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Non-traditional and Translational Research

In addition to basic science research within the School of Medicine, MD-PhD students are encouraged to explore a variety of non-traditional and translational research programs at VCU through which they can conduct their PhD training. The following research programs have been approved for our MD-PhD students:

  • Clinical and Translational Research

The PhD program in Clinical and Translational Sciences is offered through the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, a VCU institute which is supported through a $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH. This PhD program offers a general curriculum program and two specialized interdisciplinary concentrations – psychiatric, behavioral, and statistical genetics; and cancer and molecular medicine.

  • Biostatistics

Faculty members in the Department of Biostatistics are nationally recognized for their work in the areas of clinical trials, pharmacology and toxicology, and genomic biostatistics. In addition to the traditional PhD program, the Department of Biostatistics offers a concentration in genomic biostatistics in order to prepare students for the recent developments in microarray data analysis, data mining/machine learning, and sequence analysis.

  • Epidemiology

Offered through the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, the PhD program in Epidemiology seeks to train students to study disease etiology and prevention in populations, as well as methods for evaluating interventions, diagnostic tests, and treatment efficacy. Major areas of research include behavioral and cancer epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, maternal and child health, psychiatric epidemiology, and traumatic brain injury.

  • Health Behavior and Policy

The Department of Health Behavior and Policy offers two PhD programs comprised of a core curriculum in research methods and statistics. The PhD program in Healthcare Policy and Research aims to train students in the economic and statistical frameworks and methods used to address health policy issues. The PhD program in Social and Behavioral Sciences offers methodological and theoretical training which promotes an understanding of public health as the intersection of structural, cultural, social, behavioral and biological factors.

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences

The PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is the only PhD curriculum in pharmaceutical sciences offered in Virginia and is administered by the VCU School of Pharmacy, Virginia’s oldest school of pharmacy. The program offers tracks of study in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacotherapy, and pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes.

  • Oral Health Research

The Philips Institute for Oral Health Research was established in 2014 and is located in the VCU School of Dentistry. The Philips Institute offers a PhD program in Oral Health Research, with a curriculum that merges basic science and oral health science courses. Core areas of research include head and neck cancer as well as bacterial infection and inflammation, with developing research programs in tissue engineering and oral health disparities.

  • Biomedical Engineering

A PhD program in Biomedical Engineering is offered through VCU’s School of Engineering, with facilities located on the Monroe Park campus and in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. Areas of research include cellular mechanics and mechanobiology of disease, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, computational physiology, man-machine interfaces, and rehabilitation and haptic engineering.

  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

An interdisciplinary PhD program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology has been developed by faculty in the VCU Departments of Chemistry and Physics, the first program of its kind in Virginia and one of only a handful of programs nationwide. This program is offered through VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences and provides a research-intensive degree with an emphasis on the fundamental science and applications of nanoscale materials.