Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., has appointed Michael J. Friedlander, the vice president for health sciences at Virginia Tech and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, to its Research, Education, and Innovation Advisory Board for the 2020 fiscal year.

As a member of the board, Friedlander will support Children’s National's efforts to improve understanding of the prevention, treatment, and care of childhood diseases. 

Friedlander will also help focus the development of the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, which is set on a nearly 12-acre portion of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus in the nation’s capital, near the future site of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Children’s National is among the top pediatric hospitals in the country with a strong focus on research and discovery,” Friedlander said. “This is an exciting opportunity to share perspective and learn from an organization so clearly dedicated to leading innovation in pediatric health, while extending Virginia Tech’s involvement in the rich innovation ecosystem in the Washington, D.C., area. It is an honor to be able to collaborate with and contribute to the mission of yet another outstanding health system such as Children’s National as well as the ongoing close working relationship here in Roanoke with Carilion Clinic.”

In addition to reviewing strategy for the Children’s National Research and Innovation campus, Friedlander will also evaluate the sustainability of the health system’s research efforts in the context of the hospital setting, and provide feedback about its medical, nursing, and research education and workforce training programs. 

Children’s National is ranked seventh nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding among pediatric hospitals and is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation. Its neonatology division was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row.

Friedlander has had a collaborative relationship with Children’s National for more than 20 years through service on its external scientific advisory board and through research collaborations.

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 $114 million in ongoing research grants and contracts, primarily funded through the NIH.

He is the senior dean for research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and a neuroscientist. His research has been on brain development and the effects of experience on brain maturation and its ability to adapt to injury. In addition to his own research, Friedlander has previously served as the director of an NIH-funded intellectual disabilities research center and as the national chair of the network of intellectual disabilities research centers.  

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.

Prior to that, 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 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

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