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

March eNews

Happy Spring from the Seed Biotechnology Center

The Seed Biotechnology Center would like to recognize two extraordinary women. We want to thank them for all of their efforts when we have been in Africa and in Thailand. They have handled logistics, venues, and supported our students, instructors and the rest of the team in the US. Our students would not be as excited about our programs without these two. Thank you Imelda and Pepzy!

Imelda K. Ingumba
Imelda K. Ingumba
Administrative Assistant in Capacity Development Unit at the World Agroforestry Centre
African Plant Breeding Academy Team Member

Thichamporn Eaidkong
Thichamporn Eaidkong
Pepzy, as known to the SBC
Seed Business 101 and Limagrain Plant Breeding Academy Team Member



Significant progress has been made for programs and tours for both the National Association of Plant Breeders and the International Society for Seed Science conferences held in August and September 2017 respectively (see below for more details).

Dr. Robert Dirks joins the UC Davis PBA team
Dr. Robert Dirks joins the UC Davis PBA team
Dr. Dirks will be an instructor with the upcoming EPBA Class V. He recently retired from his position of Research Manager with Rijk Zwaan and will focus on service to the plant breeding industry. Read more


Craig Newman becomes a Seed Business 101 instructors
Craig Newman becomes a Seed Business 101 instructors
Craig is the former President & CEO of AgReliant Genetics, the third largest corn seed company in the U.S. Prior to being named CEO in 2012, Craig served as the company’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing since its inception in 2000. 

The SBC welcomes Rob and Craig to our team of instructors.

Class III of the African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA) is selected

We are thrilled to report that we have seated 35 African scientists in Class III of the AfPBA. 

These 35 were selected from 340 applicants.  Collectively, they represent:

  • 19 countries (including 6 not previously covered by Classes I and II)
  • 18 women; 17 men
  • 34 PhDs; 1 MS

Class III begins in May at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Kenya, Nairobi under the direction of Dr. Rita Mumm. Lead instructors include, Dr. Iago Hale, Dr. Bruce Walsh, Dr. Todd Wehner, Dr. Kent Bradford, Dr. Allen Van Deynze and Dr. Rale Gjuric. For more information, visit AfPBA.      

Seed Central/Food Central
Seed Central/Food Central (SC) starts off 2017 with successful special events

Seed Central Brainstorming Session: Special NETWORKING EVENT and TECH SHOWCASE
January, 2017

The talent pipeline in the seed and agbiotech industry
The various branches of the industry presented their QUALITATIVE medium and long-term human resources needs: categories and types of jobs that will need to be filled in the next 5-10 years, majors and major combinations that will be most in demand, and skills that will be expected (incl. the important soft skills). Industry engaged in discussion and brainstorming with educators and students.

Seed Central Brainstorming Session: Special NETWORKING EVENT and TECH SHOWCASE

For Participants and more information, visit Seed Central.   

Seed Central WOMEN in BIOTECH, a Panel Presentation
WOMEN in BIOTECH, a Panel Presentation
March, 2017

An Inspirational Roundtable ­— Launching Early Professional Women into the Biotech Industry

WOMEN in BIOTECH, a Panel Presentation

View panel biographies and industry testimonials

For Participants and more information, visit Panel 

Upcoming Seed Central Events: 
April 13, 2017: UC Davis
April 27, 2017: Salinas
See for a complete list of Seed Central events and programs.

Update: Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI)

The continued support of the founding CPPSI member seed companies is greatly appreciated by the CPPSI Working Group: Bayer, Enza Zaden, HM.Clause, Monsanto, Rijk Zwaan, Sakata and Syngenta.  Launch of the second round of disease systems is anticipated for September 2017: Lettuce Downy mildew, Watermelon Fusarium wilt, Tomato TSWV and Pepper TSWV. CPPSI is participating in ‘Harmores 3’, an EU initiative to standardize resistance testing and the naming of pathogen strains. The four targeted disease systems are tomato Root know nematode and Fusarium wilt; melon Powdery mildew and Fusarium wilt.  Developed reference materials will address the responses of both US and EU pathogen strains in these disease systems. 
Visit CPPSI online at


UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy starts its fifth European class in October of 2017

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 more than 230 breeders, 80% of which are from the private seed industry. Class V of the European PBA will start in October 2017 and it is now open for registration.

