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Research and VAES

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About us

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, our ambition to help communities flourish is at the center of what we do. CALS has identified four major strengths — food, health, economy, and environment — that we will use to address the shared challenges facing our world. By working together, we can all thrive.

Our research focuses on:

  • Comprehensive health & wellness
  • Community empowerment
  • Predictive environmental solutions
  • Cultivating lifelong learners
  • Resilience and productivity through innovation

Departmental research

Faculty at the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics maintain research programs that address a wide array of topics that impact both Virginians and people around the world. Research is conducted in five broad areas: agribusiness, environmental and natural resource economics, food and health economics, international development and trade, and rural and regional development. 

The Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education focuses on three core program areas: teaching and learning in agriculture, leadership and social change, and community education and development. Faculty and graduate students have responsibilities in the missions of each core area: teaching, research, and Extension.

The Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences main research objective is to optimize efficiency of animal production, while maintaining or enhancing the environment. The research programs focus on applied science, which has an immediate application to animal agriculture, and basic science, which provides scientific foundation for further basic and applied research discoveries. 

We are involved in generating new tools and knowledge that will advance our understanding of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Drug Discovery, Microbiology, Stress Responses in Plants, Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Faculty recruit graduate students from our own PhD and MS programs, as well as students from the Microbiology, Translational Plant Sciences, Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (GBCB) and Translational Medicine and Biomedical Health (TMBH) graduate programs on campus.

Our faculty and students work in a broad range of biological systems, from natural systems, such as watersheds with a focus on water resources, to built systems, such as bioreactors and bioprocessing facilities. We work from the nanoscale to the macroscale. We seek to improve animal, human, and environmental health through development and design of healthy food products, vaccines, bioenergy, biomaterials, and water quality management practices. We convert biological resources, such as switchgrass, plant proteins, and animal manure, into value-added products, such as biopharmaceuticals, biofuels, and biomaterials, in a sustainable manner.

Departmental research areas are internationally recognized for cutting edge, industry-revelant research in protecting public health, enhancing food quality and making technological advancements in the field of food science.

Research in action

Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (VAES)

VAES performs basic and applied research on agricultural, environmental, natural, and community resource issues related to the future needs of Virginia — and the world.

Agricultural Research and Extension Centers (ARECs)

ARECs deliver research and Extension programs, serve as field-research sites and field laboratories, and are program sites for producers, school groups, and the state's citizens.

Latest CALS research updates

Latest intiatives


104 Hutcheson Hall (0402)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: (540) 231-6336
Fax: (540) 231-4163