Leadership for the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D. is the founding executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, VA, Professor of Biological Sciences and a core faculty member in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences at Virginia Tech. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense on the cellular processes that underlie learning in the brain in health, during development and after traumatic brain injury. His research has been continuously supported by NIH for 30 years. Friedlander joined VT and the VTCRI in June, 2010 following 5 years as the Wilhelmina Robertson Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of Neuroscience Initiatives at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, he served for 25 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine where he was Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurobiology, Founding Director of the Neurobiology Research Center, Director of the Mental Retardation Research Center, Director of the Civitan International Research Center for Intellectual Disabilities and the first Evelyn McKnight Professor of Learning and Memory in Aging.

Friedlander received his B.S. from Florida State University in Biology and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Physiology and Biophysics under the mentorship of National Academy of Science’s member, Professor C. Ladd Prosser. He did postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia and at SUNY Stony Brook. Friedlander is the founding president of the Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs Association (AMSNDC). He has served on the Administrative Board and as Chair of the Council of Academic Societies (CAS) of the Association of American medical Colleges (AAMC), representing over 100 of the nation’s biomedical and clinical disciplines in academic medicine, on the AAMC Executive Board and currently serves on the National Research Advisory Panel of the AAMC. He also serves or has served on the scientific advisory boards of the Civitan International Research Center, the Mission Connect Foundation for Research in Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury, the Children’s National Medical Center for Intellectual Disabilities, the Waisman Mental Retardation Research Center, on the Michael E. DeBakey Veteran’s Administration Medical Center Clinical Neurosciences Steering Committee as well as the Chair of the National Association of Mental Retardation Research Centers.

Friedlander is a recipient of the Calkins Memorial Scholarship at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Neuroscience, an NIH Fogarty Center Senior International Research fellowship, a Lucille P. Markey Foundation Center Award, a W.M. Keck Foundation Center Award, the American College of Physicians’ William Menninger Award for Mental Health Research and the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumnus Award in Molecular and Integrative Physiology. He has held visiting Professorships at Oxford University, the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University and the University of Paris. In addition, Dr. Friedlander has served on various NIH and NSF panels, including as Chair of the NIMH Conte Mental Health Research Centers panel and as a regular member of the NSF Developmental Neuroscience Advisory Panel. He serves as the Associate Editor for the Neuroscience section of the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine as well as on the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroscience and the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. Friedlander’s research findings have been published in leading scientific journals including Science, Nature, Neuron, The Journal of Neuroscience, PNAS and The Journal of Physiology.

Friedlander is also actively involved with graduate and medical education at the local and national levels. He has taught medical students for 30 years including designing and implementing curricula, serving as a course director, has served on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) – AAMC Task Force on the scientific foundations of future physicians, has served on the AAMC task force on conflicts of interest in medical education and currently serves on the Comprehensive Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) review team and as the Director of the US-Norway Cooperative Medical Neuroscience Training/Research Program. He has served as Principal Investigator for an NIH training grant in Neuroscience at BCM and as the founder of a PhD program in Neurobiology at UAB. He has served as mentor to 9 PhD and MD/PhD students, 6 medical students and 7 undergraduate students, including several who have been awarded Marshall and Rhodes scholarships, as well as training over 30 postdoctoral fellows.