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Program Leadership

Ed Smith

IMSD Program Director

Ed Smith is a Professor in the department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and the IMSD Program Director. He is an early pioneer of NIH research training grants at Virginia Tech and through his efforts, VT is currently one of the leading land-grant institutions to receive NIH funding for training graduate students. NIH training programs have brought almost 140 students to VT.  On average, training grants currently bring in $800,000 annually.

Zachary Mackey

IMSD Program Co-director

Program Co-Director, Zachary Mackey, assistant professor of biochemistry, brings significant experience in training students from underrepresented groups. He began training VT-PREP and VT-IMSD students when he joined the VT biochemistry faculty in 2011.  For many students, Mackey is the first African-American science instructor they have ever had. A first generation college student, Mackey shares the academic experience of many  VT-IMSD scholars. He regularly participates in VT-PREP and VT-IMSD programs and workshops.


Luke Achenie

PREP Program Co-director

Program Co-Director, Luke Achenie is a Chemical Engineering professor who also brings significant experience in training to students from  various ethnic backgrounds. Dr Achenie has directed several graduate programs, including Engineering Computing Services at the University of Connecticut. He has also held several professorial positions at the University of Connecticut and at Kasetsart University in Thailand. Dr. Achenie uses his rich leadership background to mentor students in the IMSD program. He also regularly participates in the VT-IMSD and PREP workshops.