Roop Mahajan, the James S. Tucker Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Medical Research Institute, announced Mark McNamee, Virginia Tech senior vice president and provost.

The medical research institute, managed by Virginia Tech, is a collaboration with the Carilion Clinic and the newly established Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTC), a private independent school jointly managed by Virginia Tech and Carilion, all co-located on a new campus under construction in Roanoke.

“Recognized for dynamic and visionary leadership, Dr. Mahajan will lead the effort in refining the vision and implementing the research plans for the medical research institute,” McNamee said. “He has been charged with collaborating with Virginia Tech deans, department heads, and faculty and with Carilion Clinic department heads and physicians in determining the initial focus areas of investment for the institute.”

Mahajan said initial target areas will be cardiovascular science and cardiology, neuroscience, inflammation, and infectious disease. “The research institute will explore the interface of medicine, science, engineering, and biology. It is at such interfaces where creativity blooms," he said.

McNamee also announced that Dennis Dean, the Stroobants Professor of Biotechnology at Virginia Tech, will be associate director. “Dr. Dean will assure that the investments Virginia Tech is making in basic life science areas are leveraged as fully as possible during the medical research institute's establishment,” McNamee said.

Mahajan will continue to serve as the director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. Dean will continue as the director of the Fralin Life Science Institute, a merger of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences. These institutes are major research initiatives that support and catalyze the expansion of research at Virginia Tech.

“The leadership provided by experienced research directors will ensure a rapid start-up for the new medical research institute and will lay the groundwork for a long-term, high quality research program as part of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute,” McNamee said. “Roop and Dennis have significant expertise in interdisciplinary research collaboration. We are thrilled they have agreed to serve as inaugural directors of the research institute.”

An associate director for clinical research will be named soon, McNamee said.

Mahajan founded the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Packaging for Microwave, Optical and Digital Electronics and the interdisciplinary research center of MicroElectronic Devices in Cardiovascular Applications, both at the University of Colorado. He holds three patents and has five invention disclosures. He is an American Society of Mechanical Engineers fellow and has earned numerous recognitions for his educational leadership and research achievements. Mahajan received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, India.

Dean is also an internationally known researcher. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and a Ph.D. from Purdue University, and he was a National Institute of Health postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin.

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