Create your own research journey

The Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences, a program housed in the Center for Integrative Life Sciences Education, is designed for students who want to conduct research that is integrative across multiple disciplines and takes a systems approach to emerging research questions across the many fields that comprise the life sciences.

Students may opt to work with faculty members from any department, center or institute across VCU campuses. The program provides the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research at multiple scales of study from the molecular to ecosystem levels.  Student research centers around the intersection of the environment and the human condition, building on existing strengths in genetics, sensing, forensic science, sustainability and conservation. 

Unlike traditional graduate programs where there are dedicated faculty, Dr. Stephen Fong, ILS Program Director and Professor in Chemical and Life Science Engineering, and Dr. Sarah Rothschild, ILS Assistant Director and Assistant Professor in Life Sciences run the ILS program. 

We invite you to visit our Directory page, where you can learn more about the wide variety of disciplines and research conducted by our Ph.D. candidates.  Prospective candidates are strongly suggested to have a mentor/PI identified before applying to the program.

Annual ILS Showcase

Our highly-anticipated and well-attended student-run spring showcase brings faculty, students and Michael Rao, Ph.D., President, VCU and VCU Health System, to the VCU Student Commons.

Michael Rao, Ph.D. and two students in front of a slide that says: Welcome! Integrative Life Sciences 16th Annual Spring Research Showcase April 14, 2022 11 am - 4 pm. ILS and VCU logos


Students and faculty gather in front of the Rice Rivers Center Education Building

June 25, 2024

Summer@Rice Scholars Program underway

The scholarship program allows students to continue their research in-between traditional semesters.

Emily Riffe

May 30, 2024

Emily Riffe's article published on award-winning science website for young adults

Writing for a different audience was equally challenging and rewarding for this CILSE Ph.D. candidate.

Mallory Stephenson

April 8, 2024

Mallory Stephenson recipient of Smriti Bardhan Award of Excellence in Genetics Research

Her research focuses on genetic and environmental influences on alcohol use and suicidal behavior.