Leigh Anne Kelley has been named director of communications for the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.

In her new role, Kelley will help shape and direct an integrated communication strategy for the institute, whose world-class research teams are working to better understand human health and develop innovative approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease.

Kelley brings 20 years of professional media experience to the institute’s communications team as a writer, editor, designer, and content manager for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and digital media. She guided coverage of the commonwealth’s growing tech sector as managing editor of Virginia Business magazine and became a faculty member at Radford University in 2006.

Kelley moved to Blacksburg in 1994 and has lived in Roanoke since 2003.  

“She brings a wealth of experience and deep understanding of communication and higher education to the position,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and Virginia Tech vice president of Health Sciences and Technology. “As a longtime business journalist, she reported on early efforts to build a biotech infrastructure in western Virginia. She has deep ties and a broad professional network that will help reinforce the institute’s commitment to the community. We’re fortunate to have found someone with Leigh Anne’s ability and background to serve in this important role.”

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is a burgeoning enterprise and a destination for world-class researchers. The research institute formally opened an additional building on the Health Sciences and Technology Roanoke campus in 2021 to more than double its labs and facilities, and it has invested in brand new laboratories on the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C. The expansion supports the institute’s scientists, who are working to treat and prevent diseases that are causes of death and suffering in the United States, including brain disorders, heart disease, childhood diseases, and cancer.

Kelley will raise awareness of that work through strategic, cross-platform communication that draws on her experience. As the first regional content manager for Media General Interactive, she worked with TV and newspaper executives across the commonwealth to establish and extend their digital presence and launch new products. That experience combined with her interest in business led to a position as online business development manager for the Roanoke Times/roanoke.com.  

In August 2006, she joined the faculty at Radford University, where she shifted from practicing to teaching communication. She developed and taught courses in advertising, social media, information packaging, business communication, and journalism and demonstrated a spirit of service to students and to the professional community.  

Kelley remains active with the American Advertising Federation at both the local and district level and has a long history of service to the New River Valley and Roanoke communities. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in business and professional communication from Hollins University, and a graduate certificate in business analytics from Radford University, where she will complete an MBA in December.

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