I’m listening to the secrets of plants.

Lauren Wood, M.S.

Ph.D. candidate, integrative life sciences

The effects of climate change can be seen up and down the coast. But what’s harder to see is how the planet’s fluctuating temperature impacts us farther inland. The plants I study on the barrier islands of Virginia can tell us what else to expect as the planet gradually gets warmer. My name is Lauren Wood, and deciphering the mysteries of plants to understand our changing planet is how I challenge the norm. VCU is where I make it real.


The Integrative Life Sciences program facilitates interdisciplinary research and helps students work with faculty members across the university. I chose the Department of Biology’s Coastal Plant Ecology Lab where I can merge my interest in climate change with my study of shrubbery along our coasts so that we can better adapt to our changing environment.

Explore VCU programs

VCU offers 42 doctoral degree programs

See more facts and rankings »


Long-term ecological research appeals to me. With such a huge data set, we have the potential to see trends and postulate what may happen next. Shrub encroachment is happening globally, but it’s easy to track with the CPEL data. I’ve learned a lot with the help of my supportive classmates and professors.

Explore VCU culture

59% of the student population is female

See more facts and rankings »

Connect with us.