ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke Valley continues to be a leader in medical research and education as Virginia Tech and Carilion officially opened the $90-million, 139,000-square-foot Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion.
“With Virginia Tech we’ve been able to do together what neither one of us could do alone: push the bounds of medical knowledge to improve care for patients here and everywhere,” stated President and CEO of Carilion Clinic Nancy Howell Agee.
Already richly equipped with leading-edge research instrumentation and brand-new laboratories for up to 25 research teams, the building has been operational for a year.
“This state-of-the-art new facility, equipped with the most advanced technology and spaces for research on some of the most pressing health challenges facing us today, demonstrates the commitment of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic to discovery and translation in the service of the nation’s health, and points to the even greater potential that lies before us,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology.
With wet laboratories, meeting spaces, and offices to accommodate 400 additional researchers, students, and support staff, the addition is also home to:
- Virginia Tech’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab, which has processed more than 160,000 COVID-19 tests since April 2020.
- Five new faculty-led research teams studying cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- MRI-guided focused ultrasound facility.
- 3D- and bio-printing laboratories.
- Human metabolism research facilities, including whole-room calorimeters.
- Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Health Sciences and Technology library.
- New high-resolution imaging core facilities, including a scanning block-face electron microscope, a spinning disk confocal microscope, and multiple MRI, PET, and CT imaging devices for visualizing living tissues.
- Classrooms for Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic.
After several years of construction, the grand opening punctuates the success of the Virginia Tech Carilion partnership, following a 2016 appropriation of $45 million by the Virginia General Assembly to support the new development.
“We’re not just attracting and developing talented people, we’re giving them a reason to stay here in Roanoke and in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “So their discoveries and ideas can grow here at home, this is where we create opportunity for our region as the ideas spin-off into companies, investments, and jobs.”
Set in the heart of the Roanoke Innovation Corridor, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute is a major economic driver in the region, currently employing more than 400 researchers, staff, and trainees. Founded in 2010, the institute has 37-faculty led research teams, which have cumulatively published more than 1,000 discoveries in leading scientific journals and currently hold $140 million in active research grants and contracts with over $200 million in grants awarded.