Mike Zhang named Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellow

Mike Zhang, professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr.  ’56 Faculty Fellowship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Elizabeth and James Turner created the Turner Fellowships in 2011 with a $1 million gift to recognize faculty excellence. James Turner is a 1956 agricultural engineering alumnus who is the retired president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics. He is also a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, and in 2004 received Virginia Tech¹s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Recipients hold the title of Turner Fellows for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2001, Zhang’s research program focuses on development of safe and effective vaccines or therapeutics to combat existing and emerging human and livestock diseases with particular expertise is the development of delivery mechanisms for vaccines and therapeutics that improve their effectiveness.

His research has attracted significant funding from federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture, and from industry.

Zhang is active in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, having completed the officer progression for the Biological Engineering Division of ASABE. He reviews proposals, serving on panels for several federal agencies. He reviews manuscripts for a variety of high quality journals has served on the editorial boards of two journals.

In the classroom, Zhang is regarded as an excellent teacher, contributing significantly at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through teaching courses, leading continuous improvement efforts, and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students. Through his leadership as graduate program director, he has contributed significantly to increasing the quality and number of graduate students in the biological systems engineering program.

Zhang received his bachelor’s degree from University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China, and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

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