Ruth Grene, professor of plant science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emerita title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1988, Grene made significant contributions to plant biology, providing an increased understanding of the effects of drought and air pollution on crops, trees, and model plants. She often served as a reviewer for national and international journals and funding agencies and served on grant panels for the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Also active in the American Society of Plant Biologists, Grene served on its editorial board, on its committee for the status of women in plant biology, and as associate editor of the Abiotic Stress section of the journal, Frontiers in Plant Science.

At Virginia Tech, Grene helped establish two graduate academic programs, molecular cell biology and biotechnology and genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. She co-led a long-term, highly productive, and well-funded collaboration with Computer Science Professor Lenwood Heath to educate and train students in an interdisciplinary environment and to enhance bioinformatics tools for plant biologists.

In the classroom, Grene taught graduate courses in plant stress physiology and advanced plant physiology. She designed and taught both an undergraduate writing intensive course for biology majors and a graduate course consisting of an intensive introduction to contemporary biology and genomics for graduate students in the computational sciences entering the field of bioinformatics.

Deeply committed to inclusion and diversity, Grene worked with the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program, and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity to increase the retention and success of first generation and underrepresented undergraduates in the life sciences. She also served as chair of the Commission for Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Grene received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, a master’s degree from Washington University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis.

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