Malcolm Potts, of Blacksburg, Va., a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been appointed Lead Scholar and Distinguished Professor for the Biological Sciences at the University of Qatar in Doha, Qatar.

During his appointment, Potts will be responsible for developing curriculum, directing research, and faculty supervision for the College of Arts and Sciences.

The University of Qatar began a Distinguished Professors Project in 2004, which is aimed at attracting 20 scientists and scholars of international reputation from around the globe. Potts is the first distinguished professor to be appointed as a result of this effort.

Since 1985, Potts has been studying primitive organisms that are able to withstand extreme conditions. This research as enabled him and colleagues in the Virginia Tech Center for Genomics (VIGEN) to devise methods to dry human cells for long-term storage. The benefit of this research is to develop the ability to transport, store, and use these cells and other biomedical products in remote settings. This research has multiple applications, including combat-casualty care.

Potts received his doctorate from the University of Durham, England. He completed post-doctoral studies in the Department of Biogeochemistry at Oldenburg University in Germany then went on as the Royal Society-Israel Academy of Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellow at Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. He was awarded the D.Sc. from the University of Durham in 1995 based on his research.

Potts was named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1997 and received the Virginia Tech Alumni Award in Recognition of Excellence in Research in 2002. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Virginia Tech beginning in August.

Ranked 11th in agricultural research expenditures by the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

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