Martha Malapi

Ric Dunkle

Alexandria, VA (August 28, 2023) - The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) welcomes Martha Malapi as Director, Seed Health & Trade. Malapi transitions into the role as Ric Dunkle prepares for retirement after more than 15 years with ASTA and 35 years handling phytosanitary issues in state and federal government.

Malapi joins ASTA after 10 years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in a number of roles, including Branch Chief of APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, where she worked on assessing potential plant pest risk and environmental impacts of genetically engineered microbes on the human environment. Prior to serving as Branch Chief, Malapi was the Lead Plant Pathologist and Program Manager of APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine – Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program, where she implemented the genomics program for the identification of quarantine pathogens.

Malapi completed her postdoctoral specialization at USDA-ARS, where she used different genomics and bioinformatics tools to study novel and emergent pathogens. She holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Tennessee and Texas A&M University. Originally from Lima, Peru, Martha now calls Washington, D.C., home.

“We are excited for Martha to join the ASTA team and work closely with the American seed industry to facilitate the import and export of seeds,” says ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne. “Martha brings such a strong background in plant pathology and plant science, as well as a good understanding of the domestic and global regulatory structures that impact the seed sector.”

As Director, Seed Health & Trade, Malapi will serve as the lead technical and policy expert for ASTA’s nearly 700 members on phytosanitary issues impacting the global movement of seed in a wide range of economically important species, including row crops, vegetables, flowers, forages, and grasses.