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

April 2019 eNews

SBC new logo

 eNews April 2019

The mission of the Seed Biotechnology Center (SBC) is to mobilize the research, educational and outreach resources of UC Davis in partnership with the seed and biotechnology industries to facilitate discovery and commercialization of new seed technologies for agricultural and consumer benefit. The SBC also offers customized courses and programs. To date, over 7,000 participants have benefited from the SBC's educational and academic programs. 

SBC Spotlights


APBA launching poster

African Plant Breeders Association

The alumni of the UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy) have successfully created the African Plant Breeders Association comprised of members across the continent. The African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) will be launched this year. 

The UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy has been organized by the Seed Biotechnology Center since 2013 to present.

In remembrance of Dr. Kodjo Glato

The tragedy of the Ethiopian Airlines crash claimed the life of the UC Davis African Plant Breeding alumna, Dr. Kodjo Glato of the University of Lomé in Togo. His research included root crops and banana. Dr. Glato was a dear colleague and a talented, dedicated plant breeder in his prime. He will be terribly missed by all.

Dr Kodjo Glato

New sign

SBC launches new course in Hemp Breeding and

Seed Production

This is a two-day course designed to enhance the knowledge of professionals working on hemp improvement and propagation. The course covers hemp seed production topics such as flowering, pollination, seed development, harvesting and certification. Course dates: October 29-30, 2019. Learn more.


Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI)

In collaboration with IBEB and the Richard Michelmore lab, CPPSI has posted the lettuce Downy mildew reference materials for race identification on We anticipate the release of reference materials for tomato and pepper TSWV and the tomato Mi and Fusarium wilt disease system later this year.  We continue to collaborate with our European partners (ISF, ESA, Plantum, GEVES-MATREF) in the development of reference materials and the release of new and revised tables of differentiating hosts posted on the ISF website, These tables are included in sets of CPPSI reference materials already posted and under development.  Uniformity in published reference materials (differential sets, pathogen strain codes, disease testing protocols and interpretation of disease rating scales) are critical to the consistent identification of plant pathogen strains for reliable claims of disease resistance and diagnostics. Members of CPPSI, ISF and GEVES - MATREF submitted an abstract for a poster to be presented during the August 2019 APS meetings on ‘ISF guidelines on the nomination of novel plant pest races’. I am an invited speaker on the value of CPPSI Reference Materials as a diagnostic tool during the April 2019 National Plant Diagnostics Network annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The CPPSI working group continues to meet monthly to discuss progress of reference materials in development and disease systems in consideration for development. CPPSI began our second year of funding awarded by CDFA and is grateful for the continued support by our seven founding seed companies: BASF, Bayer, Enza Zaden, HM.Clause, Rijk Zwaan, Sakata and Syngenta. To learn more about CPPSI and its sponsors, visit CPPSI online at

Seed Central
Seed Central

Seed Central is a public-private partnership. Its purpose is to energize the seed and agbiotech 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 agbiotech industry and UC Davis in order to bring science to market faster.

In January, Seed Central hosted a Networking Tech Showcase for seed, ag, and food companies: startups, early stage and beyond. The showcase was the most successful to date with 40 companies in attendance. To learn more about the tech showcase partners and speakers, please click here. For past Seed Central events and speakers, click here.

Upcoming Seed Central events:

· May 9, 2019 | Networking 4:30-6:00 pm with startup entrepreneur, Gurkern Sufi, Co-Founder and CEO, Ravata Solutions. Featured speakers 6:00-7:00 pm: Dr. Roger Thilmony and Dr. James Thomson, USDA-ARS-CIG. Topic: The GAANTRY gene stacking technology.

· September 12, 2019 | Special Event celebrating 20th Anniversary of Seed Biotechnology Center. Networking 4:30 - 6:00 pm with startup entrepreneur Alex Schultink, Founder & CEO Fortiphyte. Featured speaker 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Dr. Kent Bradford, UC Davis. Topic: The Past Is Prologue.

· October 10, 2019 | Seed Central Brainstorming Session with the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department. This is a half-day event. Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 pm. Brainstorming session: 1:30 - 4:00 pm. Networking: 4:30 - 6:00 pm. Featured speaker 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Dr. Mark Stowers Senior Vice-President, Operations and Products, Inari. Topic: The competitive landscape of seed & agbiotech clusters.

