Research and innovation news from VCU (12/18/20)
As a premier urban public research university, VCU is committed to innovative and transformative learning, exceptional patient care, demonstrable community engagement and influential research. We are a university of great conscience, we take on what others find challenging, and we engage in and advance the work that matters most. Our research provides the necessary training ground for young scholars and students who understand where and how knowledge is formed and that learning is a lifelong process. Our research is transformational and impactful in elevating health, the environment and well-being of people, yet we recognize that there remains much work to address growing societal challenges and needs in these areas.
VCU’s rapidly growing research enterprise must be supported with the necessary resources and infrastructure. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, with its nimble and efficient state-of-the-art services, partners with schools, colleges, departments, institutes and centers to assist researchers as they seek funding, plan studies, establish collaborations, calculate budgets, negotiate industry contracts, secure patents and licensing agreements and start new ventures. We continue to invest in our students and young investigators who represent VCU’s future. We will advance our mission as a research university by strategically focusing on humanity’s greatest challenges using a team science approach.
As Vice President for Research and Innovation (VPRI), it is a privilege to work with VCU faculty, staff and students committed to enriching the human experience and ensuring an equitable society. The OVPRI will continue to assist and work where we can have the greatest impact, measured in growing sponsored research and community engagement, and where our curiosity and passion for discovery and innovation and our commitment toward economic development, inclusiveness and social justice will elevate people everywhere.
P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D.
Dr. Srirama Rao serves as Vice President for Research and Innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is responsible for the overall strategy, compliance, growth and expansion of the university’s research enterprise. As the institutional official, he leads the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation in all of its efforts, and ensures the optimal operational efficiency of the divisions of: Clinical Research, Sponsored Programs, Research Compliance, Research Development, Research Integrity and Ethics, Communications and Outreach, Finance and Operations, Information Systems, and Technology, Commercialization and Economic Development. As VPRI, Dr. S. Rao oversees VCU’s research institutes and centers, core laboratories, and institutional committees including the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB). He also serves as an advisor, board member and trustee of various local and national organizations.
In collaboration with researchers and administrators across the university and by increasing research engagement with faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows and students, Dr. S. Rao is committed to fostering collaborative and cross-cutting basic, clinical and translational research at VCU. The university is currently engaged in various high-priority and societally impactful initiatives involving research in a wide breadth of areas such as arts, addiction, cancer, cardiovascular medicine, cybersecurity, digital science, the environment, health disparities, humanities, policy and STEM education. An additional focus for Dr. S. Rao is the translation of VCU discoveries and innovations from the bench to the community, via public and private partnerships. Together with increased technology and commercialization, including the formation of new companies, VCU’s innovations are contributing to the region’s overall growth and economic development.
While VCU’s growing sponsored research and funding is at an all-time high, the university is navigating unprecedented and challenging times. To strategically advance our research priorities, Dr. S. Rao convened a Strategic Research Priorities Planning (SRPP) Committee composed of research thought-leaders and faculty experts across VCU. These members have created a bold plan to serve as a framework for future investments and growth. Based on the excellence in research and scholarship on Monroe Park and MCV campuses as well as within the VCU Health System, the university will commit to Improving the Human Condition by focusing on four thematic initiatives:
As part of the implementation of this five-year strategic plan, Dr. S. Rao, together with colleagues across the university, will promote the initiatives through a culture of creativity, collaboration, organizational excellence, team science and recognition.
Dr. S. Rao earned his Ph.D. in allergy and immunology in 1989 from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, after which he conducted post-doctoral studies at Pharmacia-Experimental Medicine in La Jolla, Calif. He has focused his research on the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation including asthma and has published nearly 90 peer reviewed manuscripts as well as several reviews and book chapters. Over the course of his 25-year academic and administrative career, Dr. S. Rao has been continuously funded by the NIH, multiple federal and state agencies, foundations and corporations, securing nearly $20 million in grant support.
Dr. S. Rao came to VCU in the fall of 2018 from the University of Minnesota, where he was professor and associate dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine with a joint appointment as professor in the School of Medicine. It was at the University of Minnesota where he founded the International Conference on One Medicine One Science (iCOMOS), which aims to solve global health challenges at the intersection of environmental, and animal and human health, using the combined expertise of scientific, medical, technological, policy and communication professionals, including governmental agencies among others. Prior to his role at the University of Minnesota, Dr. S. Rao served as the vice president for research at the La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine in San Diego, where he also served as a professor and as the head of Vascular Biology.
In addition to his current position as the VPRI, Dr. S. Rao also holds a tenured appointment as professor of microbiology and immunology in the VCU School of Medicine. Dr. S. Rao also holds multiple domestic and international patents, is a co-founder of two companies, and is a senior member of National Academy of Inventors.
Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
800 East Leigh Street
Third Floor, Suite 3000
For assistance or additional guidance from OVPRI staff regarding the Phased Return to Research, visit the OVPRI contacts section on the R2R page to find phone numbers and/or email addresses. For division-specific assistance, please see the OVPRI staff directory. If you have a general inquiry or are unsure of where to start, call the OVPRI main line at (804) 827-2262.