Professor David Bevan, professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received the Graduate School’s 2017 Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award.

Sponsored by the Graduate School, the new annual award recognizes excellence in mentoring graduate students, who nominate professors for the honor. One professor from each college is eligible to receive the award.

Bevan’s research involves the application of computational molecular modeling to relate the structure and dynamics of molecular systems to function. Systems currently under investigation include the amyloid beta-peptide that is associated with Alzheimer's disease and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor that is associated with inflammation, diabetes, and obesity. The lab also participates in a project involving sphingosine kinases, which are associated with a variety of diseases including cancer, fibrosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. His lab also uses computational methods to design enzymes aimed at altering the substrate specificity of existing enzymes.

Students and supporting faculty said in their nomination letters that Bevan maintains a positive and inclusive scholarly environment for graduate students that contributes to their professional and personal development. He helps students develop their strengths, but also to face challenges with which they are less comfortable, but that enable them to grow into independent and productive scientists. Bevan enables his graduate students to develop their own mentoring skills by working with undergraduate research students. He has supported diversity and inclusion efforts at Virginia Tech, as well.

Bevan earned his bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University.

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