Virginia Tech recently announced the appointment of Brenda S.J. Winkel as head of the Department of Biological Sciences.
She succeeds Robert H. Jones who assumed a position as dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University earlier this year.
Winkel, professor of molecular plant biology, joined the College of Science faculty in 1992 as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 2002. Since that time, she has served in a leadership role on a number of projects, including president of the college Faculty Association, president of the Organization of Women Faculty, founding director of the university’s Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program and associate director of the Fralin Center for Biotechnology. She is a co-principal investigator and served a term as director of a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship project entitled, “Exploring Interfaces in Graduate Education and Research,” which is aimed at promoting interdisciplinary research across engineering and the sciences.
“Brenda is a nationally and internationally recognized authority in cell and molecular biology,” said Lay Nam Chang, dean of the College of Science. “She leads a productive and prominent research group and has won numerous prestigious awards in her chosen field. Brenda is well-positioned to be the head of this key department in the university and to play a critical role in the rapidly evolving discipline of biological sciences. We are proud to welcome her as one of our leaders.”
Winkel has been the principal or co-principal investigator on research projects with total funding of more than $10 million. She has mentored 19 graduate students and nearly 50 undergraduates in her laboratory, has authored dozens of scientific journal articles, and has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards. In 2004-05, she was named a Leadership Fellow in AdvanceVT, a National Science Foundation project that promotes leadership among women in science and engineering at colleges and universities across the nation. She has been an active participant in the Partnership for Research and Education in Plants outreach program for high schools. Earlier this year, she was an invited member of the university’s Interdisciplinary Scholars for Emerging Frontiers in Life Sciences Forum.
Winkel earned a master’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry at Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Georgia.