John Pastor, director of research communications at Virginia Tech and formerly a media relations director and science writer with the University of Florida, joined the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute recently as its director of communications.

Pastor will work with Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute faculty members and provide strategic direction for a communications program that will enhance the public’s understanding of the institute’s scientific and medical discoveries, its contributions to bridging the biomedical and health sciences with technology, and its contributions to economic development in the state.

He will report to Michael Friedlander, the executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech, and Tracy Vosburgh, the senior associate vice president for university relations.

He will work closely with communications manager Ashley WennersHerron, a science writer who prior to joining the research institute helped tell the story of the search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, and communications and development assistant Logan Quesenbery. Photographer David Hungate and web developer Andrew Lindberg round out the communications team. 

“We are very fortunate to have John join us and take the leadership role for communications at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute,” Friedlander said.  “Going forward, we have a great team to work with the VTCRI scientists; colleagues in all the Virginia Tech colleges, including the School of Medicine; other Virginia Tech institutes; and Carilion Clinic for a collaborative strategic approach to communications.”

Pastor formerly was the director of communications for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, where he worked with faculty and communications professionals at Virginia Tech’s seven major research institutes and eight colleges.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, Pastor directed news and publications for UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center — now known as UF Health.

He joined the University of Florida in 2002 as the inaugural communications director of its Genetics Institute and the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in English with concentrations in journalism and psychology from Duquesne University.

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