Dr. Michael Friedlander served as the keynote speaker for the evening.
Photo by Aila Boyd
Grant Holmes (left), the executive director of the Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce, is pictured greeting Dr. Michael Friedlander as he arrived at Virginia Mountain Vineyards.
Photo by Aila Boyd
Lisa Otey (left), a chamber member, Jennifer Vance, the marketing and events coordinator at the chamber, and Dr. John Rainone, president of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and a member of the chamber’s board of directors, served as the official welcoming committee.
Photo by Aila Boyd
The gala was held at Virginia Mountain Vineyards.
Photo by Aila Boyd

By Aila Boyd



The Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce held its 50th Annual Gala and Dinner last Tuesday at Virginia Mountain Vineyards.

Dr. Michael Friedlander, vice president of health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech, served as the keynote speaker. He discussed the growing biomedical research enterprise in Roanoke and the implications for the region.

Friedlander is also the founding executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and senior dean for research at the VTC School of Medicine.

Under Friedlander’s leadership, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s research program has amassed $125 million in grant value in its first nine years. The program has 28 research teams and over 350 investigators and students.

Before assuming his current position, Friedlander served as the Robertson endowed Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He has also served as a professor and founding chair of the Department of Neurobiology at UAB School of Medicine in Birmingham, Ala. where he was the founding director of the Intellectual Disabilities Research Center, director of the Civitan International Research Center, and the Evelyn McKnight Professor of Learning and Memory.

A silent auction was also held to raise funds for the chamber’s scholarship program. The recipients of the chamber’s 2019 scholarships were Emma Hall, Lord Botetourt High School, Bailey Marshall, James River High School, and Halee Guentzel, James River High School.