Weil Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Research celebrates grand opening at VCU

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Photos by Allen Jones, University Marketing.

On Oct. 24Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate the grand opening of the Weil Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Research at VCU. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building first floor lobby, 1217 E. Marshall St.

Max Harry Weil, M.D., Ph.D., the founder of the specialty of critical care medicine, founded the institute. It is widely regarded as the premier basic science cardiopulmonary resuscitation research laboratory in the world, with staff performing research on a broad area of emergency medicine and critical care topics. Current research focuses on improving outcomes of CPR, circulatory shock, life-threatening heart failure, acute lung failure and overwhelming infections that produce septic shock. The institute is also making significant advances in life-sustaining medical technology.

“After a yearlong search for an academic medical partner at which to relocate, the institute’s board of advisors unanimously chose VCU as their new home based on the academic medical center’s excellent clinical and resuscitation program,” said institute director Wanchun Tang, M.D.

Wanchun Tang, M.D.
Wanchun Tang, M.D.
Joseph Ornato, M.D.
Joseph Ornato, M.D.

Tang, who also serves as a professor of emergency medicine at VCU School of Medicine, moved with the institute from its international headquarters in Southern California to VCU earlier this year when the institute reestablished at VCU.

Initiatives such as VCU’s Advanced Resuscitation, Cooling Therapeutics and Intensive Care program attracted the Weil Institute to the university. The program that was developed at VCU uses advanced resuscitation techniques and therapeutic hypothermia to improve patient outcomes following cardiac arrest.  World-class emergency medical services provided by Richmond Ambulance Authority and the surrounding county’s ambulatory services also attracted the Weil Institute to VCU.  

“It is such a logical partnership,” said Joseph Ornato, M.D., who will serve as co-deputy director of the institute in addition to his current role as chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at VCU School of Medicine.

Mary Ann Peberdy, M.D.
Mary Ann Peberdy, M.D.

Ornato will be joined by co-deputy director Mary Ann Peberdy, M.D., who also serves as a professor of internal and emergency medicine at VCU School of Medicine.

“What we did not yet have at VCU was a basic science laboratory that focused on CPR,” Ornato said. “What we now have is one of the strongest comprehensive basic science, clinical and translational resuscitation program in the world.”

Relocating the Weil Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Research to VCU pairs one of the world’s best basic science resuscitation laboratory with an equally world-class clinical and translational resuscitation program. The institute’s move is the latest addition to VCU Health’s broader critical care research landscape, which includes VCU Medical Center being home to the only American College of Surgeons-verified adult and pediatric Level I trauma center in Central Virginia and the only verified burn center in the state.

Weil Institute at VCU


About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and