Plants, Field Trials & Arthropod Husbandry

New for 2022: Overview of Plant Biotechnology, Field Trial Basics, and Arthropod Husbandry

This newly developed virtual course will provide participants with an overview of plant biotechnology, field trial basics and arthropod husbandry.


Plant biotechnology is used to create gene-based solutions for weed, disease, pest control and yield enhancement. Field trials in plant biotechnology are designed to test the promising new plants developed by biotechnology in a situation similar to the actual growing conditions by farmers, such as unpredictable light and temperature, the presence of unknown microbes and animals in the soil and competing weeds.  Arthropod interactions can be beneficial or detrimental to plants. We know beneficial insects are economically important both as allies in biocontrol of pests or vectors and as pollinators. Alternatively, arthropods in rearing facilities can lead to serious occupational health hazards; allergic sensitivity reactions to both allergens produced by insects as well as microbial pathogen containments produced by insect diets and insect frass.

This class will cover the basics of biotechnology including traditional and evolving techniques. The field trials section will review over APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Service (BRS) permitting and other documentation along with distances and other field protocols. Insect handling will cover permitting, rearing, containment, proper disposal as well as ways to managing sensitivities and allergens.  

The class will offer a variety of scenarios and interactive exercises that demonstrate the range of genetically modified, and other risks and hazards routinely encountered in the field and insectary.

The course employs “real world” examples to improve understanding of greenhouse and field operations.


  • Review biotechnology techniques used in plant research.
  • Overview of field trial permits, distances, and best practices.
  • Understand how to contain allergens and avoid sensitivity in arthropod rearing and research.

Suggested Background: A basic understanding of plant biology, genetically modified and breeding applications.


Deborah Howard, MPH, CBSP

Deborah Howard is the Global Environment, Health and Safety Biological Materials Manager for BASF where she has oversight of greenhouses, laboratories, inoculant and fermentation sites.  She has been the Biosafety Manager at BASF (Bayer buyout in 2018) since May 2014 and was named Global Biosafety Expert in August 2020. Deborah has extensive experience with Select Agent regulations, exporting, greenhouse, arthropods, genetically modified plants and animals. She has over 30 years of experience in health and safety and knowledge of regulations, including NIH, OSHA, EPA, APHIS and USDA. Previously, she was the Biosafety Manager at UNC Chapel Hill.

Janet Griffiths

Janet Griffiths is the lab manager for the Insect and Plant Propagation Team at BASF. She has worked in this role at BASF for the last 10 years. Janet has 17 years total experience in insect and plant rearing, with 15 of those years in lab management, mostly in multi species labs. Janet has worked with over 40 species of arthropods through the years.

Prior to working at BASF, Janet spent 4 years managing insect rearing, plant propagation, and research involving plant/insect interaction at the Soil Arthropod Ecology Lab in the entomology department at NCSU. Before NCSU, Janet worked for NCDA in Plant Protection where she supervised the lab that massed reared a predator beetle for release as a management tool for an invasive species. She also worked for NCDA Agronomic Division, working within a chemistry lab processing soil samples for farmers and local residents of NC. 

Anita Harrell

Anita Harrell has 10 years of experience in the fields of Occupational Safety, Biological Safety and Laboratory Safety. She has worked at BASF for 35 years and is currently the North America Biosafety Manager. Prior to joining BASF, Anita worked at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. She received a degree in Botany from NCSU in 1983.

Anita currently oversees the North American Biological Safety Programs. She works with site biosafety representatives to oversee these areas. She participates and several global biosafety teams at BASF.

Continuing Education Credit

Attendees will receive 2.0 CM points for registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) and Certified Biosafety Safety Professional (CBSP) Maintenance.


Opens on January 18, 2022.

Event Details
  • Wednesday, April 6 
    11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST  

    Thursday, April 7
    11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST

  • Registration Price
    •  For employees of NCABR member organizations: $200
    •  For others: $250
      Registration closes April 1, 2022.

  • Who Should Attend:
    •  All greenhouse and lab workers
    •  All safety professionals

  • Virtual Platform to be Used:

    • Log in details will be emailed to paid registrants the week of the program.
  • Cancelation Policy

    Orders canceled on or before April 1, 2022, are eligible for a full refund.  
    Orders canceled after April 1, 2022, are not eligible for a refund.

  • Substitution Policy

    A substitution from the registrant’s organization is permitted.
    Please notify Virginia Crisp (contact info below) at least seven days before the course.

  • Questions?
    Contact Virginia Crisp, Program Coordinator, Member Services & Support, NCABR at or 919-785-1304 x202