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Janet Rankin

Professor Emerita
  • Associate Department Head


In the fall of 1982, Janet Rankin started her career as an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in the College of Education.

Her research focused on nutritional strategies for athletes and obesity treatments. Most of the graduates developed careers in physical education, cardiac rehabilitation, medicine, and health education. Following a state funding cut in the mid-1990s, HPER exercise science faculty merged with HNF, which brought synergy in teaching and research and created a unique department focused on key lifestyle factors influencing human health. Students understood this and flocked to the department, dramatically expanding majors and class enrollment. HNFE became one of the top majors and primary career trajectories for physical therapy, physician assistant, dietetics, and similar clinical fields.

“My involvement with both the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine and the national American College of Sports Medicine were critical to my career evolution. As president of ACSM, my initiative ActivEarth focused on walking and cycling as a means to increase physical activity and improve the environment. Near the end of my career, my research evolved to examine the barriers and motivations for active transportation in Blacksburg. Reflecting back, I saw a good bit of change in university organization and focus. Virginia Tech grew into a top research institution, and HNFE blossomed into one of the highest enrollments and best research departments at the university."

Rankin's retirement goals are to stay active, healthy, and continue having adventures!

"I now teach with Blacksburg’s Life Long Learning Institute, and I’m thrilled to have more time to spend with my family and friends.  I have been lucky to have an ideal career in a place I love. My Virginia Tech family will always enrich my life, so please keep in touch:"

Behavioral and Community Science

Active transportation (bike and walk) as means to more physical activity, health, improved environment, and economy

Barriers to and strategies to increase choice of active transportation

Docosahexaenoic acid affects markeres of inflammation and muscle damage after eccentric exercise. DiLorenzo FM, Drager CJ, Rankin JW. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jul 15.

Evidence-based evaluation of potential benefits and safety of beta-alanine supplementation for military personnel. Ko R, Low Dog T, Gorecki DK, Cantilena LR, Costello RB, Evans WJ, Hardy ML, Jordan SA, Maughan RJ, Rankin JW, Smith-Ryan AE, Valerio LG Jr, Jones D, Deuster P, Giancaspro GI, Sarma ND. Nutr Rev. 2014 Feb 22.  

The influence of wheelchair propulsion technique on upper extremity muscle demand: a simulation study. Rankin JW, Kwarciak AM, Richter WM, Neptune RR. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Nov;27(9):879-86. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2012.07.002.  

The human foot and heel-sole-toe walking strategy: a mechanism enabling an inverted pendular gait with low isometric muscle force? Usherwood JR, Channon AJ, Myatt JP, Rankin JW, Hubel TY. J R Soc Interface. 2012 Oct 7;9(75):2396-402.

Musculotendon lengths and moment arms for a three-dimensional upper-extremity model. Rankin JW, Neptune RR. J Biomech. 2012 Jun 1;45(9):1739-44.  

Effect of capsaicin supplementation on repeated sprinting performance. Opheim MN, Rankin JW. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Feb;26(2):319-26.  

Effects of acute ingestion of different fats on oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight and obese adults. Peairs AD, Rankin JW, Lee YW. Nutr J. 2011 Nov 7;10:122.  

Effect of quercetin supplementation on repeated-sprint performance, xanthine oxidase activity, and inflammation. Abbey EL, Rankin JW. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2011 Apr;21(2):91-6.

Individual muscle contributions to push and recovery subtasks during wheelchair propulsion. Rankin JW, Richter WM, Neptune RR. J Biomech. 2011 Apr 29;44(7):1246-52.  

Virginia Tech:
2009 – 2013: Associate Dean, Virginia Tech Graduate School

Professional Offices

American College of Sports Medicine
2011-2013: President-elect, President, Past President                
2000-2002: Vice President
1996-1999: Member, Board of Trustees

Southeast American College of Sports Medicine
1994-1996: President-elect, President, Past President                
1986-1988: Executive Board

2011-present: Expert Panel member for US Pharmacopeia on Beta- Alanine efficacy & safety

2005-2010: Associated Editor, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

2008: Member, special emphasis panel, National Institutes of Health, Fellowships, Physiology and Pathobiology of Organ Systems

2007-08: Panel member, Institute of Medicine, Use of Dietary Supplements by Military Personnel

1982, Ph.D., Nutrition and Exercise Physiology (minor), UC-Davis

1977, B.S., Zoology, Duke University