VP for Research and Innovation


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation’s mission is to foster transformative research, discovery and innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University through excellence in service.

We partner with faculty in all schools and departments as they seek funding, plan studies, establish collaborations, calculate budgets, submit grant applications, negotiate industry contracts and secure patents and licensing agreements. Our commitment has resulted in record levels of sponsored research and has placed VCU among the nation’s premier public research universities. 

Through our passion for discovery and willingness to take on challenges, we continue to advance the work that matters most and position the university as a national leader in research, innovation, creativity and scholarship.

Across our two VCU campuses in Richmond – Monroe Park and MCV – and at VCU Qatar, we conduct groundbreaking research in the arts, education, engineering, humanities, health and social sciences disciplines that enhances the human experience and creates a societal impact.  

VCU takes on what others find challenging. We engage in and advance the work that matters most. Our research provides the necessary training ground for young trainees and students who understand that learning is a lifelong process.

Vice President Rao's role

As ‌Vice‌ ‌President‌ ‌for‌ ‌Research‌ ‌and‌ ‌Innovation‌ ‌at‌ ‌VCU, Dr. Rao ‌is‌ ‌responsible‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌overall‌ ‌strategy,‌ ‌compliance,‌ ‌growth‌ ‌and‌ ‌expansion‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌university’s‌ ‌research‌ ‌enterprise.‌ ‌As‌ ‌the‌ ‌institutional‌ ‌official,‌ ‌he‌ ‌leads‌ ‌the‌ ‌OVPRI in‌ ‌its efforts to ensure ‌the‌ ‌optimal‌ ‌operational‌ ‌efficiency‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌divisions‌ ‌of:‌ ‌Clinical‌ ‌Research,‌ ‌Sponsored‌ ‌Programs,‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Compliance,‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Development,‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Integrity‌ ‌and‌ ‌Ethics,‌ ‌Communications‌ ‌and‌ ‌Outreach,‌ ‌Finance‌ ‌and‌ ‌Operations,‌ ‌Information‌ ‌Systems, ‌and‌ ‌Technology,‌ ‌Commercialization‌ ‌and‌ ‌Economic‌ ‌Development.‌ ‌Dr. Rao‌ ‌oversees‌ ‌VCU’s‌ ‌research‌ ‌institutes‌ ‌and‌ ‌centers,‌ ‌core‌ ‌laboratories ‌and‌ ‌institutional‌ ‌committees‌ ‌including‌ ‌the‌ ‌Institutional‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Care‌ ‌and‌ ‌Use‌ ‌Committee‌ ‌(IACUC)‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Institutional‌ ‌Review‌ ‌Board‌.‌ ‌He‌ ‌also‌ ‌serves‌ ‌as‌ ‌an‌ ‌advisor,‌ ‌board‌ ‌member‌ ‌and‌ ‌trustee‌ ‌of‌ ‌various‌ ‌local‌ ‌and‌ ‌national‌ ‌organizations.‌


Dr.‌ Rao‌ ‌earned‌ ‌his‌ ‌Ph.D.‌ ‌in‌ ‌allergy‌ ‌and‌ ‌immunology‌ ‌in‌ ‌1989‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌Indian‌ ‌Institute‌ ‌of‌ ‌Science‌ ‌in‌ ‌Bangalore,‌ ‌after‌ ‌which‌ ‌he‌ ‌conducted‌ ‌post-doctoral‌ ‌studies‌ ‌at‌ ‌Pharmacia-Experimental‌ ‌Medicine‌ ‌in‌ ‌La‌ ‌Jolla,‌ ‌California.‌ ‌He‌ ‌has‌ ‌focused‌ ‌his‌ ‌research‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌pathogenesis‌ ‌of‌ ‌allergic‌ ‌inflammation‌‌ and‌ ‌has‌ ‌published‌ ‌nearly‌ ‌90‌ ‌peer‌ ‌reviewed‌ ‌manuscripts‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌several‌ ‌reviews‌ ‌and‌ ‌book‌ ‌chapters.‌ ‌Over‌ ‌the‌ ‌course‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌25-year‌ ‌academic‌ ‌and‌ ‌administrative‌ ‌career,‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Rao‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌continuously‌ ‌funded‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌NIH,‌ ‌multiple‌ ‌federal‌ ‌and‌ ‌state‌ ‌agencies,‌ ‌foundations‌ ‌and‌ ‌corporations,‌ ‌securing‌ ‌nearly‌ ‌$20‌ ‌million‌ ‌in‌ ‌grant‌ ‌support.‌