The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) was founded in 2006 with the vision that every child in Virginia should begin kindergarten healthy, equipped with the resources they need, and ready to succeed.

Michael Friedlander, founding executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and vice president of health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech, was recently appointed to join the foundation’s Advisors Council. He joins 10 other council members and will serve a three-year term.

“This is a role and honor that I am enthusiastic to accept," said Friedlander. “There is no single resource that is more precious and important for our nation and state's future than the cognitive potential of our children. The opportunity to work together with such an organization as VECF and contribute to this goal is one I fully embrace.”

VCEF works with the state’s School Readiness Subcommittee, which was established in 2005 to focus on developing Virginia’s workforce for early childhood initiatives. It also publishes a biennial School Readiness Report Card to assess the effectiveness of the state’s school readiness services.

The foundation funds community initiatives, conducts research, and integrates evidence-based early childhood systems throughout the commonwealth.

Friedlander joined the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in 2010 as the institute’s inaugural executive director. In this capacity, he leads 26 biomedical research teams working to solve major health challenges. The institute’s faculty members hold more than $125 million in ongoing research grants and contracts, primarily funded through the National Institutes of Health.

Friedlander is the senior dean for research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and a neuroscientist who studies how synaptic plasticity during brain development and in response to brain injury.

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

Before moving to Houston, Friedlander worked for the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine for 25 years. During that time, Friedlander was a 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.

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