MCV CampusNeurological disorders constitute a large percentage of the world's disease burden which also include mental health and addiction disorders. This translates to billions of dollars in medical costs to diagnose, treat, and manage these diseases. Advances in neuroscience research could drastically reduce these costs while providing cures and hopes for those afflicted with these diseases.

The School of Medicine's and the University's larges/ research enterprise is the neurosciences. The School of Medicine's current neuroscience gant portfolio is $156,262,126 (fom inception of award). Over 80 faculty members, both basic scientists and clinician investigators, a number of whom are the University's research luminaries, are engaged in neuroscience research. In addition, more than 1OO graduate students and post-doctoral trainees are being cultivated lo assume future roles in neuroscience research. The power of this discovery workforce to put forward groundbreaking concepts, create and deploy intellectual property, and attract industry partners cannot be ignored.

School of Medicine AwardIn recent years, the school has seen a nearly 40 percent increase in the number of grants submitted to the National Institutes of Health and an increase in awarded NIH grant dollars during a time when many research institutions are seeing a decrease in funding. The VCU School of Medicine now accounts for almost half of VCU’s sponsored research awards and for 87 percent of the university’s NIH funding.

The receipt of an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award in 2010 led to the creation of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR), located in the old Richmond Academy of MedicineBuilding. The increased space for basic science research and creation of the CCTR has enabled us to move more easily toward the translation of basic science discoveries into new and novel treatments for patients.

FacultyWith over 145 faculty and staff, the combined total experience of the VCU Neuroscience team is unquantifiable. Some members of the faculty and staff team have been conducting specialized research in this field for over 30 years - bringing 30 years of experience alone to the table.

Faculty members in the neuroscience program are affiliated with the departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Human and Molecular Genetics, Pharmacology and Toxicology and Physiology and Biophysics. Investigators use a wide variety of state-of-the-art techniques to investigate topics whose scope ranges from the single molecule to integrated brain function.

Faculty members among the departments maintain active collaborations, a feature crucial in today’s world of the multidisciplinary approaches in neuroscience. Research questions often require a breadth of expertise and technical skills, both of which VCU is particularly proud to offer. Additionally, this cooperation is fostered by the fact that individual students’ advisory committees consist of members from multiple departments.

Massey Cancer CenterThe Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology maintains a fully-equipped microscopy facility that includes transmission and scanning electron microscopes, a confocal laser scanning microscope,widefield fluorescence microscopes and a variety of image analysis applications.

The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology also maintains additional imaging systems, including:

  • Morphometric analyses: Nikon Optiphot-2 microscope equipped with a MRI-103 driver for a MAC 2000 motorized stage and a MTI 3CCD video camera interfaced with the MicroBrightfield Neurolucida software.
  • Image capture and analysis facilities: Image analysis, 3-D reconstruction, phosphor imaging, calcium imaging and denistometric analysis of gels and autogradiograms: This facility includes three video-equipped workstations interfaced with the MCID M5+ platform from Imaging Research Inc.

In addition to the department’s own facilities, neuroscience students will also have access to numerous resources shared by the university’s Massey Cancer Center, including:

    MCV Campus
  • Transgenic/Knock-out Mouse Facility
  • Biostatistics Shared Resource
  • Flow Cytometry Shared Resource
  • Genomics developing shared resource
  • Biological Macromolecule Shared Resource
  • Tissue and Data Acquisition and Analysis Core
  • Lipidomics developing shared resource
  • Molecular imaging developing shared resource
  • Structural Biology Shared Resource

VCU Neuroscience ResearchOur commitment to research at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is evident through our growing faculty size and graduate school enrollment, as well as the construction of new buildings to create more research space and expand critical core facilities.

Research at VCU has attracted over $250 million in total award dollars in 2011-2012, of which the neuroscience faculty receive one of the largest proportions. The VCU Medical Center, in which the neuroscience graduate program and its affiliated departments reside, boasts over 1,300 research and clinical faculty and over 250 Ph.D. students.

More than 60 faculty members in both basic science and clinical departments participate in the neuroscience program, offering a complete spectrum of research facilities equipped with contemporary instrumentation in the fields of molecular, cellular, developmental, systems, behavioral and clinical neuroscience. Facilities also include state-of-the-art core facilities in molecular biology, microscopy, flow cytometry, nucleic acid analysis, transgenic mouse generation, biostatistical analysis, structural biology, hybridoma generation and proteomics. Library resources are extensive and include holdings maintained on the MCV Campus made available via electronic access.

Core areas of research for the VCU Neuroscience Doctoral Program include:

  • Drug Abuse and Mental Illness
  • Glial Cell Biology
  • Injury, Repair, and Degeneration
  • Plasticity and Development
  • Channels, Receptors, and Transporters

The mission of the Office of the Associate Dean for School of Medicine Research is to:

  • Recruit outstanding research faculty and graduate research students seeking a Master’s, Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. degree.
  • Manage research space.
  • Sponsor and mentor undergraduate and graduate student research.
  • Develop core research infrastructure.
  • Assist in grant preparation and submission.
  • Work with other associate deans on research curriculum development, faculty mentoring and research information technology.

The goal is to attract, support and empower the best possible research faculty and students.

The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology maintains a fully-equipped microscopy facility that includes transmission and scanning electron microscopes, a confocal laser scanning microscope,widefield fluorescence microscopes and a variety of image analysis applications.