Plant Session Instructors

Dann Adair
Mr. Dann Adair received a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Pest Management from the University of Minnesota in 1991 where he worked as a plant growth facility manager for 21 years. Prior to that, he managed Plant Pathology greenhouses at the University of Illinois. He is currently a Greenhouse Application Specialist with Controlled Environments Inc. (Conviron). While at the University of Minnesota, Dann chaired the safety committee for the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota which responded to ELF/ALF attacks, student animal rights groups, and 911 issues. Co–authoring A Practical Guide to Containment: Greenhouse Research with Transgenic Plants and Microbes in 2001 also gave Dann the opportunity to research issues related to this subject and speak publicly at several meetings in North America and the UK.

Dann was also a primary driver of the University of Minnesota’s recently completed $25M Plant Growth Facilities project which includes an insect quarantine facility. Dann left the University in March 2003 to help create the Aurora Research Greenhouse for Conviron, a product built to address research needs which include containment capability. He is an active member of the Association of Education and Research Greenhouse Curators, attends professional meetings as a representative for Conviron, and travels extensively to public and private plant growth facilities across North America.


Mauricio S. Antunes
Dr. Mauricio S. Antunes earned his M.S. in Plant Sciences from the Federal University of Viçosa, in Brazil, and a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology from Purdue University. Dr. Antunes subsequently came to Colorado State University (CSU) as a postdoctoral associate where he began working in the emerging field of Plant Synthetic Biology. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at CSU, and his research interest includes developing synthetic genetically-encoded circuits and pathways to enable the precise control of transgenic traits in plants.


Ed Canfield
Mr. Ed Canfield is a Graduate of Eastern Michigan Univ, BS, and is a member of American Biological Safety Association (ABSA); IEST (Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology); ISPE (International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering). Ed is an NSF Accredited biological safety cabinet certifier. He has over 25 years experience in certification and service of all types of biological safety cabinets and HEPA filtered devices.

ED has certified cabinets and HEPA filters in research facilities, BSL3 laboratories, biotech firms, universities, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, animal facilities, hospitals, and many other environments. Ed is currently based in Littleton, CO, and is the Regional Service Manager and Field Service Specialist for Technical Safety Services, Inc., servicing Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. Technical Safety Services, headquartered in Berkeley, CA, specializes in the certification and service of biological safety cabinets and HEPA filters.

Sara Cope
Dr. Sara Cope is currently an Assistant Biosafety Officer at Colorado State University, as well as an Alternate Responsible Official for CSU’s Select Agent program. At CSU, Sara has primary responsibility over the Diagnostic Medicine Center (DMC) on CSU’s South Campus. The DMC includes biosafety level-2 and biosafety level- 3 laboratory suites that serve to offer timely and accurate testing services to identify animal disease. The DMC also has a unique role in global disease surveillance, collaborating with public and private partners to track significant diseases in Colorado, across the nation and around the world.

Sara’s other responsibilities as part of the Biosafety team at CSU include: assisting with Mock Bsl-3 training, biosafety cabinet training, Bsl-2 and Bsl-3 laboratory audits, Select Agent inventory audits and performing respiratory fit tests for personnel at CSU’s Infectious Disease Research Center and Diagnostic Medicine Center. Prior to her time at CSU, Sara was a fellow with the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland; where she had to opportunity to receive professional training in biosafety and biocontainment at one of the foremost biomedical research centers in the world.

Sara studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, where she focused on Biology and Chemistry as an undergraduate and Molecular Biology and Microbiology as a graduate student. While at UNT, Sara served as the founding vice-president for the Society for Microbiology at UNT. As a graduate teaching assistant, she taught both Microbiology and Medical Bacteriology Lab courses throughout her graduate career and served as the Microbiology instructor and mentor for the Upward Bound Math and Science summer program for high school students interested in the science disciplines.


