Elizabeth A. Grabau

Professor Emerita of Plant Pathology, Phys, Weed Sci

Program Focus

The overall goal of my research is crop improvement in legumes, particularly soybeans and peanuts. My laboratory uses tissue culture and biotechnology approaches to improving nutrient (phosphorus) availability in soybeans and fungal disease resistance in peanuts.

Current Projects

Navigating the bioregulatory process for the approval of Blight Blocker peanuts engineered for resistance to Sclerotinia blight.


Ph.D., Biology, University of California, San Diego, 1981

B.S., Biology, Purdue University, 1974


  • October 2015 - present: Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • April 2006 – October 2015: Department Head, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • July 1990 – present: Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • March 1987 – June 1990: Research Associate, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • September 1982 – February 1987: Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Selected Major Awards

  • 2007 - Co‐recipient of the Bailey Award from the American Peanut Research and Education Society
  • 1994 - Henderson Award (Outstanding Faculty Member), Dept. of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Tech
  • 1980 Intra‐Science Foundation Graduate Research Award in Biomedical Science, University of California, San Diego
  • 1974 - Phi Beta Kappa

Courses Taught

  • ALS/PPWS 5344 – Molecular Biology for the Life Sciences
  • PPWS 6024 – Topics in Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology
  • APSC/PPWS 5044 – Biotechnology in Agriculture and Society
  • ALS/BIOL 2404 – Biotechnology in a Global Society
  • BIOL 4744 – Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • PPWS 5984 –  Challenges in Plant Resource Protection

Selected Publications

  • Park SY, Grabau E.A. 2016. Differential isoform expression and protein localization from alternatively spliced Apetala2 in peanut under drought stress. Journal of Plant Physiology. 30;206:98-102. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27723504
  • Partridge‐Telenko, D.E., Hu, J., Livingstone, D.M., Shew, B.B., Phipps, P.M. and Grabau, E.A. 2011. Sclerotinia blight resistance in Virginia‐type peanut transformed with a barley oxalate oxidase. Phytopathology 101: 786‐793.
  • Saghai Maroof, M.A., Glover, N., Biyashev, R., Buss, Gl, Grabau, E.A. 2009. Genetic basis of the low‐phytate trait in the soybean line CX1834. Crop Sci. 49: 69‐76.
  • Stiles, A.R., Qian, X., Shears, S.B., Grabau, E.A. 2008. Metabolic and signaling properties of an Itpk gene family in Glycine max. FEBS Lett. 582:1853‐1858.
  • Gao, Y., Shang, C., Saghai Maroof, M.A., Biyashev, R.M. Grabau, E.A., Kwanyuen, P., Burton.
  • J.W., Buss. G.R. 2007. A modified colorimetric method for phytic acid analysis in soybean. Crop Sci. 47: 1797‐1803.
  • Chamberlain, P.P., Qian, X. Stiles, A.R., Cho, J., Jones, D.H., Lesley, S.A., Grabau, E.A., Shears, S.B., Spraggon, G. 2007. Integration of inositol phosphate signaling pathways via human ITPK1. J. Biol. Chem. 282: 28117‐28125.
  • Chiera, J.M., Grabau, E.A. 2007. Localization of myo‐inositol phosphate synthase (GmMIPS‐1) during early stages of soybean seed development. J. Exp. Botany 58: 2261‐2268.
  • Lei, X., Blake, J.P., Forsberg, C.W., Fox, D.G., Grabau, E., Mroz, Z., Sutton, A.L., Walker, W.R., Webb, K. 2006. Biotechnological approaches to manure nutrient management, Animal agriculture’s future through biotechnology, part 4, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Issue Paper 33: 20 pages.
  • Livingstone, D.M. , Hampton, J.L. , Phipps, P.M. and Grabau, E.A. 2005. Enhancing resistancebto Sclerotinia minor in peanut by expressing a barley oxalate oxidase gene. Plant Physiol.b137: 1354‐1362.
  • Chiera, J.M. , Finer, J.J. and Grabau, E.A. 2004. Ectopic expression of a soybean phytase in developing seeds of Glycine max to improve phosphorus availability. Plant Mol. Biol. 56: 895‐904.
  • Grabau, E.A. 2002. Phytase expression in transgenic plants. In: Food Phytates, N.R. Reddy and S.K. Sathe, eds., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL., pp. 85‐105.
  • Hegeman, C.E. and Grabau, E.A. 2001. A novel phytase with sequence similarity to purple acid phosphatases is expressed in cotyledons of germinating soybean seedlings. Plant Physiol. 126: 1598‐1608.
  • Hegeman, C.E, Good, L.L. and Grabau, E.A. 2001. Expression of D‐myo‐inositol‐3‐phosphate synthase in soybean. Implications for phytic acid biosynthesis. Plant Physiol. 125: 1941‐1948.
  • Denbow, D.M., Grabau, E.A., Lacy, G.H., Umbeck, P. and Russell, D.R. 1998. Soybeans transformed with a fungal phytase gene improve phosphorus availability for broilers. Poultry Sci. 77: 878‐881.
  • Li, J., Hegeman, C.E., Hanlon, R.W., Lacy, G.H., Denbow, D.M., and Grabau, E.A. 1997. Secretion of active recombinant phytase from soybean cell suspension cultures. Plant Physiol. 114: 1103-1111.
Elizabeth Grabau
  • (540) 231-3197
  • egrabau@vt.edu
  • 101E Price Hall
    Mail code: 0331
    170 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061