skip to main content

Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2012 / 12 

Virginia Tech biochemist Dennis R. Dean named AAAS Fellow

December 3, 2012

Dennis R. Dean
Dennis R. Dean

Dennis R. Dean, the Stroobants Professor of Biotechnology and director of life sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dean was selected for this high honor by his peers for "his contributions to the fields of microbiology and bioinorganic chemistry involving the mechanisms of biological nitrogen fixation and the formation of biological iron-sulfur clusters," according to the association.

He is among 702 new Fellows who will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 30, and honored on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the 2013 AAAS annual meeting in Boston, Mass.

"Becoming a fellow of AAAS is an elite designation, denoting work that has made a significant impact on the nation," said Robert Walters, vice president for research at Virginia Tech. "This honor is well-deserved and a testament to Dr. Dean’s extensive accomplishments in research, service, and teaching."

Joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1985, Dean directed the Fralin Biotechnology Center for seven years and led the transformation of the center into the Fralin Life Science Institute. From 2008 to 2009, he served as acting director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and is currently a University Distinguished Professor and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

His teaching and service has extended outside the university with participation in the development and oversight of the Fralin Biotech-in-a-Box outreach program, which serves thousands of high school students each year. He has been actively and continuously engaged in professional service throughout his career, having served on numerous peer-review and site-visit panels and chaired and organized international conferences, including two Gordon Research Conferences.

In his current position as director of life sciences at Virginia Tech, Dean provides leadership for the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Fralin Life Science Institute.

Dean’s research is recognized worldwide. He has published more than 160 articles, currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and has recently served on the publications board for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has received extramural funding to support his research since 1975, including awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Office of Naval Research.

Dean received his bachelor's degree from Wabash College and was a pre-doctoral National Institutes Trainee at Purdue University where he earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology. He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin and began his independent scientific career at the Kettering laboratory.