Thaddeus Gourd
Dr. Thaddeus Gourd is the Colorado State University Extension Director and Agriculture Agent for Adams County Colorado. Thaddeus earned his MS in Integrated Pest Management with an entomology emphasis in 1983 from New Mexico State University – Las Cruces and his Ph.D. in Nematology (Plant Pathology) in 1990 from North Carolina State University – Raleigh. Thaddeus was a Research Entomologist for Imperial Chemical Company, Goldsboro, NC. from 1980–1987. In 1990 he joined American Cyanamid Company to become a Regional Technical Representative for the Rocky Mountain Region. He joined Colorado State University Extension in Adams County in 2000 as the Agriculture Agent. In 2010, he became the Director of Extension for Adams County. Thaddeus’s Research/Extension interests include: Integrated Pest Management of weeds, insects and plant diseases on both dryland and irrigated crops grown along the Front Range of Colorado. He has been project leader for the Northern Colorado Onion Variety Trials for the past 13 years looking at varietal tolerance of thrips and transmission of Iris Yellow Spot Virus of onion. Other research includes organic weed and insect management using mulch, steam and flame technologies, insect management using companion crops and disease management using endomycorrhizal inoculant.


Jillian Lang
Dr. Jillian Lang completed her B.S. in Biology at the State University of New York, College at Fredonia. She completed her M.S. in Plant Pathology at Colorado State University where she worked on biological control strategies for Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. allii, causal agent of Xanthomonas leaf blight of onion with Dr. Howard Schwartz. Following completion of her degree, she was fortunate to remain in the department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management to work on the Comprehensive Phytopathogen Genomics Resource project under the advisement of Dr. Jan Leach, Dr. Ned Tisserat and Dr. Robin Buell (Michigan State University) where she focused on developing comparative genomics based diagnostic tools to rapidly and accurately identify, as well as, differentiate select agents Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae from Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola, two of the most important bacterial pathogens of rice. After completing that project she became a Senior Scientist at Solix Biosystems working on developing algae based biofuels and bioproducts. She then returned to CSU to manage the rice research group for Dr. Jan Leach where she oversees biosafety, supervises undergraduate lab assistants, maintains equipment, manages greenhouse production, maintains the website and conducts her own research. She has a PhD in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at CSU. She studies genes involved in rice defense responses and continues developing molecular diagnostics for important plant pathogens with a broad passion and focus on international sustainable agriculture. She works collaboratively locally and internationally in the Philippines, France, Kenya and China.


Jan E. Leach
Dr. Jan Leach earned her MS in 1977 (Microbiology) at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and her PhD (Plant Pathology) in 1981 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She was a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University from 1998-2004.  Jan is currently Professor and a plant pathologist in the Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management Department at Colorado State University.  Jan is an authority on the molecular biology of plant-pathogen interactions.  Using rice and a bacterial disease as a model system, she studies how plants defend themselves from pathogens.  The bacterial pathogen that she has studied for over 20 years causes major crop losses in Asia, and is considered a quarantine pathogen in the USA.

Jan has served as the President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), and she serves on the Public Policy Board for that society.  As a member of the Public Policy Board, Jan has been involved in a recent survey of members of several scientific societies to provide insight into the impacts of current regulations on pathogen movement and containment on research, extension, and education.

June I. Medford
Dr. June I. Medford earned her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1986 in Biology, with expertise in plant molecular biology. Dr. Medford subsequently spent 3 years as a post-doctoral associate with the plant molecular biology group at Monsanto conducting plant genetic engineering experiments and producing some of the world’s first transgenic plants.

Dr. Medford moved to her own research laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University where she was one of the first researchers in Pennsylvania to work on transgenic plants. In 1996 she moved to Colorado State University and has served on and as the chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. In addition, Dr. Medford also serves on the IBC committee at the National Renewal Energy laboratory in Golden Colorado.


Steven Ziegenfuss
Mr. Steven Ziegenfuss is a Biological Safety Specialist at Iowa State University with 10 plus years experience with United States Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention permitting. Steve received a BS in Environmental Science from Clarke College in Dubuque, IA in 1986. Steve joined Kemin Industries in Des Moines, IA in 1991 and served in a variety of research and regulatory positions including Manager of Regulatory Affairs. Steve’s work has involved him in U.S. Food and Drug Administration food additive petitions, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pesticide permit applications, and Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention infectious agent permits as well as original research resulting in three patents.

Steve joined Iowa State University in 2005 and currently oversees the permitting process for Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services, Plant Protection and Quarantine and Biotechnology Regulatory Services permitting as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention permit application and renewal process for faculty and researchers. In addition to his involvement in permitting at Iowa State, Steve also has significant involvement in hazardous materials shipping; biosafety oversight of infectious agents affecting plants, animals and humans, genetically engineered organisms, BSL–1, BSL–2 and BSL–3 laboratories; the Select Agent Program, and the Iowa State University Laboratory Safety Program.