Timothy Jarome, associate professor in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been selected to receive a 2024 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

The Outstanding Faculty Awards are the commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. The awards recognize 12 individuals for superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service. Jarome is one of two “rising star” faculty being honored for early career achievements. 

Jarome, a neuroscientist in the School of Animal Sciences, joined Virginia Tech in 2018. Over the past six years, he has established an internationally recognized research program that has attracted more than $6 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. His research has shed new light on molecular mechanisms in the brain that control fear-based memory formation, including a brain protein that makes women almost three times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTSD) disorder than men. His work to uncover the underlying causes of age-related memory loss holds significant implications for the treatment of neurogenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and PTSD.

“Dr. Jarome’s groundbreaking investigations into the neural mechanisms of memory and learning have advanced our understanding of cognitive processes and placed Virginia Tech at the forefront of this vital area of inquiry,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Current and former students have excelled under his leadership and have significant records of accomplishment. As a rising star, Dr. Jarome exemplifies the highest standards of teaching, scholarship, and service.”

A first-generation college graduate, Jarome is committed to providing life-changing research opportunities and mentoring support to students who work alongside him in his lab. Along with a half-dozen graduate students, he has mentored more than 30 undergraduate students from diverse majors and backgrounds and enlisted them as co-authors on published research in prominent scientific journals. Many have moved on to prestigious medical school and Ph.D. programs as well as careers in the biomedical industry. 

Tim Jarome stands next to four smiling student researchers, all wearing white lab coats, in his Virginia Tech lab.
Tim Jarome (at far left) with student researchers in his la (from left) Shannon Kincaid, Morgan Patrick, Jennifer Abraham, and Jean Setenet. Photo courtesy of Anne Jarome.

“The only reason that I am in my position today is because of the opportunity I was given to do research as an undergraduate student,” Jarome said. “For this reason, it’s very important to me to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to get directly involved in research to see if it is right for them and, if it is, help them get the experience that will propel them to the next stage of their career.”

Jarome earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kent State University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a postdoctoral fellow in neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

At the 2024 Outstanding Faculty Award ceremony in March, Jarome will be honored with University Distinguished Professor Daniel Crawford of the College of Science, whose research focuses on the development of quantum mechanical models of molecular properties, and Kathleen Alexander, the William E. Lavery Professor in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and an expert in disease emergence at the nexus of human, wildlife, and environmental interactions. Recipients receive a $7,500 cash award underwritten by the Dominion Foundation and a commemorative plaque.

“This award is a testament to all the achievements made by the amazing group of students that I have had the pleasure of mentoring, teaching, and working with over the last six years,” Jarome said. “To me, this award is a recognition and validation of all the effort that I have tried to commit to the teaching, research, and service missions of the university and all of the amazing work that has been done by the students and staff that have come through my lab over the last six years."

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