Since 2011, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC has introduced people from Roanoke, Blacksburg and southwest Virginia to the world’s top international scientists, physicians and policy makers as part of the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series.
The 2022-23 series will highlight trending subjects from mindfulness during pregnancy to personalized cancer treatments, along with top-of-mind issues such as climate change and sustainability in fields such as biomaterials, food supply, and data science.
“It is a stellar and diverse group of internationally recognized innovators and thought leaders,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech.
Among the speakers are three members of the National Academy of Sciences, three members of the National Academy of Medicine, and one member each from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The series also includes a fellow of the International Society of Mathematical Statistics, a fellow of the Academy Europaea, and the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series is one important way in which the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute engages the community around science, medicine, and policy in the context of the most pressing issues of our time,” Friedlander said. “We are also proud to celebrate and be inspired by the diversity of backgrounds and ideas these speakers represent.”
These free public lectures are named for Maury Strauss, a Roanoke businessman and longtime community benefactor who recognized the value of welcoming thought leaders and innovators in science, medicine, and health to share their work with the community. Since its inception, the series has become a staple in the region, attracting more than a thousand community members to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute each year.
The first lecture of the new season, “Socially-Directed Science and Technology,” begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22 and features Christine Ortiz, a trailblazing materials scientist, innovator and educator. She is founder of the nonprofit Station1, whose vision is “for people of all backgrounds to be inspired and empowered to pursue science and technology to foster an equitable, just, and sustainable world.”
Here is the 2022-23 Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series lineup:
- “Socially-Directed Science and Technology: Design at the Intersection of History, Sustainability, and Equity with Applications to Biotechnology and Biomaterials,” by Christine Ortiz, Morris Cohen professor of materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on Sept. 22.
- “Breeding Crops for Resilience to a Changing Climate,” by Pamela Ronald, distinguished professor, department of plant pathology and the Genome Center, University of California, Davis, on Oct. 20.
- “The Challenge of Misinformation and Disinformation in the Public Health Arena,” by Robert M. Califf, commissioner of food and drugs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will discuss health topics of national importance. Califf is the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, an internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine and health outcomes research, and one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, virtual presentation on Nov. 3.
- “Cognitive Processes Underlying Diagnostic Reasoning and Clinical Problem-Solving,” by Gurpreet Dhaliwal, professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, on Nov. 17. His research interests include clinical reasoning, diagnostic errors, and clinical and diagnostic performance and improvement.
- “Tuning Depression Circuits Using Deep Brain Stimulation,” by Helen Mayberg, professor, neurosurgery, neuroscience and psychiatry; director, Nash Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics; member, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Academy of Inventors, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, on Dec. 15.
- “Tackling the Health Consequences of Climate Change with Data Science,” by Francesca Dominici, Clarence James Gamble professor of biostatistics, population and data science; co-director, the Data Science Initiative, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University; member, National Academy of Medicine and International Society of Mathematical Statistics, on Jan. 19, 2023.
- “Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy During Pregnancy,” Damien Fair, professor, Institute of Child Development, Department of Pediatrics; director, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, University of Minnesota Medical School, on Feb. 9, 2023.
- “Harnessing the Power of Big Biobanks for Precision Medicine,” by Zhengming Chen, the Richard Peto Professor of Epidemiology, Nuffield Department of Population Health Fellow, Academy Europaea, Oxford University, on March 16, 2023.
- “Targeting Drug Delivery for Cancer with Macromolecular Design and Synthesis and Nanoscale Assembly of Synthetic Biomaterials,” Paula T. Hammond, department head and professor, department of chemical engineering, Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; member, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering, date TBD in April 2023.
Most lectures are in person and begin with a 5 p.m. reception, with the presentation beginning at 5:30 p.m. in 2 Riverside at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. All lectures are free and open to the public. To make them accessible to a wider audience, most lectures will be streamed live via Zoom and archived.
In addition to the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lectures, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute also hosts Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminars, the Timothy A. Johnson Medical Scholar Lecture Series, as well as other conferences, programs and special talks.