College of Agriculture and Life Sciences names David E. Gerrard head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences

David E. Gerrard

David E. Gerrard

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 20, 2009 – David E. Gerrard of West Lafayette, Ind., has been named head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

“Dr. Gerrard comes to us with excellent leadership and research experience that will enrich our teaching, research, and Extension programs in animal and poultry sciences. He also understands the importance of transferring research from the college to the public and of listening to the needs of our producers,” said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Dave has been involved in applied and basic research, which are critical to thriving research programs that support the producers in the state to ensure the future of the college’s and university’s land-grant mission.”

Before joining Virginia Tech, Gerrard was professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, where he chaired the graduate education program and mentored students and junior faculty. Also at Purdue University, he was honored with the distinction of University Faculty Scholar for his research program, which focuses on maximizing the production of high-quality meat and understanding how muscle grows. He has leveraged his abilities as a scientist to secure close to $5 million to support animal agriculture. Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and a number of industry partners have funded his program.

Gerrard, who started his position with the university earlier this month, commented on his vision for the department, “My vision for the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech is for it to be the best department in the country, which means a commitment to excellence at all program levels. An outstanding department must possess world-class faculty members who create knowledge; establish exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs; and disseminate relevant information. Animal and poultry sciences is well on its way to reaching such preeminence, and I am excited to be part of this journey with the department and college.”

Gerrard has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, co-authored two textbooks, and given more than 35 presentations to national and international audiences. Gerrard is a member of the American Society of Animal Sciences, the American Meat Science Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the scientific research society Sigma Xi.

Prior to Gerrard’s tenure at Purdue, he was a faculty member at the University of Missouri and a visiting scientist at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Theix, France. Gerrard dual-majored in animal science and agronomy for his undergraduate degree and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science, all from Purdue University.