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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2013 / 01 

Patricia M. Dove selected as 2013 Virginia Scientist of the Year

January 18, 2013

Patricia Dove
Patricia Dove

Patricia M. Dove, C.P. Miles Professor of Geosciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been selected as a Virginia Outstanding Scientist for 2013.  

She was honored, along with Harold E. Burkhart, University Distinguished Professor and Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forestry the College of Natural Resources and Environment and the other 2013 Virginia Outstanding Scientist award winner, by the Office of the Governor at the Science Museum of Virginia during a ceremony Jan. 17 with Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Dove, who in 2012 was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is the director of the Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes research group.  By using chemical principles and nano-scale analytical methods, Dove has become an international leader in the field of biomineralization— the processes by which animals grow skeletons and other functional structures. Her work at the interface of earth and life is also providing insights into how changes in fossil skeletons over geologic time record changes in environmental conditions.

Dove and her students are also working on projects with significant consequences for society, such as investigating the consequences of rising carbon dioxide levels for the survival of photosynthetic organisms that create much of Earth’s oxygen.  They are also developing bio-inspired approaches to more sustainable industrial processes.

“The College of Science is extremely proud of Professor Dove and all of her achievements,” said College of Science Dean Lay Nam Chang. “As our only active member of the National Academy of Sciences, she has become one of the world’s foremost authorities on biomineralization. A world-class science program starts with world-class researchers like Patricia.”

Dove has received more than $6 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to support her research. Publications from her research group have been cited more than 3,700 times.

She received the Geochemical Society’s Clarke Medal in 1996, and twice has been the recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Best University Research Award.  She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemistry.

“This recognition from the State of Virginia is a great honor and I thank the many people who supported my nomination” said Dove, “but there are many exciting advances emerging from findings made by Virginia Tech faculty in all facets of science, engineering and now medicine.  Our contributions are only one part of that.”

Dove earned her Bachelor and Master degrees at Virginia Tech and her Ph.D. from Princeton University. After completing an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University, she was a faculty member at Georgia Tech for seven years before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 2000.