The 2017 class core curriculum will maintain the upgrades from the previous classes and add modules to address the most recent development in plant breeding theory and practice.

UC Davis PBA has established a list of core instructors that includes internationally recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology.  The instructor list will change for specific session in accordance with the participants’ needs. The core instructors are supported by a number of guest lecturers from the private industry and academia. Employers appreciate the opportunity to provide their valued employees advanced training without disrupting their full-time employment. Participants attend six 6-day sessions over approximately two years.

Dates and locations:

  • Oct 2-7, 2017, Enkhuizen, Netherlands
  • Mar 5-10, 2018, Angers, France
  • June 25-30, 2018, Gatersleben, Germany
  • Oct 1-6, 2018, Gent, Belgium
  • Mar 4-9, 2019, Almeria, Spain
  • June 24-29, 2019, Davis, CA, USA        

For more information on the UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy contact Joy Patterson or visit 

Seed Business 101 – Field Crops, August 28 - September 1, 2017, St. Charles, IL
Seed Business 101 – Horticulture, December 4-8, 2017, Davis, CA
For more information, contact Rebeca Madrigal

UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy ADVANCED MODULE – November 7-9, 2017, Davis, CA
For more information, contact Joy Patterson 

Seed Biology & Quality – Early 2018, Davis, CA
For more information, contact Sally Mohr

Breeding with Genomics – Early 2018, Davis, CA
For more information, contact Rebeca Madrigal

Program Management for Plant Breeders, September 2018 in Davis, California 
For more information, contact Sally Mohr



Seed Production course participants, Feb. 2017
The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center completed another successful session of the Seed Production course on February 14-16, 2017, in Davis, CA.

The fifty-nine (59) participants represented twelve (12) countries and forty-one (41) companies with regional, national and international reach.  

The team of core instructors included Kent Bradford, Rale Gjuric (UC Davis), Greg Velbaum (Virginia Tech) and Mike Pereira (Granum Services).  A wide range of crops and technologies were covered using the support of guest lecturers that included well-respected industry experts, such as: Ron Amarel (Incotec), Jim Schweigert (GroAlliance), John Palmer (California Crop Improvement Association), Jeffrey Verpaalen (Seed Processing Holland), Peter Marks (AgInnovation), Patty Buskirk (Terra Organics), Geoff Rudesill (Westrup), Elina Niño, Neal Williams, Pedro Bello (UC Davis).

UC Davis Seed Production is a 3-day course designed to expose participants to the underlying biology of seed production, the key role of insect pollinators, how seed crops are successfully managed from an agronomic, quality control, and genetic integrity standpoint, and how to meet new challenges through seed production research.  

Congratulations on the completion of the course to all of the speakers and participants for making this course so well-received.

The next course is being planned for spring 2019. If you are interested in this course and would like to learn more, please click here.

UC Davis PBA and LG Academy deliver a customized course
UC Davis PBA and LG Academy deliver a customized course

Continuing to fill the needs for training of plant breeders, the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy organized and delivered the second session of customized training course as a collaborative effort with Limagrain Academy. Thirty-one Limagrain breeders representing business units from China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam attended the one week course in Bangkok, Thailand, February 20-24, 2017. 

The core UC Davis PBA lecturers, Rale Gjuric and Allen Van Deynze, were supported by senior plant breeders from Limagrain; Narin Singh and Jean-Bruno Beaufume, in delivering the course. The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a premium professional certificate program offered USA, Europe, Asia and Africa. To date, more than two hundred private industry breeders have attended the UC Davis PBA certificate program, making it the most significant program of its kind. In addition to PBA, UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center offers a variety of short courses on technical and management topics related to plant breeding. 

PBA European class participants
European PBA wraps up a successful session in Almeria, Spain

UC Davis European Plant Breeding  Academy (EPBA) has completed a successful session last week in Almeria, Spain. The students and instructors enjoyed the hospitality of the University of Almeria (UAL) and seed companies in the area, including Monsanto Vegetable Seeds and Rijk Zwaan Ibérica. This was the third session in Almeria, a beautiful coastal city in Southern Spain (population of about 200,000). Almeria is at the center of one of the most important regions for protected production of vegetables and fruits; and center of excellence in plant breeding of vegetable crops.

