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


eNews October 2020

SBC new logo

Message from our Director

Allen Van Deynze

Summer has been productive for the SBC with more transitions and exciting news. Rale Gjuric, director of our education programs, retired July 1st after 10 years with the SBC.  Rale was instrumental in developing our professional programs and, in large part, their success. Rale brought the business model for the programs along with decades of experience in plant breeding. He is a natural instructor who not only taught the concepts, but always translated on how to bring them to practice. This is the foundation of all of our professional classes. Rale co-developed and taught courses from our Plant Breeding Academies (now on 4 continents), Management of Plant Breeding Programs, Seed Business 101 (Hort and Field Crops) and Seed Production classes. He will be dearly missed and we wish him the very best.

Handing off of the “baton” • Jovan Djordjevic (left) and Rale Gjuric
Handing off of the “baton” • Jovan Djordjevic (left) and Rale Gjuric

We are excited to announce that Jovan Djordjevic has joined the SBC as Executive Director. Jovan will manage and teach in our professional classes. Jovan was the global lead of Plant Breeding for BASF Vegetable Seeds for the last 8 years and has 20 years of experience as a canola breeder and corn breeder with Monsanto in France and Canada. Jovan is known for his development of plant breeding programs and mentorship of employees.  He has been an advisor for the SBC for the past 8 years, thus knows us well. He is coming at a perfect time to continue and further develop our programs. For example, we are offering our Hemp Breeding and Production course fully online and are working to develop additional classes in plant breeding, seed business, and seed production online to complement our in-person classes. Note, Seed Central is now even more accessible with our online platform—every second Thursday of the month. We are conducting a stakeholder survey to ensure our programs continue to align with your business needs and we continue to be very active in the seed industry. I wish you a healthy and productive fall season.

Ongoing SBC Courses

With the exception of our Hemp Breeding and Production course being held later this month in a fully on-line format, our in-person courses and plant breeding academies have been postponed due to the global pandemic. We are working to bridge the gap in continuous learning during the pandemic and are developing virtual class alternatives.

Planned Postponements (safety permitting)
PBA Class VI, Graduation  •  June 2021
EPBA, Class VII  • Summer/Fall 2021
SB101 Horticulture  •  December 2021
SB101 Field Crops  •  August 2021
Seed Production  February 2021
Seed Biology and Quality • June 2021

Upcoming SBC Courses

Hemp Breeding and Seed Production
A course developed by the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center
October 27-29, 2020 • 8 am - 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

Course will be ONLINE (held remotely) via Zoom conferencing platform

? Early-Bird discount extended until October 16?
Held online over three half days, Hemp Breeding and Seed Production is designed to enhance the knowledge of professionals working on hemp improvement and propagation. To learn more information about the course and how to register, please visit:

UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy Class VIII

UC Davis Plant Breeding AcademySM (PBA) is a professional certificate program offered since 2006 with classes in USA, Europe, Africa and Asia. To date, the program has trained more 388 breeders, 70% of which are from the private seed industry. Each class is six 1-week sessions over 2 years allowing participants to maintain their positions.
• Begins September 2021
• Now open for applications. Class size is limited—apply early! For more information, visit us on-line.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the initiation of PBA VIII has been delayed. We hope by Fall of 2021, it will be safe to travel and hold in-person trainings. 

SBC Spotlights

SBC releases 2019 Annual Report

In 2019, the SBC celebrated its 20th anniversary. Read about our festive celebration event last September as well as our numerous outreach, research and educational activities throughout 2019. It was a busy and productive year! Read Report (PDF)

Allen Van Deynze invited as plenary speaker: 2020 Oxford Nanopore London Calling

Along with Bernice Waweru (BecA/ILRI), SBC Director Allen Van Deynze was a plenary speaker at the 2020 Oxford Nanopore London Calling event, held June 18-19, 2020. Over 2500 people registered for this exciting event. Presentation Title: The African Orphan Crops Consortium, Alleviating Stunting due to Malnutrition One Crop at a Time. London Calling is a conference dedicated to scientific research using nanopore DNA/RNA sequencing. International speakers across three main tracks were hosted this year: Human and clinical research, microbiology, and plant genomics. London Calling Video

CPPSI launches new web site

We are pleased to announce that CPPSI launched a new and expanded website with a new address: The new website continues to offer direct access to Reference Materials (informative white papers on a given disease system, seeds of strain differentiating hosts and cultures of reference plant pathogen strains and races), CPPSI Services to order Reference Materials for you and access to the CPPSI director and working group members.  In addition, the new site presents an overview of CPPSI in a short video, shares what members of the CPPSI working group do, shows the status of new Reference Materials in development, provides updates on emerging diseases of concern to the vegetable seed industry and information on how to become a CPPSI member.

To learn more about CPPSI, including its sponsors, visit CPPSI online @

Seed Central

Seed Central is a public-private partnership. Its purpose is to energize the seed and ag-biotech industry cluster surrounding UC Davis and to contribute to the economic development in the region and beyond. Seed Central facilitates communication & research collaboration between the seed and ag-biotech industry and UC Davis in order to bring science to market faster.

In September, Seed Central hosted Seed Central Express, in its new on-line format, where Vonnie Estes from Produce Marketing Association moderated a panel on new breeding technologies for quality, nutrition, and indoor farming. She was joined by Emma January from Benson Hill, John Purcell from Unfold Bio, and Megan Thomas from Pairwise. The recording of this panel is available to Seed Central premium members on the website. Seed Central will continue to host Seed Central Express events, which are online gatherings and lectures, each second Thursday of the month throughout the academic year. To learn more about upcoming Seed Central Express events, please click here.

SBC in the Press

Kent Bradford interviewed about mysterious seeds sent in mail

Kent Bradford (SBC director emeritus) talks to a local news station about the mysterious seeds sent from China to Californians and others across the country, with a guest appearance by SBC researcher Pedro Bello! View video

SBC director Allen Van Deynze discusses the USDA's role in plant breeding and mentorship


Listen Here




Rale Gjuric, former SBC Education Director, discusses the many uses of Hemp and importance of professional training, with Marcel Bruins (European Seed)

Industrial hemp has many uses, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel. With the increased focus on breeding for industrial hemp and cannabis, European Seed spoke with Rale (Radiša) Gjuric, Director of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy, to get his take on the ins and outs of this new course and the risen interest in the crop. Read more
Source: European Seed


Jovan Djordjevic joins the SBC

The SBC is excited to welcome Dr. Jovan Djordjevic to our team as SBC’s education director! Jovan has spent over 20 years with Monsanto, and Bayer/BASF, where he most recently led Cucurbits breeding and research teams as well as developed crop strategies as BASF’s Global R&D Team Lead. An accomplished and experienced plant breeder, he brings a broad-based expertise in plant breeding research and development, including the application of new technologies in breeding, building innovation culture & teams, linking business and complex R&D activities, and building organizational strategies centered around customers and consumers. Jovan is passionate about plant breeding contributing to world food production, in particular those that involve fewer detrimental environmental impacts. His "Impossible is not an option” life philosophy along with his professional experience, expertise and passion will make him a fantastic addition to our team and we look forward to his skilled leadership and contributions to the SBC.

For more information about the SBC, visit us online at

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