Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute – Leadership

Michael Friedlander, Ph.D., is founding executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where he provides leadership to 26 premier research teams engaged in developing new strategies for preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health challenges.

As Virginia Tech’s Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology, Dr. Friedlander leads the development of the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences and the growth and integration of the Academic Health Center campus in Roanoke. Dr. Friedlander also serves as the Senior Dean for Research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), where he developed and leads the school’s research value domain to mentor students for their research projects and to train “scientist physicians,” a term he coined to describe a major goal of the VTCSOM—to educate practitioners of medicine who approach their patients and the health care system with a rigorous level of contemporary scientific understanding and inquiry. Dr. Friedlander is a professor of biological sciences, of biomedical engineering, and of psychiatry and behavioral medicine.

Before joining Virginia Tech in 2010, Dr. Friedlander served as the Wilhelmina Robertson Professor of Neuroscience, chair of the Department of Neuroscience, and director of neuroscience initiatives at Baylor College of Medicine at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Prior to Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Friedlander served for 25 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham 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 Civitan International Research Center for Intellectual Disabilities, and the first Evelyn McKnight Professor of Learning and Memory in Aging. In honor of his service, Friedlander received the university’s first annual Undergraduate Neuroscience Society Distinguished Scholar Award.

Dr. Friedlander is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Neuroscience, a Senior International Research Fellowship of the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, a Lucille Markey Foundation Center Award, a W.M. Keck Foundation Center Award, the American College of Physicians’ Menninger Award for Mental Health Research, the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumnus Award in Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and the 2015 Regional Leadership Award of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.

In 2012, Dr. Friedlander was selected as a Distinguished Service Member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. This honor recognized more than a dozen years of service to the association, including roles as chair of the Council of Academic Societies and participation in a range of committees and task forces, including the Executive Council and the Advisory Panel on Research. He is the past president of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, and he is the founding president of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs (AMSNDC).

Dr. Friedlander’s research programs have been supported by the National Institutes of Health for more than 35 years. His laboratory focuses on the cellular plasticity processes that underlie learning in the brain in health, during development, and after traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Friedlander has served as the associate editor for neuroscience of the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine, as an editorial board member of the Journal of Neuroscience, of Eye and Brain and of Frontiers in Neuroscience. Dr. Friedlander received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida State University and a doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Illinois. He did postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia and at State University of New York in Stony Brook.