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Tarleton State University
VP of Research, Innovation and Economic Development
1333 W Washington St,
Stephenville, TX 76401
Committee term end date: December 31, 2025
Dr. Rupa Iyer is the inaugural Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development and Professor of Biology at Tarleton State University. She is leading the planning, implementation, and oversight for a university -wide strategic initiative to expand research and innovation and promote partnerships to stimulate economic development. At Tarleton, she has led the creation of two new institutes, The Biotechnology Research and Innovation Institute and the Institute for Rural Research and Economic development, and the first EDA funded University Center in North Central Texas for rural entrepreneurship and innovation, all to support regional innovation ecosystems and drive economic development through research and innovation, especially in underserved communities.
Dr. Iyer is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Gulf Coast/Houston chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) gave Dr. Iyer its Outstanding Women in Science Award in recognition of her leadership, mentoring, and commitment to STEM education, research, and careers. Dr. Iyer was a Fulbright Specialist to Morocco where she was responsible for advising on implementing academic and research programs. She was Program Director at NSF between 2017-2019. Dr. Iyer currently serves on the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), Council on Research (COR) Executive Committee. Prior to joining Tarleton, she was the Founding Director of Biotechnology programs, Professor, and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Houston. Dr. Iyer is committed to broadening participation and access to enhance STEM skills for her students and professional growth for faculty. Her research is in soil microbiome exposure and adaptation to xenobiotic compounds, and its implications and applications in biotechnology. She integrated her disciplinary research and evidence-based approach to STEM education to develop research-based academic programs. The cost-effective approach is providing a global platform to solve problems in environmental contamination and enhance STEM education. Dr. Iyer received her Ph. D from Michigan State University and conducted her postdoctoral studies at the M.D Anderson Cancer Research Center, Houston, TX.