Tom Inzana named interim associate vice president for research

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 30, 2006 – Tom Inzana of Blacksburg, the Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Professor of Bacteriology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, has joined the administrative team in the Office of the Vice President for Research at Virginia Tech as interim associate vice president for research.

Inzana, who is director of clinical microbiology for the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Teaching Hospital, has been at Virginia Tech since 1987, was director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease in the college for almost five years, and has been an endowed professor since 2003. His new position, which began Oct. 23, will be a 50 percent commitment.

The Office of the Vice President for Research is filling two leadership positions on an interim basis. The combined positions are responsible for research development, interdisciplinary programs, and research administration and support and are involved in planning and policy. The term of each position is anticipated to be one to two years, or until a permanent full-time appointment is made. The time commitment is anticipated to be 50 to 75 percent or more.

“These are important positions on the team that supports the faculty as it furthers the university's discovery and scholarly missions,” said Vice President for Research Brad Fenwick. “I am confident Tom’s background and abilities in the life sciences put him in an excellent position to make meaningful contributions on a number of fronts, such as with the university’s strategic discovery domain of health, food, and nutrition, as well as with the focus on biomedicine and infectious disease. “His experiences will also be valuable to this office’s emphasis on helping faculty locate appropriate funding and manage projects.”

Inzana earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia, his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was a post doctoral fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine. He was an assistant professor at Washington State University before joining Virginia Tech’s faculty.

His ongoing research support as a principle investigator includes the U.S. Department of Defense for development of a vaccine against and biosensors for rapid detection of Francisella tularensis, the causal agent of tularemia in humans and a potential bio-weapon. He also has National Institutes of Health (NIH) support to develop multi-valent F. tularensis/anthrax or plague protein conjugate vaccines. And he is working on sequencing the genome of the Bovine Pathogen Haemophilus somnus, with the support of the National Science Foundation and the USDA/CSREES, and on a USDA/CREES-funded study of Haemophilus somnus virulence and colonization.

Inzana has 78 peer-reviewed publications and two patents for vaccines against swine pleuropneumonia, one in commercial use.

His recent honors and service include being elected a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology, receiving the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, and serving as a panel member for NSF/USDA Microbial Genome Research Grants, the NIH study section on proposals for Sexually Transmitted Infections and Topical Microbicide Cooperative Research Centers, on the NIH Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases study section on proposals for Regional Centers of Excellence, and the NIH Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases study section on proposals for “Disabling Innate Immune Evasion: New Attenuated Vaccines.”

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.