From the Research Institute's Founding Executive Director and Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology, Michael Friedlander
Welcome to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC!
The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC supports justice and dignity for all people. Please read our Principles of Human Dignity and Non-Discrimination for more information.
The institute was formed through an innovative public-private partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic, each of which provided initial startup support. The Commonwealth of Virginia funded the original state-of-the-art building that houses the research institute and medical school.
When we opened the doors in September 2010, we immediately got to work assembling world-class research teams to address major health issues with leading edge science and technology. We 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.
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 as the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.
The institute currently has nearly 40 research teams with more than 450 faculty, staff, and students working together to solve major health challenges, and attracting top scientific talent to Roanoke from leading institutions. Faculty team leaders have joined the institute from Baylor College of Medicine, Brandeis, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington University, Harvard, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, MIT, the Medical University of South Carolina, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Mental Health, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Arkansas Health Sciences, the University of California San Diego, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Minnesota, the University of North Carolina, New York University, the University of Utah, the University of Vermont, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale.
The published works of these faculty research team leaders have been cited over 250,000 times with some faculty listed in the top 0.1% of most cited faculty worldwide. The institute currently has active grants and contracts totalling more than $170 million, primarily from the National Institutes of Health. Moreover graduate students from the nationally recognized Translational Biology, Medicine and Health (TBMH) program and from other Virginia Tech graduate programs who carry out their research in collaboration with mentors at the institute have been very successful at winning a large number of highly competitive individual NIH predoctoral fellowships.
Institute scientists are carrying out leading-edge research on addiction, autism, breast brain and colon cancer and melanoma, cerebral palsy, early child development and education, decision-making, major depression, epilepsy, intellectual disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, hypoxic-ischemic cardiovascular disease, neurorehabilitation from stroke, seizure disorders, 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 critical cornerstones.
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. The 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.
The newest Fralin Biomedical Research Institute research building opened in 2021, adjacent to the original research institute, bringing the institute's space to more than 260,000 square feet. The institute is continuing to expand to 60 teams by 2027 with the addition of the new space. In addition, through an exciting partnership with the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., on its new Research and Innovation Campus, the institute has launched a major new pediatric cancer research program with an initial focus on childhood brain cancers. As we grow, we will continue to expand on our strengths in cancer, cardiovascular science, children's health and neuroscience.
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