Glenda Gillaspy honored with emerita status | VTx

Glenda Gillaspy, former professor and former head of the Department of Biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emerita title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1998, Gillaspy conducted seminal biochemical and molecular genetic research on the role of inositol phosphates as indicators of plant phosphate sensing and translated these insights into strategies for phosphate reclamation from the environment, bringing international visibility to Virginia Tech.

Gillaspy authored or co-authored more than 50 research papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as several more articles, book chapters, and reviews. She has served the scientific research community as a reviewer for manuscripts and grant proposals and as organizer of numerous scientific conferences.

At Virginia Tech, Gillaspy was a mentor and role model for women in science to both female students and faculty and, in particular, other female department heads. As department head, she established biochemistry’s first full-time student advising office, doubled the growth of its graduate enrollment, and increased research expenditures. In addition, the department reviewed and updated its undergraduate curriculum with new bioanalytical lectures and laboratory courses and new electives addressing the impacts of big data sets, biophysics, and molecular modeling.

In the classroom, Gillaspy taught both undergraduate and graduate courses, and her research engaged 49 undergraduate researchers over her career. She mentored master’s and Ph.D. students of diverse backgrounds and, as head, established the department’s first committee devoted to addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.

Gillaspy received her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

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