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


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.

The study “Warming and Top-Down Control of Stage-Structured Prey: Linking Theory to Patterns in Natural Systems” found that rising temperatures, often linked to climate change, can make predators of mosquito larvae less effective at controlling mosquito populations. (Contributed photo).

Dec. 18, 2023

Hotter weather caused by climate change could mean more mosquitos, according to VCU-led study

Research along James River in Richmond suggests that climate change could shorten window for predators to prey on larvae.

A man is sitting at a table under a tent in the forest, holding a bird. He is trying to get a DNA sample. On the table are laboratory supplies.

Nov. 30, 2023

CILSE Ph.D. student Jorge Garzon travels deep into the rainforest for his research

The difficult journey yields access to endemic birds not well studied.