Sponsored by USDA-Agricultural Research Service, and Co-Sponsored by AGFD and AGRO
Pathogens and pesticides: Research topics in food and environmental safety
James N. Seiber, a native of Missouri, received his degrees in chemistry from Bellarmine College (Louisville, KY), Arizona State University, and Utah
State University. He was a research scientist at Dow Chemical Company, and then a faculty member at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), Department of Environmental Toxicology, starting in 1969. He served as Professor and Department Chair, and as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He was founding director of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) in 1992, where he initiated a multidisciplinary program of research and graduate education in Environmental Health.
He joined the USDA Agricultural Research Service in 1998 as Director of the Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, California. He oversaw scientists working in eight research units, including Plant Mycotoxins, Produce Safety, Foodborne Contaminants, and Biofuels and Biobased Products. He was responsible for directing food safety and biobased product initiatives at the WRRC. He also served as Acting Director of the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center and Southern Regional Research Center, and earlier in his career spent a year at the International Rice Research Center in the Philippines.
In 2009, he was appointed interim Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis, where he led the move of the department to the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food. During much of the past 20 years, he served as Editor of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (JAFC) – the first federal executive to serve in this role. During his tenure as editor, JAFC doubled its impact factor, increased by a factor of 5 the rate of manuscript submissions, and established a large presence in China. In 2015, he was appointed Associate Editor of the Journal of Functional Foods, handling manuscripts dealing with the health benefits of foods.
He was/is also a member of the AGRO and AGFD, USDA-DOE Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee, the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement, UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees, and CalEPA Pesticide Regulation Evaluation committee. He has published over 250 books, book chapters, and research manuscripts, and supervised dissertation and thesis research
of graduate students at UC Davis and UNR.
His current research and teaching interests deal with the fate of pesticides and other toxicants in food and the environment, and the possibilities that biopesticides hold as reduced risk alternatives for pest control.
Jim farms a vineyard in Winters, California, and with his wife, Rita, is a founding partner of RST Cellars. Rita and Jim have three sons, all married, and seven grandchildren, all residing in California.