Virginia Tech® home

Glenda Gillaspy

Department Head
  • Professor


Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California-Berkeley, 1991-1996 

Ph.D., Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, 1991 

B. S., Biology, Auburn University, 1985 


  • 2012 - present: Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech
  • 2005 - 2012: Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech.
  • 1998 - 2005: Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech.
  • 1996 - 1998: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Bucknell University.

Courses Taught

BCHM 4116: General Biochemistry

BCHM 1014: Introduction to Biochemistry

GRAD 5984: Professional Development in the Life Sciences

Other Teaching and Advising

I advise one-third of our fourth-year Biochemistry majors class. I taught BCHM 1014, Introduction to Biochemistry, to first-year students, and was awarded support for this course by the First Year Experience program. For this course, I started a peer mentoring program with undergraduates. At the graduate level, I helped develop GRAD 5984, Graduate Professional Development in the Life Sciences.

Program Focus

The focus of my research is on the molecular pathways that plants use to respond to the environment, an area important for developing strategies to increase crop yield in stressful or nutrient-poor soil conditions. My lab works as part of an NSF-funded collaborative project on new inositol signaling molecules called PPx-InsPs. Along with my collaborators at North Carolina State University and the USDA, we are examining PPx-InsPs as critical players in metabolism and stress. This work also has implications for understanding basic mechanisms to control phosphate pollution in watersheds, an important problem in Virginia.

A second research project is a collaboration with Dr. Ryan Senger (BSE). This project’s goals are to develop a genome-scale model for Arabidopsis which can predict genes that can be used to increase cellulose content of plants. In a synergistic project, we are examining genes involved in energy signaling in plants. Along with Dr. Brian Phillipy of North Carolina State University we are translating our work on energy-signaling and senescence to cotton, an economically important crop plant. Group presented five posters at local, regional and international meetings this year.

My lab has significant science outreach efforts with continuing participation in the Partnership for Research and Education using Plants (PREP), Kid’s Tech University (KTU), and a plant stress exercise for local fourth-graders. I along with my graduate students, visit high school classrooms in Roanoke and Fairfax county. A new outreach project with Blacksburg High School will help build connections between scientists, teachers and high school teachers and classrooms.

Golani Y, Kaye Y, Hassidim M, Ercetin M, Gillaspy G and Levine A. (2013) Inositol Polyphosphate Phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphatase9 (At5PTase9) controls plant salt tolerance by regulating endocytosis. Mol Plant. In press.

Gillaspy G. (2013). The Role of Phosphoinositides and Inositol Phosphates in Plant Cell Signaling. Capelluto D (editor), In Lipid-Mediated Protein Signaling, Springer Science & Business Media, LLC. in press.

Donahue J, Ercetin M, Gillaspy G. Assaying Inositol and Phosphoinositide Phosphatase Enzymes. Heilmann I and Munnik T (eds.),  Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1009:175-85.

Torrens-Spence MP, Liu P, Ding H, Harich K, Gillaspy G, Li J. (2013) Biochemical evaluation of the decarboxylation and decarboxylation-deamination activities of plant aromatic amino acid decarboxylases. J Biol Chem.288(4):2376-87.

Alford, S, Rangarajan, P, Williams, S, and Gillaspy, G. (2012) Myo-inositol oxygenase is required for responses to low energy conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana, Frontiers in Plant Physiology Front Plant Sci. 2012;3:69.

Gillaspy, GE. (2012) The cellular language of myo-inositol signaling, New Phytol 192, 823-839.

Torrens-Spence, M.P., Gillaspy, G., Zhao, B., Harich, K., White, R.H. and Li, J. (2012) Biochemical evaluation of a parsley tyrosine decarboxylase results in a novel 4-hydroxyphenylacetaldehyde synthase enzyme, Biochemical and biophysical research communications 418, 211-216.

Kaye Y, Golani Y, Singer Y, Leshem Y, Cohen G, Ercetin M, Gillaspy G, Levine A. (2011) Inositol Polyphosphate 5-phosphatase7 regulates production of reactive oxygen species and salt tolerance in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology  157:229241.

Donahue, JL, Alford, SR, Torabinejad, J, Kerwin, R, Nourbakhsh, A, Ray, WK, Hernick, M, Huang, X, Lyons, B, Hein PP, and Gillaspy, GE. (2010) The Arabidopsis thaliana Myo-Inositol 1-Phosphate Synthase1 Gene Is Required for Maintenance of Myo-inositol Synthesis and Suppression of Cell Death. The Plant Cell 22: 888-903.

Gillaspy, GE (2010) The Polyphosphoinositide Phosphatases in “Lipid Signaling in Plants”. Springer; ed: T. Munnik.

Torabinejad J, Donahue J, Gunesekera BN, Allen-Daniels M and Gillaspy GE  (2009) VTC4 is a bifunctional enzyme that impacts ascorbic acid biosynthesis in plants. Plant Physiology 150:951-961.

Fleet, CM, Ercetin, ME, and Gillaspy, GE (2009) Inositol phosphate signaling and gibberellic acid. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4:73-74.

Ananieva, EA, Gillaspy, GE (2009) Switches in nutrient and inositol signaling. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4: 304-306.

Ananieva EA, Gillaspy GE, Ely A, Burnette RN, and Erickson FL (2008) Interaction of the WD40 Domain of a Myo-inositol Polyphosphate 5-Phosphatase with SnRK1 Links Inositol, Sugar, and Stress Signaling. Plant Physiology 148:1868-82.

Ercetin, ME, Ananieva, EA, Safaee, NM, Robinson, JY, and Gillaspy, GE (2008) Phosphoinositide-Specific Myo-Inositol Polyphosphate 5-Phosphatase Required for Seedling Growth. Plant Molecular Biology 67:375-388.

2012 - Panel member, NSF Integrative Biology

2011 - Editor, Frontiers in Plant Physiology

2011 - Consultant on Mid-Scale Research, National Science Board (National Science Foundation governing body)

2010 - Chair, US Department of Agriculture NC-1168 Photosynthesis Research Group (a regional research group)

2009, 2011 - Panel member, NSF Signal Transduction Panel

2008 - Director, Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program, Virginia Tech