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VCU has two categories of research-related institutes and centers: chartered and general.

Chartered institutes require approval of the VCU Board of Visitors. Three chartered university research centers support the mission of VCU Life Sciences to advance knowledge and education in fields like bioinformatics and environmental technology. The Center for Environmental Studies and Center for Biological Data Science stand alone nationally as centers that house tenure.

Chartered research centers

The Center for Environmental Studies emphasizes the importance of the life sciences through innovative research, hands-on teaching and community service. Faculty, staff and graduate students in the center conduct nationally and internationally recognized research in environmental science, policy, health and technology.

The Center for Biological Data Science has the broad mission to support integrative research. The CBDS focuses on five specific research foci: microbial systems biology and pathogenesis; gene networks in cell biology and cellular control mechanisms; structural biology and pharmacogenomics; environmental and ecological systems; and mathematical and computational biology, biomedicine, biophysics and biostatistics.

The VCU Rice Rivers Center supports research and educational opportunities that advance knowledge of the environmental and ecological sciences. Research primarily is focused on large river ecosystems, their riparian habitats and associated wetlands, but also includes terrestrial plant and animal communities, as well as landscape ecology and conservation issues.

Merging art and science
By partnering with the VCU School of the Arts, Daniel McGarvey, Ph.D., hopes to teach graduate students how to present research data in a more engaging way.

Core facilities

The following facilities provide coordinated support for their scientific endeavors, and are core to the overall mission and goals of VCU Life Sciences.

  • Center for High Performance Computing

    The VCU Center for High Performance Computing (CHiPC) is located in approximately 2000 sq ft of total space, predominantly on the third floor of Harris Hall on the Monroe Park Campus. The mission of the CHiPC is to provide high performance computing services for the VCU research community. To accomplish this goal, the CHiPC maintains four major supercomputing clusters, each specialized for different computing environments. They may be summarized as follows:

    1)  is the primary cluster intended for large scale parallel computing, and is especially well suited for applications such molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry and other Physical Sciences jobs. Teal consists of ~5040 64 bit Intel and AMD compute cores, each with 2-4 GB RAM/core, 10.2 TB of total RAM, 180 TB of /home space, and tmp space of between 360 and 787 GB per node. High speed network infrastructure is provided by a 20 Gb/second infiniband architecture;

    2)  is the cluster designated for serial and small parallel applications. Bach consists of a total of 944 AMD 64 bit cores, each with a minimum of 2 GB/core RAM, 2 TB total RAM, 12 TB of /home space, and /tmp space of 360 GB per node. Networking infrastructure is gigabit ethernet;

    3) is a cluster optimized for bioinformatics applications, with  1608 Intel and AMD 64 bit cores, each with at least 3 GB RAM/core, 4.8 TB of total RAM, 17 TB of /home space, tmp space of at least 180 GB/node, and 40 Gb/second infiniband networking, 1.2TB of GPFS storage;

    4) is a cluster designed to support research using data that must comply with federal security and privacy requirements, with 1016 Intel 64 bit cores, 2/GB of RAM/core, 420TB of GPFS storage (expandable to 2.2PB)m 54 Gb/second Infiniband networking. 

    These clusters are collectively served by over 1.9 PB of networked nfs and GPFS high speed storage. To support this infrastructure, theCHiPC employees 4.5 FTE positions, (J. Mike Davis, Technical Director; Carlisle Childress & Brad Freeman, Systems Analysts; and John Layne, Applications Analyst. In addition to maintaining the hardware, the CHiPC works collaboratively with the user base to maintain and optimize a large number of applications and development tools (BLAST, R, MATLAB, NAMD, Gaussian, Gromacs, Charm, C/C++, Fortran compilers, as well as other scientific, statistical and development software.)”

    For additional information or if you have questions, please contact J. Michael Davis, (804) 828-3885 

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