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Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified
Agricultural Products (BIGMAP)

Steven Leath GFSC Symposium


Speaker Presentations Now Available at:

More than 180 individuals attended the Global Food Security Consortium and the Leroy & Barbara Everson Seed & Biosafety Symposium held April 29-30, 2014, at the Gateway Hotel in Ames.

The sympoisum focused on innovation in science for global security. It consisted of three sessions examining seeds and crops, animals, and sustainable intensification.

Speakers included:

-Catherine Woteki, United States Department of Agriculture

-Steven Leath, Iowa State University

-Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State University

-Donald Nkrumah, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

-Kenneth Cassman, University of Nebraska

-John MacRobert, Centre for Development Innovation

-Harish Reddy, National Seed Association of India

-Marja Thijssen, Wageningen UR Centre for Development

-Saharah Moon Chapotin, US Agency for International Development

-Henning Steinfeld, FAO

-Jimmy Smith, International Livestock Research Institute

-Mike Brown, Elan Co Animal Health

-Jerry Glover, US Agency for International Development

-Jon Brause, World Food Programme, and

-Caspar Ammann, NCAR


2014 ISA Scholars

Eight ISU Scholars Honored at 2014 Iowa Seed Association Agribusiness Showcase & Conference

Eight Iowa State students were awarded scholarships at the Iowa Seed Association Scholarship Recognition Luncheon held during the Agribusiness Showcase and Conference in Des Moines on February 12, 2014.

Pictured (front row from left) are: Dakota Lueken; Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds; Morgan Shrader; Raymond Ng; Professor of Horticulture Rajeev Arora; and Endowed Dean of the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dr. Wendy Wintersteen.

Back: Thomas Sobota; Jay Petersen; Jon Olsen; Elliot Reicks; and Jeffrey Barnes.

Petersen was named the Manjit K. Misra Outstanding Senior Seed Scholar, and Ng earned the American Seed Trade Association Scholarship at the event.


Chinese scientists

Center Facilitates 12-Week Training Program for Chinese Maize Breeders

Seed Science Center Scientist and Senior Engineer Dr. Yuh-Yuan Shyy recently hosted 24 Chinese maize breeders in one of the most extensive outreach programs ever facilitated by the center.

“It all happened very quickly,” said Shyy. “We were contacted by the China National Seed Association (CNSA) who requested that we provide a training program for seed industry professionals from China. By May, we had signed an agreement with the Bureau of Seed Management of the Ministry of Agriculture in China, and by July 1st our visitors were at the Seed Science Center ready to begin their training.”

The group, which included 6 PhD and 16 master’s degree scholars, was made up of seed industry professionals with backgrounds in crop genetics, statistics, and conventional and biotechnological maize breeding theory. Participants spent July through September attending lectures and taking part in hands-on activities developed by Seed Science Center and campus faculty and staff focusing on seed production, seed conditioning, seed physiology, seed testing, seed pathology, breeding technologies, seed policy and regulations, risk management, and commercial breeding management.

Shyy, along with program assistant Michael Misra, student assistant Shayla Stephens, and other center faculty facilitated site visits for the group to numerous Midwest seed companies and farms. The group attended the Wisconsin Agricultural Technology Show and the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Illinois. In addition, they visited the USDA North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames and the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado.

As Program Manager of the project, Shyy was responsible for operation of the program and designing the training agenda. He worked closely with Iowa State Global Agriculture Program Director Denise Bjelland. Bjelland helped to facilitate the group’s lodging, transportation, and cultural activities, while CNSA Director of International Programs Wenhui Ma helped tailor the training program to meet the needs of the Chinese seed industry. Lisa Nichols, director of Science and International Affairs with the American Seed Trade Association, arranged site visits for the group with member seed companies throughout the Midwest including Pioneer Hi-Bred, Monsanto, Syngenta, Remington, Stine, and others.

“It was a very big undertaking,” said Shyy. “But at the same time it was very rewarding. When you are together that long you become like family. So in the end, I believe it was a valuable experience, not only for our visitors, but for center faculty and staff as well.”

Following the conclusion of the program, Shyy and group participants reviewed the program with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education, and the CNSA in a closing meeting in Beijing. “Both the Chinese officials and the program participants had a lot of positive things to say about their time at the center. So I feel the program was very successful,” said Shyy. “I believe this project will pave the way for future collaborations.”

2013 Symposium

2013 Leroy and Barbara Everson Seed & Biosafety Symposium: Seeding the Future: Emerging Policy and Science

Audio Powerpoints Available Online


News & Events

Misra Seed Science Endowed Chair


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Endowed Dean Wendy Wintersteen named Seed Science Director Manjit Misra a Seed Science Endowed Chair during a medallion ceremony held April 29, 2014. The ceremony was held during the Global Food Security Consortium and the Leroy and Barbara Everson Seed & Biosafety Symposium.

Hand with Rice

ISU/IFPRI Enhancing Biosafety Systems in Africa and Asia


The Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) at Iowa State University recently signed an agreement with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to enhance biosafety systems in Africa and Asia as part of the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS).

The three-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was designed to benefit partner countries in Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda) and Asia (Vietnam and Indonesia) that are interested in using biotechnology to promote agricultural innovation. The goal of the project is to empower the countries by fostering science-based decision making at each stage of product development and use, while strengthening capacity for the implementation of biosafety regulatory systems. Read More.

The Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) is the first institute of its kind in the nation. BIGMAP was established in 2004 as an independent, science-based institute to help provide guidance to the public and policy makers on genetically modified agricultural products. As part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the institute develops tools and methodologies to analyze the risks and benefits of genetically modified plant and animal products and to provide strategies for mitigating the risks to safeguard consumers and the environment.


ISU Seed Science Center, University of Nairobi Establishing African Seed Institute

Iowa State University seed scientists are working with the University of Nairobi and other groups to increase food security and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa with help from a new $4.49 million grant from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Read more.