Faculty and Staff
Dr. Rale Gjuric is Director of Education at the Seed Biotechnology Center. He is the founder and president of HAPLOTECH Inc., a company specialized in technical services and consulting in plant breeding. Dr. Gjuric received his Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, Canada; his M.Sc. from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia; and his B.Sc. from the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Macedonia. Previously, he held the positions of Breeding Manager of DL Seeds; Research and Managing Director of DSV Canada; all in Winnipeg Canada. Dr. Gjuric is an accomplished plant breeder with numerous canola varieties and hybrids released in his 15 years in the private sector. His current focus is in service to the plant breeding industry with special interest in organization and optimization of plant breeding programs.
Dr. Rita Mumm brings over 18 years experience in the plant breeding industry. Dr, Mumm was a pioneer in developing and releasing some of the first transgenic traits in crops with DekalbGenetics Corp. Her current research focuses on maize quantitative genetics, applications of genomic information to the development of improved hybrids, and deployment of traits created through genetic engineering, including efficient breeding strategies, and stewardship of governmentally regulated materials. Dr. Mumm was the founding director of the Illinois Plant Breeding Center at the University of Illinois, now one of the most prominent educational centers for crop genetic improvement in the USA. In addition to faculty at the University of Illinois, Dr. Mumm is principal at GeneMax Services, a consulting firm to the seed industry. She is past president of the National Association of Plant Breeders.
Dr. Todd Wehner has been working on plant breeding at North Carolina State University since 1979. He attended the University of California-Berkeley, receiving his A.B. in botany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a M.S. in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics. Dr. Wehner took over the cucumber breeding and genetics project at North Carolina State University-Raleigh in 1979, and in 1993 he added breeding and genetic research on watermelon and luffa sponge gourd. His research has emphasized improved selection methods; recurrent selection for fruit yield, earliness and quality; resistance to chilling, nematodes, anthracnose, belly rot, gummy stem blight and downy mildew; and germplasm evaluation to provide industry with new traits for the development of improved cultivars. He was an advisor for production of pickling cucumber in Sri Lanka in 1993, watermelon in China in 1999, and cucurbit seed collection in Zimbabwe in 2001, and has led several expeditions to collect gernplasm throughout the world.
Idy van Leeuwen is the director of her company Breedwise BV, a professional training company for plant breeding in The Netherlands. In 1980 she obtained a Master of Science degree in Plant Breeding from Wageningen Agricultural University. She has extensive experience in organizing and teaching in courses and training in the seed sector in the Netherlands. Training is organized in the field of plant breeding, variety testing, statistics, seed quality, seed certification, biotechnology, pathology and legislation in the seed sector. Courses are organized in close cooperation with Naktuinbouw (Inspection Service), Wageningen University & Research Centre, and now the University of California at Davis. Idy also consults with government, breeding and research institutions in the fields of plant breeding methods, seed inspection, marketing, legislation and institutional development in Eastern Europe.
Dr. Allen Van Deynze is a professional researcher at the Seed Biotechnology Center at University of California, Davis. Dr. Van Deynze received a BSc. and MSc. degree in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba, Canada and a Ph.D. in plant molecular breeding from the University of Guelph, Canada. He did a postdoctorate in molecular genetics at Cornell University in the Department of Plant Breeding and Biometry. He worked as a plant breeder for Calgene/Monsanto and as a senior scientist for Celera AgGen and Paradigm Genetics where he developed and implemented strategies to incorporate biotechnology into breeding programs. As part of the SBC's mission to serve as a liaison between public institutions and the seed industry, he develops, coordinates and conducts research on the application of biotechnologies to seed crops. His interests include identification of molecular markers to help incorporate traits into new varieties, development of new phenotypes
Dr. Kent J. Bradford is a Professor of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Dr. Bradford received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Horticulture from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from UC Davis. He has been on the faculty at UC Davis since 1982, serving as Chair of the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1993 to 1998 and as Director of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center since 1999. He teaches University and Extension courses on seed production and quality and received a Fulbright Scholar award in 1999 to teach in Argentina. He was awarded the career Seed Science Award from the Crop Science Society of America in 2002 and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003. Dr. Bradford’s research interests are in identifying the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating seed germination, in applying mathematical models to describe seed germination and dormancy behavior, and in applying methods to enhance seed quality and longevity.
Ms. Patterson is the coordinator of the Plant Breeding Academy. She joined the Seed Biotechnology Center team in 2009 coming from the UC Davis Med Center where she was a resident coordinator for the otolaryngology department. She considers her students, as she did her medical residents, to be members of her extended family. With her background in agriculture, the Master Gardener program, and event planning, Joy brings a unique perspective to the PBA program.