Skip to main content

Dennis R. Dean


"During my time at Purdue, the biological sciences community, in particular, the department of biological sciences and the department of biochemistry, were very close and highly cooperative. This translated into a high level of spirited social and scientific interaction among the graduate students, with an incredible array of intellectual firepower and equipment resources available to everyone."


Dennis Dean knew what interdisciplinary research was long before the concept swept over the university community during the 1990s. He called it collaboration as a doctoral student in molecular biology at Purdue in the late 1970s. And that approach to discovery and learning has been a part of his nearly three decades as a professor at Virginia Tech University. While at Purdue, he says, the biological sciences community was highly collaborative. "There was a true sense of community where most of all of the professors collectively took ownership and responsibility to mentor all the graduate students," says Dean, now the University Distinguished Professor and the Stroobants Professor of Biotechnology at Virginia Tech. The author of more than 160 research papers, Dean is a leading researcher in examining the chemical mechanism for biological nitrogen fixation and the biological formation of metal-sulfur cofactors. He also has been an adviser for 13 doctoral students and mentored 10 postdoctoral trainees and 46 undergraduate research trainees. "None of the scientific contributions I have been involved in would have been possible without the many outstanding collaborators I have worked with."


  • BS '73, Wabash College
  • PhD '79, Molecular Biology, Purdue University
Career Highlights:
  • 1979 Graduated from Purdue with PhD in Biological Sciences
  • 1980 National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Wisconsin
  • 2007 Named Stroobants Professor of Biotechnology at Virginia Tech
  • 2008 Founding director of Fralin Life Science Institute
  • 2010 Appointed Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tec

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

© 2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue ? Please contact the College of Science Webmaster.