Entomologist Arash Rashed has been named the new director of Virginia Tech’s Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center, effective July 1.

Rashed comes to the university from the University of Idaho, where he most recently served as an associate professor and the Idaho State integrated pest management coordinator in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology.

“We are very pleased to announce Dr. Arash Rashed as the new director of the Southern Piedmont Agricultural and Research Center,” said Saied Mostaghimi, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. “Dr. Rashed has more than two decades of teaching, Extension, and research experience, and we look forward to the leadership and wealth of knowledge he will bring to the center.”

The Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center is in Blackstone, Virginia. The center is dedicated to research and Extension programs for sustainable production of tobacco, forage crops, beef cattle, small fruits, and grains.    

Rashed’s research is focused on vector-borne plant diseases and insect-plant interactions. His findings have been published in 60 scientific journal articles and several book chapters and proceeding books. He is currently the subject editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology and an associate editor for Frontiers of Insect Science. Since 2013, he has been involved in grants and contracts totaling more than $7.3 million, with more than $2 million in spending authority.

Rashed earned his bachelor’s degree in plant pathology from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and his master’s degree in entomology from Tarbiat Modares University of Tehran. He earned his doctorate in biology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He continued his research as a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Cincinnati, University of California-Berkely, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Rashed said he is excited to join the faculty of Virginia Tech and at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Center, which currently has five resident faculty, 14 full-time staff, and additional hourly workers at various times of the year.

He draws inspiration and motivation for his new appointment at Virginia Tech from a quote by Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

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