Plant Session Instructors

Dann Adair
Mr. Dann Adair is an Account Manager and Greenhouse Application Specialist with Conviron. He has over 40 years’ experience on the management, design and construction of research plots, greenhouses, growth chambers, seed storage and supporting facilities for the plant research community. While on staff at the University of Minnesota from 1982-2003, he was a prominent team member that led to the build-out of over $30M in plant research facilities and chaired the St. Paul campus safety committee.

After joining Conviron in 2003, he has directed over $50M in installations including research greenhouses. Co-authorship of A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses in 2008 (2001 first edition) has created an opportunity to present, teach and consult on this topic in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Malaysia, and China.

Since 2005, he has been on the faculty of the annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Training Course-Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, the most prominent course for understanding plant containment requirements. He has presented or taught for the USDA-ARS International Biosafety and Biocontainment Symposia, ABSA International Annual conferences, the Midwest Area Biosafety Network, the Association of Education and Research Greenhouse Curators, the NCERA-101 Committee on Controlled Environments, the American Phytopathological Society, the Society for In Vitro Biology, and the Tradeline International Conference on Biocontainment Facilities.

As an Agricultural Biotech Regulatory Network affiliate, he is called on for biosafety consultations. He also served on the Ceres, Inc. Institutional Biosafety Committee for six years.

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.

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.


Emily Luna
Emily Luna received a B.S. in Horticulture and M.S. in Entomology at Colorado State University from the department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management in 2012. Currently, Emily acts as Lab Manager for the Leach Lab and also conducts her own research. Her main research project focuses on understanding the complex multi-trophic interactions in the wheat phytobiome with a focus on: wheat, Russian wheat aphid, and aphid-associated bacteria. Emily also conducts research on the rice-Xanthomonas oryzae pathosystem.

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.