Dr. Steven Harris appointed interim director of ISU Seed Science Center

Ames, IA— Dr. Daniel Robison, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has announced the appointment of Dr. Steven Harris as interim director of the Seed Science Center. Dr. Harris, who concurrently chairs ISU’s Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology department, brings a wealth of experience and a forward-thinking vision to his new role.

Dr. Harris expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunity to lead the Center during this transitional period.

“I am most excited about helping to position the Center for a vibrant future that integrates the vital service that it provides to the seed industry with the research and teaching activities that are so important to all of our stakeholders,” he said. “This includes helping to establish a vision for the future that builds from our upcoming external review and sets the stage for the arrival of a new permanent Director.”

The Seed Science Center thrived under the exceptional leadership of Dr. Manjit Misra, who served as director for 30 years, followed by Dr. Lulu Rodriguez’s interim directorship over the past year. Dr. Harris acknowledges the solid foundation they have laid and the high standards maintained by the Center.

“The SSC has an impressive and well-earned reputation. This is reflected in the commitment displayed by the Center's faculty, staff, and students to their work,” Harris said. “From providing accurate test results to training the next generation of leaders in the field, everyone associated with the Center is remarkably engaged in ensuring its success.”

In his new role, Dr. Harris aims to address critical challenges and opportunities in seed health and quality caused by the effects of a changing climate.

“With Dr. Harris at the helm, and a new permanent director on the horizon, the Seed Science Center is poised to continue its legacy of excellence while navigating future challenges and opportunities in the seed industry,” said Dr. Lulu Rodriguez, who is excited about the opportunity to focus solely on SSC Global Programs once again. “I am confident that the Center will reach new heights in research, education, and global outreach under his leadership.”

Dr. Harris holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Michigan (1992), an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Windsor (1986), and a B.S. (Hon.) in Biological Sciences from the University of Windsor (1983). His expertise lies in fungal biology, and he has held previous faculty positions at the University of Connecticut Health Center (Department of Microbiology), the University of Nebraska (Department of Plant Pathology), and the University of Manitoba (Department of Biological Sciences, where he served as Head). Dr. Harris joined Iowa State University in 2021.


Cynthia Hicks, Seed Science Center, 515-296-5386, cghicks@iastate.edu

About the Seed Science Center

The Seed Science Center, housed at Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ames, Iowa, improves the production, quality assurance, marketing, utilization and regulatory environment of seed through research, testing, teaching, outreach and international programs. Many of the roughly 800 private seed companies in the United States rely on tests conducted by this world-renowned Center to support claims about the quality and performance of their products. Over the past 20 years, the Center has implemented programs to improve seed research and innovation, enterprise development, policy and regulation, and the general capacity of seed systems in 80 countries.