To register and calendar of events, click here.

Upcoming Events

Breeding Crops for Enhanced Food Safety

This workshop will take place June 4-6, 2019 at UC Davis. Abstract submission deadline is April 15th. Attendees will collaborate to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in this emerging field of breeding for food safety. Sessions will cover themes such as regulatory, industry, and extension perspectives on crop safety; genetic diversity in human pathogen-plant interactions; programs currently breeding for crop safety; and opportunities for breeding strategies for food safety. Breakout sessions will culminate in a whitepaper to guide future research and funding. For questions regarding the program, contact Dr. Maeli Melotto at Click here to register or submit an abstract.

Upcoming SBC Courses

Seed Business 101, Field Crops
August 19 - 23, 2019, St. Charles, IL USA
Course Info

Seed Business 101, Horticulture
December 9 - 13, 2019, Davis, CA USA
Course Info

Hemp Breeding and Seed Production
October 29-30, 2019, Davis, CA USA
Course info

UC Davis Plant Breeding AcademySM in Europe
The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) is a professional certificate program offered since 2006 with classes in USA, Europe, Africa and Asia. To date, the program has trained nearly 300 breeders, 80% of which are from the private seed industry. Class VI of the European PBA will start in October 2019. Participants attend six 6-day sessions over approximately two years. Applications now being accepted. Early application discount is available until March 31, 2019. Information and application available online. Click here.

Seed Production
February 10-13, 2020, Davis, CA USA
Course info

Recent Courses

Seed Production photo 2019

UC Davis Seed Production Course completes another successful session

The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center congratulates participants of the Seed Production course, February 11-14, 2017, in Davis, CA. The sixty-one (61) participants represented fourteen (14) countries and over forty (40) companies with regional, national and international reach.

The next session of Seed Production will be February 10-13, 2020.  More info.

SBC in the Press

PBA addresses Global Food Needs

Plant Breeding Academy Addresses Global Food Needs

UC Davis' Department of Plant Sciences shares how PBA is changing the global food supply one scientist at a time. Read article.


UC Davis Horticulture Innovation Lab’s DryCard tests the dryness of grains, seeds


A DryCard is the latest technology to improve the shelf-life of seeds. Dr. Kent Bradford, SBC Director, describes how the amazing DryCard works. Read more.

Dry Card
spicy tomato

Scientists could engineer a spicy tomato. Is it worth it?

Scientists are working on growing a spicy tomato. Dr. Allen Van Deyneze, SBC Director of Research shares his insight on the research. Read article.

Benson Hill Teams Up with The African Orphan Crops Consortium to Combat Malnutrition Through Underutilized Crops

Allen Van Deynze, Director of Research, Seed Biotechnology Center and the Scientific Director of the African Orphan Crops Consortium highlights effort to accelerate the ability of African scientists to develop better seeds and improve the diets of Africa’s children. Learn more.  




SBC Newest Team Member

SBC is delighted to announce our newest addition to our team. Meet Kelsey Maher! Kelsey is a Program Manager for the Seed Biotechnology Center. She received her B.A.'s in European Studies and Russian Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After living in Central Asia and the Caucasus she returned to the U.S. to obtain her M.A. in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. With a background in managing professional diplomacy programs and overseeing agricultural associations, Kelsey brings a wealth of experiences and knowledge to the team. Currently, Kelsey also serves on the Slow Food California Board.

Professor Todd Wehner joins the team of instructors

Dr. Todd Wehner, an outstanding scientist, plant breeder and educator, was added to the team of instructors for the upcoming class of the UC Davis European Plant Breeding AcademySM (PBA).  Dr. Wehner has been with UC Davis PBA since its inception in 2006 and lectured in U.S., Africa and Asia.  The addition of a very experienced vegetable breeder further strengthens the UC Davis European PBA program.

Dr. Todd Wehner joined North Carolina State University in 1979 when he took over the cucumber breeding and genetics project.  In 1993, he took on the additional responsibility for breeding and genetics research on watermelon and specialty melon.  Dr. Wehner has released 63 cultivars and breeding lines, and published 188 journal articles and 23 book chapters. He has trained 38 graduate students, 110 undergraduate interns, and 32 visiting scientists.  He is a recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching.  Many of his former students are recognised plant breeders working in both the private and public sector.


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