Spit for Science is an effort to bring VCU’s research expertise in substance use and behavioral and emotional health “home” to VCU in ways that will benefit our students and our university community. The project was developed by Dr. Kenneth Kendler, Director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) and Dr. Danielle Dick, the Founding Director of the Institute for Research on Behavioral and Emotional Health (IRBEH). The project is currently run by Dr. Karen Chartier.

VIPBG is a world-renowned research institute focusing on genetic and environmental risk factors for psychiatric and substance use disorders. IRBEH brings together researchers from across the university who study behavioral and emotional health, and has the goal of promoting behavioral and emotional health through the integration of research with policy, programming, and practice.

One of the VCU 2028 themes is to become a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high quality experiences focused on inquiry, discover, and innovation.  Spit for Science offers students the opportunity to get involved in research. We engage students in the research process in many ways, including:

  • Providing the opportunity to experience being a participant in research.
  • Raising awareness and understanding of the human factor that is behind research findings that all of us are routinely exposed to in the media. 
  • Providing generalized  feedback to the students about findings that come out of the project, so they can understand how the information they provide is being used.

It is our hope that the shared experience of engaging in research will stimulate conversation and discussion about the research process among all VCU students.