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

21 New Plant Breeders complete the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy

June 11, 2010

Davis, California. Helping to fill a critical need for additional plant breeders, the University of California, Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) is graduating its second class of students today. This class is composed of an international group of working professionals from 10 countries who have spent more than 300 hours in classes, workshops and the field, training to become professional plant breeders. Dr.  Howard Shapiro, Director of Plant Sciences for Mars Corporation, is the keynote speaker at the graduation. Dr Shapiro is a long-time supporter of sustainable agriculture and plant breeding.

Congratulations to the following PBA Class II graduates:

  • Dustin Batt, Crookham Company, USA
  • Bob Brunic, MillerCoors, USA
  • Damien Courtier, HSR Seeds Pty Ltd, Australia
  • Bruno Efombagn, Institute for Agricultural Research, Cameroon
  • Cody Fasbinder, Syngenta Seeds Inc., USA
  • Anthony Gorin, Technisem, France
  • Donny Gray, WestBred LLC, USA
  • Randy Kallen, Pioneer Hi-Bred, USA
  • Marty Madesko, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA
  • Andrea Maraldi, Maraldi Sementi, Italy
  • Arnon Osri, A.B. Seeds, Israel
  • Andrea Pabon, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA
  • Lisa Polewczak, Syngenta Seeds, Inc. , USA
  • Esther Pullen, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA
  • Paul Readly, American Takii, Inc., USA
  • Aneta Strachota-Jacobs, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, USA
  • Marcel Sturre, University of Gröningen, The Netherlands
  • Carolina Uquillas-Herrera, Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA-La Platina), Chile
  • Andre vant Slot, De Ruiter Seeds, Spain
  • Richard Volz, HortResearch, New Zealand
  • Adam Young, Syngenta Seeds, Inc., USA

The PBA includes six week-long sessions at UC Davis and provides each student integrated post-graduate training to prepare them to advance their careers as plant breeders. Each qualifying graduate receives a UC Davis certificate and 19 units of academic credit.

“UC Davis is committed to training plant breeders. We are very proud to have 36 participants complete the Plant Breeding Academy programs over the last 4 years, 15 in Class I and now 21 in Class II” said Allen Van Deynze, co-founder of the PBA.

The PBA was developed by the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center in direct response to industry concerns over the reduced number of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. The two-year course provides an opportunity for companies to invest in dedicated personnel who are currently involved in breeding programs, but would like further formal instruction in genetics, statistics and plant breeding theory. In addition to coursework, each student designs a breeding program as a final project for the academy. The course schedule allows students to maintain their working positions while enrolled.

Academy courses are taught by internationally recognized plant breeders Doug Shaw and Larry Teuber, both of UC Davis, and Todd Wehner from North Carolina State University, with guest lecturers speaking on their specific areas of expertise.

Class III of the PBA will begin in September and is nearly filled. Applications and further information can be obtained at or by contacting Joy Patterson at or (530) 752-4414.

PBA Class II graduation week

The Plant Breeding Academy was developed by the Seed Biotechnology Center in direct response to industry concerns over the reduced number of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. To- date, 36 plant breeders have completed the PBA and 14 additional students are participating in the European Plant Breeding Academy. The director of the Plant Breeding Academy is Dr. Rale Gjuric.  More information on the Plant Breeding Academy can be obtained at

Media contact(s):
Allen Van Deynze, Seed Biotechnology Center, (530) 754-6444,


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