The Virginia Tech College of Science has named Michelle Olsen as the new director of the School of Neuroscience. She officially took over the duties of the role on Oct. 16.

Olsen was recruited into the newly established School of Neuroscience in 2016 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. There, she had established a National Institutes of Health-funded research program studying astrocytes, the second-most abundant brain cell type.

As one of the first faculty in Virginia Tech's School of Neuroscience, Olsen’s role included developing the neuroscience Ph.D. program and stewarding the program through university governance and State Council for Higher Education for Virginia review. Approved by the Board of Visitors in summer 2020, the neuroscience doctoral program is now recruiting its fourth cohort of students. Most recently, Olsen has led the development of the Alliance for Neurodevelopment Research, a strategic growth and investment opportunity for the College of Science.

“Michelle has been a key faculty member in the School of Neuroscience since she arrived at Virginia Tech,” said Kevin Pitts, dean of the College of Science. “In addition to a distinguished track record in research, education, and service, her experience and dedication to the success of the School of Neuroscience — to its faculty, staff, and students — will serve her well in this new role.”