Seed Biology, Quality & Pathology


Delivering improved varieties and crop protection through high-quality seeds is a vital component of modern agricultural production systems. It is critical that seed producers and marketers have an understanding of the biological factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of seed health, vigor, and viability, and how those qualities are measured. This course presents the scientific background and technical protocols for assessing, enhancing, and maintaining high seed quality and updates participants on new information on these topics, including seed pathology and enhancement. The course targets quality assurance professionals in the seed industry, new employees, consultants, breeders, and seed producers to extend and update their knowledge. 

June 28-30, 2022 in Davis, California [in-person]

Early Registration: $1,150.00 (Before June 1st, 2022)

Regular Registration: $1,350.00

Available Discounts:
25% off - Faculty (from Regular Registration)
50% off - Grad students/post docs (from Regular Registration)
Contact us for more information about your discount.



Bowley Plant Science Teaching Facility
Loation can be found here

Hotel accomodation recommendations:
(be sure to click the links below as the discount has been built into the URL)
Hyatt Place 
Aggie Inn

Campus Parking Information


Course Curriculum:

  • Seed development and maturation
  • Seed vigor and viability
  • Seed health and phytosanitation 
  • Seed germination testing
  • Seed pathology testing

Preliminary Lab topic areas:

  • Standardized seed germination, vigor, and viability testing methods
  • Seed purity testing methods
  • Demonstration of new methods for seed quality and purity testing
  • Standardized seed health testing methods
  • Certification of labs for seed health testing
  • Testing treated vs. non-treated seed (fungicide, bactericide, biological, organic & disinfectant treatments)
  • Molecular vs. ‘biological’ seed health assays (indirect vs. direct assays)
  • Location of infection of seeds by plant pathogens
  • The sample size for seed health testing, seed sampling protocols


Kent J. Bradford, Professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Director, Seed Biotechnology Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA. 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. Kent is the founding Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, interim Director of the World Food Center, and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Dr. Bradford, as Academic Director of the SBC, oversees, promotes, and conducts the outreach, education, and research activities of the Center. His research is focused on the development, maintenance, and expression of seed quality; plant water relations; developmental and growth regulation.

Samantha Thomas has earned an MS and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University. She has been with Monsanto for 11 years and currently, she is the Stewardship and Industry Affairs lead within Quality. She works across the seed industry and regulatory partners to develop and use quality tools to address the phytosanitary risk of seed movement. Her areas of expertise include seed pathology and seed health testing, seed movement, best management practices for vegetable seed production.


Phyllis Himmel, Director, Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI). Phyllis joined the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center in July 2015 to lead the seed industry-funded Collaboration for the Identification of Plant-Pathogen Strains (CPPSI). She received her MS and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Arizona. After a USDA/ARS Post Doc at the University of Illinois, she joined the Asgrow (later Seminis, then Monsanto) Vegetable Seed Company as a research plant pathologist. While at Marrone Bio Innovations, she held personnel and product management roles in the discovery and development of plant and microbe-based biopesticides.

Pedro Bello has a B.S. degree in Systems Analysis and a graduate degree in Strategic Management of Information Technologies from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas in Brazil. At UC Davis, Pedro gathered vast experience in seed research working with professor Dr. Kent Bradford for over 7 years. He is specialized in the assessment of seed quality, vigor, and storage life. He has been developing efficient tools and mathematical models for new seed technologies. His innovations in the analytical equipment for single-seed respiration measurements (Q2 Scanner) made the information from the instrument useful and more accessible to users around the world.

Riad Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, CA, USA. Areas of specialization include seed viability and vigor determinations, as well as laboratory methods development for routine seed quality testing. His current research focuses on exploring the use of automated monitoring and data collection systems for identifying universal indicators of seed vigor, with emphasis on radicle growth measurements.”


Albre Brown, Associate Plant Pathologist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, CA, USA. Areas of specialization include disease diagnostics, general plant pathology, integrated pest management, extension services, mycology, molecular biology, plant disease epidemiology, and phylogenetics. Current research focuses on identifying and characterizing ubiquitous plant pathogenic fungi limiting seedling germination and lifespan.


Mike O’Leary is a postdoctoral researcher working under the direction of Professor Robert L. Gilbertson at the University of California, Davis. He received his B.S. in Botany from UC Riverside in 2009, and his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from UC Davis in 2018. His research focuses on bacterial blight diseases of common bean, with an emphasis on utilizing molecular and genomic approaches to improve diagnostic techniques and investigate mechanisms of pathogenesis.


Matt May is a seed pathologist at Monsanto Vegetable Seeds in Woodland, CA. He has 35 years of experience in developing and conducting seed tests to detect fungal and bacterial seed transmitted and seed-borne plant pathogens.


Robert Gilbertson

Chet Kurowsky