Welcome

The School of Medicine provides a broad range of Ph.D. training opportunities in biomedical and social sciences, public health, translational research and other areas. All students pursuing Ph.D. degrees complete coursework and an independent research project leading to a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Graduates of our doctoral programs are well positioned for national and international appointments as postdoctoral scientists in academia and industry, scientific publishing, higher education and numerous other areas requiring highly skilled, critically thinking, creative leaders.

Doctoral Programs

Need more information? Please explore below for major research areas, administrative contacts and application information for all Ph.D. programs in the VCU School of Medicine. 

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research areas

  • Bioactive lipids, metabolism in health and diseases
  • Cancer biology
  • Neuroscience

Program contact

Tomasz Kordula, Ph.D.
Program Director
tomasz.kordula@vcuhealth.org

Learn about the application process

Department of Human and Molecular Genetics

Research areas

  • Complex disorders
  • Tumor biology and metastasis
  • Cancer gene therapy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Epigenetics

Program contact

Rita Shiang, Ph.D.
Program Director
rita.shiang@vcuhealth.org
804-628-4083

Learn about the application process.

Interdepartmental

Research areas

  • Drug abuse and mental illness
  • Glial cell biology
  • Injury, repair and degeneration
  • Plasticity and development
  • Channels, receptors and transporters

Program contact

John Bigbee, Ph.D.
Program Director
john.bigbee@vcuhealth.org

Learn about the application process

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Research areas

  • Microbial Pathogenisis
  • Immune mechanisms
  • Molecular cell biology and cancer

Program contact

Lisa Shock, Ph.D.
Program Director
lisa.shock@vcuhealth.org
804-628-2289

Learn about the application process

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research areas

  • Drugs of abuse and alcohol
  • Neuroscience
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular
  • Gastrointestinal pharmacology

Program contact

Keith Shelton, Ph.D.
Program Director
keith.shelton@vcuhealth.org 
804-827-2104

Learn about the application process

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Research areas

  • Molecular biophysics
  • Cardiovascular
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Chemical senses
  • Neuroscience

Program contact

Christina Kyrus
Program Coordinator
804-828-3221
cikyrus@vcu.edu

Learn about the application process

Department of Health Behavior and Policy

Research areas

  • Health disparities
  • Social justice
  • Communication in health care
  • Digital technologies
  • Intervention development and implementation

Program contact

Nerice Lochansky Luu
Education Administrator
nlochansky@vcu.edu

Apply through the SOPHAS

Department of Health Behavior and Policy

Research areas

  • Econometrics
  • Data analysis
  • Health services research
  • Health disparities and health inequity

Program contact

Nerice Lochansky Luu
Education Administrator
nlochansky@vcu.edu

Apply through the SOPHAS

Department of Family Medicine and Epidemiology

Research areas

  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Maternal and child health
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cancer epidemiology

Program contact

Juan Lu, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.D.
Program Director
juan.lu@vcuhealth.org

Apply through the SOPHAS

Department of Biostatistics

Research areas

  • Febrile seizures in childhood
  • Breast cancer
  • Periodontal disease
  • Taxicogenomics

Program contact

Yongyun Shin, Ph.D.
Admissions Committee Chair
804-827-2069
yongyun.shin@vcuhealth.org

Apply through VCU Graduate Admissions

Department of Radiation Oncology

Research areas

  • Functional imaging using PET and NMR
  • CT image artifact removal and deformation
  • Radiation therapy dose calculations
  • Four-dimensional radiation therapy
  • Brachytherapy

Program contact

Miranda Cox, M.S.
Graduate Program Coordinator
medphys@vcu.edu

Apply through VCU Graduate Admissions

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal

The Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP) at VCU is an entry point for students interested in doctoral training biochemistry, human genetics, microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology and toxicology, and physiology and biophysics.

Learn more about the BSDP

Financial Support, Tuition and Fees

Full-time doctoral students typically receive financial support that includes a stipend (currently $30,000 per year) and health insurance, plus tuition and fees for the duration of their training as long as they are making satisfactory academic progress. Students might also be eligible for financial aid through the VCU School of Medicine Financial Aid Office.

VCU School of Medicine Financial Aid Office

For more information about specific programs, please fill out our graduate education contact form.