Welcome Message from Executive Director Michael Friedlander
Welcome to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC!
When we opened the doors in September 2010, we immediately got to work assembling a dozen world-class research teams to address major health issues. We were focused on a single, ambitious mission: to advance the health of the region, the nation, and the world by making major scientific advances to understand human health and to develop new preventions, diagnostics, treatments, and cures for disorders that limit the quality and duration of life, as well as the realization of full human potential. We do this at the interface of innovative biomedical, behavioral, and computational research.
We have since assembled 26 research teams with more than 300 faculty and staff working together to solve these problems. We have attracted top scientific talent to Roanoke from leading institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine, Brandeis, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington University, Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, the University of North Carolina, the University of Utah, and the University of Washington.
The institute was formed through an innovative public-private partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic, which together provided initial startup support of $50 million. The Commonwealth of Virginia provided the $59 million to fund the state-of-the-art building that houses the research institute and medical school. In addition, the institute’s faculty research team leaders currently have more than $20 million in annual extramural research funding, primarily from the National Institutes of Health.
In November 2018, Virginia Tech received a transformative $50 million gift from Cynthia and Heywood Fralin and the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust to endow the research institute, which was renamed the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.
Institute scientists are carrying out leading-edge research on addiction, autism, breast and brain cancer, cerebral palsy, major depression, epilepsy, intellectual disability, immune system development, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, hypoxic-ischemic cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death, microcephaly, and Parkinson’s disease. The research is characterized by biological, behavioral, computational, and quantitative approaches, using modeling in conjunction with experimentation as a critical cornerstone.
The new VTCRI expansion research building will be adjacent to the VTCRI and will open in 2020. The institute will continue to expand to 30 research teams by 2020 and then grow to 55 to 60 teams by 2027 with the new space. As we grow, we will continue to expand on our strengths in neuroscience throughout the lifespan, cardiovascular health, cancer immunology, and regenerative medicine.
The institute is characterized by a highly interactive environment with multiple transdisciplinary projects and an openness of investigators, facilities, and reagents for the exploration of the scientific underpinnings of health and a range of diseases and disorders. Our institute represents a new model for biomedical and behavioral science in which creative scientists can approach major problems with breadth and depth in a nurturing and intellectually challenging environment.
Please contact me with any questions or if you are interested in joining us. We encourage the participation of students wanting to pursue graduate work in biomedical science, including through Virginia Tech’s Translational Biology, Medicine and Health (TBMH) program and through work with advanced undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows, and research faculty at all levels.
Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute