Iowa State University Seed Testing Laboratory

Internationally Recognized as a Leader in Seed

Lisa Shepherd Jenkins



Iowa State University lost one of its most avid Cyclone fans, Seed Science Center advocates, and internationally respected experts in seed pathology recently. Lisa Shepherd Jenkins, 43, director of the administrative unit of the National Seed Health System and seed health testing coordinator for the University’s Seed Science Center, passed away July 1 at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames following a brief battle with amyloidosis and multiple myeloma.

Lisa enjoyed life to the fullest and excelled in helping others. She was a tireless champion for phytosanitary issues relating to seed health and was highly regarded by seed industry colleagues from around the world for her expertise in seed-borne diseases and plant pathology. Lisa possessed natural leadership ability and an infectious enthusiasm that benefitted both Iowa State University and the seed industry.

Lisa, B.S. Agronomy and Seed Science, ’95, and M.S. Plant Pathology, ’99, served as a seed health testing coordinator for the Seed Science Center at Iowa State University. An employee of the Seed Science Center since 1999, she headed one of the most active phytosanitary seed testing programs in the country. Lisa and her team performed tests on more than 350 different host-pathogen combinations. As a result of her ingenuity and experience, the Iowa State University Seed Health Testing lab became the go-to laboratory for export seed testing and seed health testing information.

As Director of the administrative unit of the National Seed Health System (NSHS), Lisa facilitated the accreditation of private companies to conduct phytosanitary testing and worked to standardize seed health laboratory and field inspection methods across the U.S. She collaborated with the USDA-APHIS-PPQ and the American Seed Trade Association on international trade issues dealing with seed and assisted the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Crop Improvement Association in establishing training methods for the phytosanitary field inspection program. She focused her efforts on seed industry issues including compliance with the laboratory ISO:9000 program, NSHS accreditation, and science-based solutions to remove unnecessary phytosanitary restrictions. She also worked with farmers and seed companies to provide information and answers on seed pathology concerns.

During her career, Lisa served as Chair of the American Seed Trade Association Emerging Diseases Committee; Chair and member of the American Phytopathological Society Seed Pathology Committee; and as a member of the National Seed Health System/Plant Protection and Quarantine/National Plant Advisory Group.

On the personal side, Lisa was in constant motion whether at the Seed Science Center, on the RAGBRAI route, or cheering loudly at a Cyclone game. Lisa and her husband Andy loved to travel, and frequently arranged group trips for family and friends. Ever adaptable, Lisa was comfortable in any environment, whether it was inspecting a muggy cornfield, reading a book on a beach, blazing a trail down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, or quietly working in the background at a meeting. Lisa helped everyone around her to be a better person. But perhaps Lisa’s greatest gift was the ability to bring and keep people together. Lisa was fiercely loyal to Iowa State, to her family and friends, unusually photogenic, in that she never seemed to take a bad picture, and was very much loved.

Originally from Humboldt, Iowa, Lisa and her husband Andy resided in Nevada, Iowa. Lisa is survived by her husband Andrew Jenkins, mother Marianne Shepherd, sister Kim (Ed) Bartels, in-laws Richard and Ardith Jenkins, brother in-law Rick (Pam) Jenkins, and nieces Rachel Bartels, Arianne, and Ashley Jenkins.

A scholarship to honor Lisa’s work is being established. Contact the Seed Science Center at Iowa State University for more information.


ISU Seed Lab Manager Mike Sthar



Iowa State University has a proud history of excellence in agricultural technology. From the early research of George Washington Carver, to today's biotech seeds that feed, fuel, and supply the world, Iowa State University time and again has proven itself as a leader.

At the Iowa State University Seed Laboratory we are not only proud of this heritage of excellence, but are pleased to offer cutting-edge seed analysis technologies and services. Our broad range of testing options, high throughput of samples, accurate results, and unmatched customer service—combined with our years of experience and expert staff—make us a leader in the seed testing industry.

The Iowa State Seed Testing Lab

  • Is the largest public seed testing laboratory in the world 
  • Offers testing services for more than 300 species of crops, vegetables, flowers, and trees
  • Tests for more than 350 pathogens (fungi, bacteria, and viruses)
  • Employs staff certified in purity, germination, and testing of biotech traits
  • Is a reputable industry source for workshops and short courses on seed quality and conditioning
  • Utilizes the resources of Iowa State University experts in the fields of Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Entomology, and more
  • Has served as an industry leader in testing, research, and in offering workshops for more than 100 years

Call Us Today and Let Us Demonstrate the Many Ways That We Will
Exceed Your Seed Testing Expectations.


Log On To Seed Lab Online Services

Place your samples in a padded box or envelope and ship to: ISU Seed Laboratory, 109 Seed Science Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3228. For more info Click Here

TRY OUR NEW SAMPLE SUBMISSION FORM (in .xls | .xlsx | and .pdf | formats and visit our News/FAQs page for more information about how it works.)

Mike Stahr Manager

Manager's Corner


Click Here to read the latest news and commentary from Seed Lab Manager Mike Stahr.

What Sets ISU Apart?

The ISU Seed Lab


News/Upcoming Events
Lateral Test Strips


Outstanding customer care is a priority at the ISU Seed Lab.  That’s why we provide a number of options for checking testing progress, answering questions, and providing results.  Testing results are available by phone, fax, e-mail, or secure web locker. Try out our new web locker system that gives users increased flexibility in sorting and searching for information.  Contact Cherie or Connie in Customer Care for more info on how to start making use of these new features today.
Phytosanitary Testing


National Seed Health System Certified and internationally recognized for excellence and testing for over 350 pathogens, the Seed Health Lab at Iowa State University is ready to assist you with moving your seed lots. The Iowa State University Seed Lab is recognized for its expertise in testing fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
Biotech Trait Testing

ISU SEED LAB CERTIFIED TO TEST FOR BIOTECH TRAITSThe ISU Seed Lab has been certified by trait providers to test for all biotech traits available for corn and soybeans. We offer testing by herbicide bioassay, ELISA, lateral flow strips, and PCR for biotech traits.  It is important that a warm germination test be conducted on the refuge portion of carryover RIB (integrated refuge products) corn. If the refuge portion of a seed lot has an inferior germination level then it may not serve its purpose in the field. Vist our Methods page for more information.

Seed Test

HAVE A QUESTION ON TESTING METHODS? NEED MORE INFORMATION?Have a question on testing methods? Simply click on "Methods" at the top of this page.  Need information on submitting samples or additional information on testing methods? Click on the "News/FAQs" tab above.  If you still can't find what you need, contact ISU Customer Care at or call 515-294-6826.

Iowa State University Seed Testing Laboratory, 109 Seed Science Center, Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011. Mike Stahr: Manager. Ph. 515-294-6826, Fax: 515-294-8303,