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Welcome to the VTC School of Medicine and Research Institute

Message from Cynda Johnson

    Cynda Johnson, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Welcome to our school, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

How do you “start” a medical school? In the case of Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC), we began with a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership. Two institutions at the top of their class — Virginia Tech, home of world-class researchers, and Carilion Clinic, home of world-class physicians — came together to launch VTC as a private medical school and public research institute.

We then recruited a hard-working, experienced, visionary and entrepreneurial leadership team to guide the process. The building blocks of the school — the institutional setting, curriculum, faculty and student affairs, and educational resources — were created in a way that I believe can only happen when the slate is clean. Teachers, physicians, researchers and administrators brought their expertise and ideas to the table without a stake in any existing curricular element, system or policy. Ideas were shared risk-free. Time and time again, at the end of yet another late-evening group planning session, what emerged was a product superior to what any individual had imagined at the start of the meeting. It was the best of teamwork in action and exemplified the type of culture that we aimed to create.

Podcast: Cynda Johnson, founding dean and president of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Length: 06:32

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You will find the results of our work throughout our website: a mission to graduate physician thought leaders, a patient-centered curriculum carried out using a case-based methodology in small group settings with reduced lecture time, LACE—a longitudinal ambulatory care experience, and an emphasis on research and interprofessionalism woven throughout the four-year curriculum in a manner unique to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Our educational home will be a new purpose built facility. We invite you to watch our progress. And we encourage you to talk to us, through any of the many portals available, so that we can develop a dialogue – true to the spirit that is VTC!

Cynda Johnson
Dean, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Message from Michael J. Friedlander

    Michael Friedlander

Exciting things are happening at Virginia Tech and in the Roanoke Valley. Virginia Tech and the Carilion Clinic have joined in a partnership that will result in new and innovative programs in biomedical research and medical education. The compelling feature of this partnership is that it intentionally seeks to combine opportunities in medical education, basic research, and clinical application with a collaborative and interdisciplinary perspective.

The vision of our partnership is now being realized by construction of a 153,000 square foot facility that will house the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (VTC). The facility, scheduled to open by September 2010, is the centerpiece of an emerging biomedical complex that includes an existing Virginia Tech research center, a new clinical facility, and the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Podcast: Michael Friedlander, founding executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Length: 08:37

Research conducted within the research institute will focus on translational research and the facilities are purposefully designed to maximize research efficiency; encourage collaboration among researchers, clinicians, and visiting scientists; and provide a comfortable, productive, and safe working environment. We consider this to be the best approach towards solving complex problems in contemporary medicine, and we are excited about getting started.

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute will begin operations fall 2010. We will seek to align our work with areas of active research at Virginia Tech, including:

  • neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, and decision-science,
  • cancer biology and therapeutics,
  • cardiovascular science,
  • computational biology,
  • developmental and regenerative medicine, and
  • infectious disease.

And we will also open the doors with three to six teams in neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, and decision science already at work, to be followed over the first two years by programs in cardiovascular biology and cancer biology. The cardiovascular focus will be developmental biology of cardiovascular disorders, environmental effects, lifestyle and nutritional effects, and cardiovascular disease genetics. The cancer focus will encompass several areas of cancer research, including the genotyping of tumors, going after specific diagnoses of genetically different types of tumors, and developing strategies for biomarkers for diagnosis and developing individualized therapeutics utilizing nanoscience-based chemical engineering for the delivery of personalized molecular therapies.

The institute will recruit 25 to 30 research teams over the next five to seven years. Each team will have support staff focused on applying molecular genetics, informatics, physiology, and computational modeling to the study of biological function in human health and disease throughout the lifespan, as well as on developing new approaches to and principles for diagnostics and therapeutics. We have the opportunity to collaborate with clinical practitioners and care providers, and with clinical investigators who are interested in using genomic, molecular, computational, and cognitive approaches to address fundamental mechanisms of human health and major disorders that limit lifespan and quality of life of children and adults.

Lab resources will include state-of-the-art electrophysiological instrumentation, a viral transfection facility, cell culture facilities, molecular biology core facilities, and a high-capacity, high-speed data center for the analysis, storage, and transfer of large sets of genomic, imaging, and computational information. The institute will also carry out cellular and sub-cellular laser-based optical imaging studies, laser-based microscopic cell capture, and functional magnetic resonance imaging in laboratory animals and humans.

Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute