Rodriguez appointed interim director of Seed Science Center at Iowa State University

Woman with dark hair in red top and scarf, next to man with graying hair in red shirt, standing with seed trays on either side
Lulu Rodriguez with Manjit K. Misra in the Seed Science Center. Image by Amy Vinchattle Photography. 

AMES, Iowa – Lulu Rodriguez has been named interim director of the Seed Science Center at Iowa State University, effective April 28.

“It is a great pleasure to have Dr. Lulu Rodriguez serve in the capacity as interim director for the Seed Science Center. She does outstanding work for the center and has a terrific history of work here at Iowa State and elsewhere, which includes attention to the global issues and opportunities the center addresses and close collaboration with the scientists and industry that it serves,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State. “Following the departure of Dr. Manjit Misra from the SSC to lead USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, having Lulu in the leadership role sets up the center for continued, seamless success.”

Rodriguez has been serving as global programs lead for the SSC since 2019. Her duties have included managing interdisciplinary funding proposals to support national, regional and international seed systems and programs. She is a widely recognized author of scholarly work related to agriculture and food, natural resources, renewable energy and the communication of risk and science, and has received many honors for her research, publications and teaching.

“Dr. Misra’s exemplary leadership has made the center an acknowledged hub of excellence in seed science, technology, education and systems,” Rodriguez said. “I am honored to continue our goal of expanding farmers’ access to quality seeds and our legacy of service to the seed industry and the many partners and stakeholders we have within and outside the U.S. borders. We have a talented and dedicated team at the SSC that will ensure continuity, drive progress and enhance our operations as we pursue new opportunities.”

Prior to coming to the SSC, Rodriguez directed the agricultural communications program at the University of Illinois for six years. From 1993 to 2013, she was a faculty member in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State, where she served as director of graduate education and head of the visual communications emphasis of the journalism and mass communication major.

Rodriguez holds a doctorate in mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s of professional studies in communications from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in development communications from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños.

A search for a permanent director of the SSC will begin soon.

The Seed Science Center at Iowa State University is recognized as a global center of excellence in seed science, technology and systems. The center engages more than 190 faculty, affiliated faculty, staff and students in cutting edge research, education, training and global programs. The center operates the largest, most comprehensive public seed laboratory in the world, testing samples from 300 seed species annually and for 350 pathogens. Since 2001, the SSC has administered the National Seed Health System, charged with ensuring that seeds exported from the U.S. are disease-free. The center also houses the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products.