The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine announced the appointment of Michael J. Friedlander to the position of senior dean for research. Friedlander is the founding executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. Additionally he is a professor of biological sciences and is a core faculty member in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Science at Virginia Tech.

“I am honored to take on this role with the school of medicine and to continue my work as a proponent for innovation in medical education," said Friedlander. "I am impressed with the caliber of medical students at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and I envision outstanding opportunities to explore the possibilities to deliver paradigm-shifting medical education, particularly through engagement of the medical students in the process of discovery. The ultimate goal is to contribute to a transformation of health care for patients by graduating students with the knowledge and well honed skills for being effective practitioners as well as sophisticated consumers and advocates of medical and scientific information on behalf of their patients.”

Dr. Cynda Ann Johnson, founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, stated, “I look forward to continuing to work with Mike and to have his expertise and leadership for the benefit of the medical school. He is not just a well-known visionary in his field; he has an unsurpassed level of energy and is exceptionally adept at starting-up and implementing major projects. Together, we will continue the original vision of developing and building a premier medical education and research enterprise for the 21st century.”

In his role as the senior dean for research, Friedlander will oversee the research section of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine curriculum. The school’s innovative curriculum is divided into four sections that the school calls value domains. Including research, the school’s other value domains are basic sciences, clinical sciences and skills, and interprofessionalism. These major pedagogical areas are integrated throughout the four-years of study which leads to the doctorate of medicine degree (M.D.). The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s program places an emphasis on research to equip future physicians with the ability to assimilate scientific information and practice evidence-based medicine. 

Friedlander joined the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in June of 2010 following five years as the Wilhelmina Robertson Professor of Neuroscience, the chair of the Department of Neuroscience and the director of Neuroscience Initiatives at Baylor College of Medicine at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He serves as the principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Department of Defense on the cellular processes that underlie learning in the brain in health, during development and after traumatic brain injury. Friedlander is the founding president of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs. He has served as chair of the Council of Academic Societies of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) representing over 100 scientific and medical associations, on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-AAMC joint task force on the Scientific Foundations of Future Physicians and he currently serves on the AAMC National Research Advisory Panel and on the Medical College Admission Test Comprehensive Review Panel. Friedlander is the president-elect of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine and serves as the associate editor for neuroscience of the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroscience and Eye and Brain.

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