SBC Team

Director, Allen E. Van Deynze, Ph.D.

Van Deynze

Plant Reproductive Biology, Room 1103
-6444 Office phone
530-752-2278 Fax


Allen has a Ph.D. in plant breeding from University of Guelph, Canada. As part of the SBC’s mission to serve as a liaison between public institutions and seed industry, Allen is responsible for developing, coordinating and conducting research and generating and disseminating scientific and informational content for the Seed Biotechnology Center’s and Plant Breeding Center’s educational and outreach programs. His research focuses on developing and integrating genomics into plant breeding of California crops. He has programs on breeding for disease resistance and quality in pepper and spinach, and development and application of genomics in crops. With Dr. Kent Bradford he co-developed and is organizer for the Plant Breeding Academysmand past chair of the US Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee. He has been involved in International and National policy including US Regulations for Biotechnology. He is an instructor for the African Plant Breeding Academy andscientific co-leader for the African Orphan Crops Consortium.

Director of Education, Jovan Djordjevic, Ph.D.


Plant Reproductive Biology, Room 1101
530-754-7333 Office phone

530-752-2278 Fax

Jovan is a plant breeder & seed executive with over 25 years experience in the field crops and vegetable seed industries. His career began in France in 1996, as a corn breeder for Cargill Seeds (later Monsanto). Jovan continued in Canada as the Canola Breeding Lead for Monsanto, then in California as the R&D Team lead for Bayer/BASF. Throughout his prolific career, he has been a part of over 200 releases of hybrid varieties of corn, canola, tomato, pepper, sweet corn, watermelon, melon, cucumber, onions, carrots and leek. He is looking forward, together with the SBC team of instructors, to impart his experiences to future generations of plant breeders and other seed industry professionals.

Director, CPPSI, Phyllis Himmel


Plant Reproductive Biology, Room 1112
530-752-5874 Office phone
530-752-2278 Fax


Dr. Himmel joined the UCD Seed Biotechnology Center in July 2015 to lead the seed industry funded Collaboration for the Identification of Plant Pathogen Strains (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.

Program Manager, Whitney Lowe


Plant Reproductive Biology
530-752-5775 Office phone
530-752-2278 Fax

Whitney joined the Seed Biotechnology Center in 2021 and coordinates the Plant Breeding Academies as well as other SBC courses. She received her B.S. degree from San Diego State University and has a background in program management, hospitality and directing large-scale events. Whitney brings a new perspective to the SBC, and she is excited to be part of the SBC team and work with instructors and students from around the world.

Director Emeritus, Kent J. Bradford (Retired)


Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Plant Reproductive Biology, Room 1107
530-752-6087 Office phone
530-752-2278 Fax 

Faculty web page

Kent J. Bradford is the former Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA. His research focused on the development, maintenance, and expression of seed quality; plant water relations; developmental and growth regulation. He taught university and extension courses on plant physiology, seed biology, biotechnology, ethics and philosophy of science. 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. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1982 and retired as Distinguished Professor in 2019.

Also Acknowledging:

Former Associate Director, Susan C. (Webster) DiTomaso (Retired)

Former Education Director, Rale Gjuric (Retired)