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John Stephen
0195e Seed Science 2115 Osborn Dr
(515) 294-8619
John Stephen
0195e Seed Science 2115 Osborn Dr
(515) 294-8619



Curriculum vitae


Employment and gratis positions:



2016 – current: Affiliate Professor, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University.

2016 – current: Lecturer in Seed Science Center


Nov 1 2015- current: Visiting Scientist and Lecturer, Department of Seed Science, Iowa State University.


1994- Oct 31 2015: DuPont Research Fellow, Crop Genetics Research and Product Development, Pioneer Hi-Bred


1981–1994 Research Fellow, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Departments of Research Specialists, Biotechnology


1981-1994 Research Manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Departments of Corn Breeding, Research Specialists, Biotechnology


1980-1981 Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Corn Breeding, Pioneer Hi-Bred International


1977-1980 Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Departments of Genetics and Statistics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC




1975-1977 Ph.D. Taxonomy and Evolution of Maize, (University of Birmingham, England).


1974-1975 M.Sc. Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources, (University of Birmingham, England).


1971-1974 B.Sc.  Plant Sciences. (Wye College, University of London).


Citizenship: UK citizen and US citizen


Responsibilities while at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, later DuPont-Pioneer (1980-2015):

  • Germplasm Security-Intellectual Property Protection, technical support
  • Develop and promulgate a global implementation of PVP via an UPOV International System of Cooperation
  • Measure Genetic Gain in maize in the US and internationally
  • Publish on value of plant genetic resources
  • Investigate and publish upon economic analyses of intellectual property protection
  • Provide technical support and advice to legal group for germplasm security
  • Improve efficiency of current PVP process
  • Improve effectiveness of current US germplasm patents
  • Improve capabilities to provide surveillance competitors corn germplasm
  • Develop IP positions in US and internationally (ISF) that are supportive of effective IP environments to support innovative and commercially risky research and product development programs


Research interests:

Genetic diversity, issues related to germplasm access and benefit sharing, use of morphological and molecular data for variety identification, demonstrating the importance of sustainable use of genetic diversity to improve agricultural productivity, pedigree analysis of crop varieties and economics-based analysis of intellectual property protection systems. Determination of genetic gain in maize.



Iowa State University

  • 4 lectures in Intellectual Property Rights and Plant Breeding in STB 509
  • 2 lectures to Agronomy 338 Plant Physiology and Plant Breeding
  • 1 lecture Seed Science Short Course, Intellectual Property Rights and Plant Genetic Resources
  • 2 lectures Seed Science Short Course, Crop Improvement and Variety Testing
  • Co-developer and presenter of 2-day Agronomy Summer Short Course on Plant Genetic Resources and Crop Domestication
  • 1 Lecture Ag 610 Sustainable Agriculture
  • 1 Lecture Seed Science Genetic Gain and Plant Genetic Resources
  • 1 Lecture Agronomy Department Genetic Gain, Plant Genetic Resources and the Future for US Maize Production
  • Teacher in 3 credit Crop production course SBT 510 2018
  • 2 lectures to Agronomy 338 Plant Physiology and Plant Breeding 2018

University of Wageningen, The Netherlands

  • 2 Lectures on intellectual property rights and plant genetic resources

Cornell University

  • Lecture on intellectual property and genetic gain

Drake University

  • Lecture on intellectual property t Law department
  • 10 lectures for the Introductory Genetics Spring Semester

USDA Cochran Programs

  • 6 lectures on Plant Variety Protection to Chinese PVP experts
  • 2 lectures on Intellectual Property to Officials from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture
  • 2 lectures in Essentially Derived Varieties to Chinese officials
  • 2 lectures on IP to visiting students 2018

International Seed Federation

  • 1 lecture on Essentially Derived Varieties to experts at the India PVP Office
  • 1 lecture on molecular methods of plant breeding to an ISF Breeders symposium, Berlin

International Union for the Protection 0f Cultivated Plants-World Intellectual Property Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland

  • 3 lectures on intellectual property protection and modern methods of plant breeding


Committees, Board Positions and Associations:

  • Biochemical and Molecular Techniques Working Group of UPOV
  • Cultivar Variety Identification Committee of ASTA
  • ASTA-US Plant Variety Protection Office Board working group on use of molecular markers in PVP
  • Advisory council of the Bioethics Program and Iowa State University
  • Previous member of the NPGS USDA Fort Collins customer feedback committee
  • Member Editorial Board: Journal Plant Genetic Resources, Characterization and Utilization.
  • Past Member Scientific Review Panel of the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program
  • Past Chair Genetic Resources Division Crop Science Society of America
  • Past Chair Sperling Lectureship Committee Crop Science Society of America
  • Past Chair Pioneer Genetic Resources Issues Team
  • Member (2000-2018) and Chair (2008-2916) International Seed Federation IP Committee
  • Member ISF Breeder Committee (2008-2016)
  • 2011-2015 Member US National Genetic Resources Advisory Council
  • 2015-2018 Co-Chair Counterfeit Seed Working Group ISF
  • 2015 – Member of the CIMMYT Maize crop genetic vulnerability committee
  • CIMMYT working group on licensing and IP
  • Expert witness for the FBI in international maize seed theft case 2016.
  • US representatitve for the US State Dept. at FAO meetings on Farmers Rights , Rome, 2018




Member Board of Trustees:

  • National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (2011-2015) President 2014.
  • 2002-2008 Bioversity International (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute) CGIAR system
  • 2015 – current Living History Farms Des Moines Iowa
  • 2000-2014 Des Moines Symphony Association, President 2014.
  • 2014 – current Des Moines Symphony Foundation, President 2019.


Member intellectual property committees:

  • American Seed Trade Association,
  • Biotechnology Industry Organisation
  • CropLife International
  • International Seed Federation (Chair of ISF IPC 2009- present)



  • Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America (2005)
  • ASTA Chairman’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the industry in the field of intellectual property protection (2005)
  • Henry A. Wallace Agricultural Revolution Impact Award (2012)
  • DuPont Lavoisier Award 2105
  • ASTA honorary lifetime membership award 2017
  • ISF lifetime membership award 2018




  • Over 120 scientifically peer reviewed publications
Areas of Expertise:Plant Breeding


Professor and Chair
2104b Agronomy 716 Farm House Ln
(515) 294-7840