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Solutions to Complex Problems

Virginia Tech is responding to critical issues that impact the human condition through our transdisciplinary communities.

Teams of faculty that are part of the Destination Area initiative are engaging departments, institutes, and centers in a collaborative effort to address complex problems in:

Tech for Humanity

A university-wide effort that emphasizes Virginia Tech’s role as one of the top human-centered comprehensive universities.

Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE)

Quantum Information Systems are everywhere in the science, engineering, financial systems, defense, pharmaceutical drug development and intelligence arenas.

Coastal Mitigation

Virginia Tech is leading a statewide initiative to address population growth in coastal areas in the Commonwealth and finding innovative solutions to foster coastal resilience and prosperity. Collaboration across the Destination Areas, institutes, and centers is leading to development of new methodologies, such as advanced quantitative techniques and scenario planning, new technologies, and novel virtual interactive tools, in order to communicate more effectively about hazards, risk, adaptation and resilience to stakeholders in coastal areas.

Solutions in Action

Climate change sea-level rises could increase risk for more devastating tsunamis worldwide, VT News, Destination Areas

Researchers investigate riverbank erosion, human adaptation, and resilience in coastal Bangladesh, Destination Areas

Infectious disease

Transdisciplinary teams are committed to understanding the fundamental mechanisms involved in the transmission of vector-borne disease, and to lead the search for novel approaches to disease mitigation; scientists at VTCRI are studying the mechanisms of infection, immunity, and cancer in order to better understand how to protect human health; transdisciplinary teams are working to identify molecular and genetic changes and to find the best therapeutic targets for infectious viruses and the ability of the immune system to fight disease in efforts to improve the body’s response to pathogens.

Solutions in Action

Veterinary college scientist awarded NIH grant to study infectious disease, VT News, Destination Areas

Alumna investigates infectious diseases to save lives, VT News, Destination Areas

Rural Health

Working across disciplines at the intersection of culture, environment and human health in rural areas health analytics are opening new insights to how rural communities are disproportionately impacted by a number of health challenges; faculty teams are exploring the environmental and policy implications of historic economic drivers in rural regions; decision science experts are understanding how humans’ well-being is impacted by the conditions of the broader ecologies they inhabit in rural areas.

Solutions in Action

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine student Adam Tate advocates for rural health care and access, VT News, Destination Areas

With traveling clinic, Virginia Tech to take autism services to rural Virginia, VT News, Destination Areas


Increasing the security and resilience of our communities, the nation, and the world requires understanding security as an integrated system of values, capabilities, and preparedness. Faculty in the Integrated Security Destination Area are working with the Hume Center and across traditional disciplinary boundaries to focus on advancing and assuring the security of our vital social, political, and financial networks while balancing the crucial needs and expectations of privacy and governmental oversight.

Solutions in Action

Computer science researcher meets updated phishing attacks head on, VT News, Destination Areas

Research team tests technology that could alert federal agents to potential terrorist threats, VT News, Destination Areas

The Brain: Health, Development, and Decision Making

Faculty teams are exploring the dynamic nature of the brain as it changes and adapts across the lifespan and to a variety of different contexts. Faculty in the Adaptive Brain and Behavior Destination Area are understanding how addiction and the opioid crisis are impacting rural communities; faculty in Blacksburg and Roanoke are understanding brain related health challenges in the local communities. Partnerships with ICTAS and VTCRI are leading to insights on how to prevent brain trauma and linkages between brain trauma and conditions such as epilepsy.

Solutions in Action

Researchers collaborating with National Institutes of Health to develop nonopioid drug for chronic pain , VT News, Destination Areas

Next phase of national concussion study relies on experts across the university, VT News, Destination Areas