Virginia Commonwealth University’s institutes and centers work across disciplines and research to create new knowledge. Representing some of the most cutting-edge investigations taking place in the world today, the VCU’s ICs conduct unique investigative collaborations to add value to the university in terms of intellectual power, resources and collaborative potential, extramural funding and resource development.
Click on the headings below to read more detailed information on each center or institute.
The Virginia Center on Aging is a statewide agency created by the Virginia General Assembly. Its mission is to define and protect the quality of life for older Virginians so that they may remain autonomous, contribute to their communities and have access to resources for continued learning and personal growth. In addition, the Virginia Center on Aging provides data, resources and insightful recommendations to decision makers (legislators, practitioners, service providers and caregivers) to enable them to make informed decisions about our elderly.
The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at VCU promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions; public, private and nonprofit organizations; and in the community. Leadership programs are based on the principles of collaboration and partnerships, with a strong commitment to long-term relationships between clients and participants. Additionally, the institute researches and disseminates knowledge on the best practices in leadership. Through its training and public policy research, the institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders.
The Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center is committed to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care. Within the VCU Health System, the neurosurgical center will be a recognized provider of comprehensive services whose mission is to integrate clinical research with patient services while training future clinicians and scientists.
The Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research, presently funded as a P30 Center of Excellence for Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management, builds on the successful P20 Exploratory Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research to advanced application of biobehavioral models, methods and analyses aimed at understanding biobehavioral mechanisms, interventions and outcomes. The center consists of the Administrative Core, Biobehavioral Science Core (affiliated with Biobehavioral Laboratory Services) and Data Services and Analysis Core, a subset of biostatistics and data services. Investigators have collectively, and individually, advanced biobehavioral science and/or symptom management significantly in a variety of patient populations, including patients with cancer and in the critically ill.
The Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine aims to alleviate the tremendous personal, familial and societal burden of mental illness by using state-of-the-art genomic technologies to identify molecular markers that can be used to develop new medications and tailor treatment to individual patients.
The Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention within the Department of Psychology at VCU was founded in 2000 to provide a place, forum and means to promote and conduct culturally congruent and community relevant prevention and intervention work primarily with African Americans and other culturally different groups. Since its inception, over 30 graduate students and hundreds of undergraduate students have contributed to programs and research at the center and engaged in activities with numerous community partners and other agencies.
The mission of the VCU Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care is to improve health through collaboration by:
As one of the VCU School of Medicine research centers, the Center for Molecular Imaging fosters and facilitates multidisciplinary molecular imaging and nanotechnology research using advanced imaging technologies. Together, such technologies provide real-time in vivo information, complemented and validated by ex vivo data and molecular biology analysis on cells and tissue samples, including tumors. The overall objective is to study, within the intact physiological and pathophysiological environment, biological pathways and interactions involved in disease progression such as tumorgenesis, and therapeutic interventions. The center has laboratories for radiochemistry, nanochemistry and nanotechnology, molecular biology, and multimodalilty animal and tissue imaging.
Approved in 2013, the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products brings together a multidisciplinary group of faculty to focus on a new issue of immediate concern to public health: the regulation of tobacco products. CSTP employs an integrated, iterative model of modified risk tobacco product evaluation that uses analytic lab, human lab, randomized controlled trial, and quantitative and qualitative methods to inform tobacco product regulation. In addition, by providing core support services, opportunities for faculty development, training of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and a small grants program, the center helps to attract and retain faculty in this rapidly expanding field of research and facilitates additional multidisciplinary research awards. CSTP is administered within the Department of Psychology with linkages to the Massey Cancer Center.
The mission of the Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development is to empower youth, schools, families and other stakeholders to promote the healthy, safe and otherwise positive development of youth in the defined community from early adolescence through emerging adulthood. This is pursued through the activities of the institute’s Research, Outreach and Education cores. The Research core is focused on developing and evaluating effective violence prevention strategies. The Outreach and Education cores support the Research core and respond more broadly to community requests for information, support, technical assistance and assistance with bringing together stakeholders in a participatory research program. The institute is one of ten National Academic Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Approved in 2015, the College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute is an interdisciplinary institute with the goal of promoting behavioral and emotional health in our college community through the integration of research with coursework, programming, policy and practice. COBE brings together diverse constituencies across the university (researchers, administrators, practitioners, etc.) to address behavioral and emotional health as a foundation for student success.
The Commonwealth Institute for Child and Family Studies enhances the mental health of children and families through scientific research and the dissemination of empirical evidence. The institute also provides evidence-based clinical and prevention training, offers technical assistance and consultation services and disseminates research findings. The institute is staffed by professionals from disciplines that include psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, mental health counseling, public health and business.
Approved in 2013, the Humanities Research Center provides a forum for enhancing excellence in the humanities through intellectual exchange across conventional disciplinary boundaries, raising the visibility of scholarly work in the humanities and securing external support for research in the humanities at VCU. This center is housed within the College of Humanities and Sciences, and its work has four defining characteristics:
The Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium is a long-standing partnership between the VCU School of Education and seven Richmond-area school divisions that plans, conducts and disseminates community-engaged action and applied research. The empirical investigations, reviews of literature and other products focus on contemporary educational issues and problems. Findings, in the form of reports, presentations and seminars, improve school administration, teaching, and student learning and motivation, and contribute to professional knowledge. MERC also conducts a wide range of program and project evaluations for schools, agencies and institutions of higher education.
The Partnership for People with Disabilities is recognized as Virginia's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The center engages in interdisciplinary training, technical assistance, research and evaluation, policy, and dissemination efforts that result in communities where all people live, work and recreate together. The partnership relies on partners that include numerous disability service providers, K-12 schools and school divisions, universities and colleges, professional organizations, and state and local agencies. The partnership maintains an interdisciplinary approach to all of its activities which are conducted in three program areas: health, early intervention and education, and family and individual involvement and support. The partnerships with people from a broad range of disciplines allow for the exploration of a wide spectrum of professional services and community interests as the partnership seeks to expand opportunities to individuals with disabilities.
Established in 1983, the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center serves as a center of national excellence, providing resources for professionals, individuals with disabilities, and their representatives. Its team of nationally and internationally renowned researchers is committed to developing and advancing evidence-based practices to increase the hiring and retention for individuals with disabilities. Current research activities include workplace supports, employee retention, business mentoring, and work incentive planning and assistance.
The Rice Rivers Center is VCU’s field campus for research, instruction and training in the ecological and environmental sciences. The center comprises 500 acres of riparian, wetland and upland habitats on the tidal James River and provides access to the riverine, estuarine and coastal landscapes of the lower Chesapeake Bay region. Our faculty, staff and students conduct important translational research that makes good science available to policymakers. On-site facilities include wetlabs, residential lodge, and conference center, as well as a 13,000-square-foot research complex. Although RRC's focus is large river ecology and management, the center works across a wide range of important disciplines that include carbon biogeochemistry, ecosystem restoration, invasive species ecology, climate change, fishery and avian conservation, emerging environmental technologies, and water resources.