Applications are now being accepted for European Plant Breeding Academy Class V beginning in October 2017. 


International Society for Seed Science Conference, 2017
International Society for Seed Science Conference
International Society for Seed Science Conference, 2017
September 10-14, 2017
Monterey, California USA

Registration and Abstract Submission now open! 

This meeting is being held in the U.S. for the first time since 1989 and will bring the top international seed scientists to interact with the U.S. and Californian seed industry.

  • Three full days of oral presentations, themed sessions of invited talks by domestic and international professionals from the public sector and industry to discuss the latest developments in seed scienceInvited speakers and contributed oral and poster sessions
  • Evening Opening Reception
  • Evening Gala Banquet
  • Arranged tours and visits to sites of interest in the Salinas Valley region followed by a catered lunch and trade show/career fair.
  • ISSS 2017 is being held at the iconic Monterey Plaza Hotel, centrally located on beachfront property along Monterey Bay’s historic and vibrant Cannery Row

National Association of Plant Breeders Conference
National Association of Plant Breeders Conference
August 7 - 10, 2017, UC Davis, California
Registration now open!

Cucurbitaceae Conference

Cucurbitaceae Conference

November 11 -16, 2018
UC Davis, California


  • How do you develop crops that will thrive under certain conditions when you can no longer predict what those conditions will be? SBC Director of Research Allen Van Deynze and Professor and UCD Plant Breeding Center Director Charlie Brummer weigh in: UC Davis News online article "Breeding Crops Today for an Uncertain Tomorrow". Read more
  • Along with Drs. Raj Patel and Thomas Tomich, SBC Director Kent Bradford served as a panel member at the Campus Community Book Project forum, held in March at the UCD Mondavi Center. The 2016-17 book project addresses food and security, hunger and poverty, featuring Dr. Raj Patel and his book Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food SystemView video
  • SBC partner the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC)'s large-scale sequencing of African orphan crops is highlighted in genomics article "Sequencing all life captivates biologists", published in Science. See full article
  • "Absorbent Beads Could Save Energy—and Lives" in MIT Technology Review: SBC Director Kent Bradford believes a simple ceramic bead that sucks moisture out of the air can make agriculture far more energy efficient and much less expensive. The beads were developed by Rhino Research in Thailand. Read more
  • SBC Director Kent Bradford speaks to the safety of the world’s first GMO apple, which is hitting the U.S. market next month. But, it’s not a Washington apple. The Arctic Apple is produced by Canada’s Okanagan Specialty Fruits. Read more
  • The first public genome sequence for Coffea arabica has been released through a collaboration between SBC Director of Research Allen Van Deynze and UCD researchers Dario Cantu, Juan Medrano, and Amanda Hulse-Kemp. Read more
  • SBC Director, Dr. Kent Bradford, speaks about improving yields and embracing technology in Takepart news story, How Do We Feed a Growing World?
  • The SBC Plant Breeding Academy is among the programs highlighted in continuing education by Seed World. Read more
  • The National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders recognized SBC Director of Research, Allen Van Deynze, with the Public Plant Breeding AwardRead more
  • Dr. Kent Bradford, SBC Director, is in Food Dive feature story, What do GMO-free zones mean for farmers and food?
  • SBC Director of Research, Allen Van Deynze, talks about New Breeding Tools, New Opportunities in the latest Germination Update.
  • Seed Central Highlighted: The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities designated UCD as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity university, noting UCD's economic impact through key initiatives such as support of SBC partner program Seed Central. Read more
  • Dr. Kent Bradford, SBC Director, discusses impact of GMO labeling laws on food industry in Seed World's news story, What's Next for Biotech?
  • Dr. Irwin Donis-Gonzalez and his lab in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering won the World Food Day Video Challenge sponsored by the UC Davis World Food Center. Watch video here.

Have you seen our Facebook? Please drop by and Like our page to see our periodic posts here.

For more information about the SBC, please contact


Webmaster Email: