exploring complexity in life


center for life sciences education


Summer Residential Governor's School for Life Sciences and Medicine


The curriculum of the GSLSM is designed to immerse the student participants in a rich and deep experience that reveals the inner connections among all the life science disciplines within the practice of medicine. Over the four weeks of the program, students will be engaged in classroom activities and laboratory exercises that will prepare them for the problem-solving case studies that lie at the heart of the Governor’s School curriculum. 

For the first three weeks, students will move through three classroom rotations, each lasting five days.  During that time, students will work with their mentor teachers as they learn specific techniques and concepts unique to each area of study. During the fourth week, students will shadow professional surgeons and doctors involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients at the VCU Medical Center, right here in Richmond, Va.

Students will work as a team to solve problems presented to them in the form of case studies. Each problem, unique in difficulty and setting, will require students to use their knowledge and skill sets learned in each of the modules. Through solving these problems, students will see connections inherent in the study of people, their community and the scientist (or doctor) that studies them.


The Person – In this module the student will experience medicine through the perspective of the patient or individual. It will deal with concepts related to the provision of health care, including topics such as communication, physical examinations and diagnostics. 

The Community – This module addresses the study of human health and the environment at the community level. Activities will include field experiences at the James River.

The Scientist – This third module will focus on the life scientist using problem-solving diagnostics. This module will incorporate molecular techniques, microscopy, specimen analysis, bacteriology and toxicology.


Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Life Sciences
P.O. Box 842030
1000 W. Cary St.
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2030
Phone: (804) 827-5600
Email: lifesci@vcu.edu
Updated: 09/29/2011