing molecular and genomic approaches to improve diagnostic techniques and investigate mechanisms of pathogenesis.


Matthew May
Matt May is a seed pathologist at Monsanto Vegetable Seeds in Woodland, CA. He has 35 years of experience in developing and conducting seed tests to detect fungal and bacterial seed transmitted and seed-borne plant pathogens.


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