VCU Life Sciences is committed to integrative, collaborative research. Our integrative life sciences doctoral program has matriculated more than 140 students in 17 years, placing them in 18 different departments across the entire university.


Marsh, tidewater, river and forest studies are relevant to restoration in the face of climate change. The student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration is one of only four nationally and reflects students’ commitment to this research. Both imperiled (sturgeon, shad, oyster) and invasive species (catfish) are investigated; this work meshes well with our Certificate in Sustainable Innovation.

v.c.u. students wading through the river while carrying poles near the v.c.u. rice rivers center

v.c.u. researcher holding a yellow warbler


Conservation of wetlands as well as threatened species such as bald eagles, prothonotary warblers and spiny mussels are analyzed.


Geospatial landscape ecology and genetic structure is another strength and utilizes cutting-edge population genetics tools and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mapping. Geospatial data visualization is a central aspect of this strength.

3-d imaging from geographic information mapping

a v.c.u. student writing equations on a window overlooking trees


Genomics research that is relevant to human disease or conservation biology already has links to the School of Medicine and human health. Using modeling approaches, networks of proteins and genes can be mapped and changes modeled using high performance computing. Applications that benefit include neurobiology, infectious disease and climate change/sea level rise.