VAIGS Alumni

Van Andel Institute Graduate School Alumni Association

The mission of the Van Andel Institute Graduate School Alumni Association (VAIGSAA) is to provide support and connections for our alumni, mentoring for current students, and continued interest in the mission and impact of Van Andel Institute. Click here for more information and VAIGSAA guidelines.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s alumni have gone on to pursue excellent careers in academia, research and industry. Please see the table below for a list of alumni.

 Alumni Mentor Graduation    Thesis/Dissertation Title Current Placement
Jason Cooper, Ph.D. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, Ph.D. 2017  Aging, stress, and pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease: Studies using C. elegans Instructor
Grand Valley State University
Emily Machiela, Ph.D. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, Ph.D. 2017 The role of mitochondrial dynamics in stress resistance and neurodegeneration  
Kevin Maupin, Ph.D. Bart
Williams, Ph.D.
2017 Galectin-3 as a regulator of bone mass Postdoctoral Fellow
Indiana University School of Medicine
Merrill, Ph.D.
Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D. 2017 The role of PI3K class IIa in autophagy

Postdoctoral Fellow
Drs. Matthew Soellner and Sofia Merajver at the University of Michigan

Nick Duesbery, Ph.D. 2017  A role for MEK in arteriogenesis Scientific Technical Writer
Mosaic Laboratories
Medical Writer and Editor
Eric Nollet, Ph.D. Cindy Miranti, Ph.D. 2017 Integrin α6 activity in castration-resistant prostate cancer  
Nikki Thellman, DVM, Ph.D. Steven Triezenberg, Ph.D. 2017  A human neuronal model for herpes simplex
virus latency and reactivation
Manager of Companion Animal Clinical Development
Casey Droscha, Ph.D. Bart
Williams, Ph.D.
2016 Characterizing mechanisms of gene transcription in models of bone development Research Scientist
NorthStar Cooperative
Marie Mooney, Ph.D. Matt Steensma, M.D. 2016 Precision medicine approaches to integrating genomics with cancer therapy: Applications in glioblastoma

Postdoctoral Associate
Duke University
Center for Human Disease Modeling

Dani Burgenske, Ph.D. Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D. 2015 Investigating the role of autophagy in prostate cancer chemoresistance Research Fellow in the Sarkaria Lab
Mayo Clinic
Donald Scholten, Ph.D. Matt Steensma, M.D. 2015 Characterizing tumor hypoxia and anoikis resistance in human osteosarcoma: Addressing critical aspects of disease progression Residency Program in Orthopedic Surgery
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Chiu Ying (Cynthia) Kuk, M.S. Nick Duesbery, Ph.D. 2014 Anthrax lethal toxin is a tumor hemorragic toxin Emergency Medical Scribe
Scribe American
Ken Valkenburg, Ph.D. Bart
Williams, Ph.D.
2014 Developing pre-clinical mouse models of
prostate cancer: Deciphering the roles of tumor
suppressors adenomatous polyposis coli and Smad4
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Pienta Laboratory in the Brady Urological Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Laura Westrate, Ph.D. Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D. 2013 Quantitation of mitochondrial dynamics reveals
critical roles for mitochondrial morphology
in cell cycle progression and apoptosis
Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gia Voeltz
University of Colorado-Boulder
Jonathan Karnes,
Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D. 2012 PI3K class IIα is required for autophagy Vice President of Scientific Operations
Jeff Klomp, Ph.D. Kyle Furge, Ph.D. 2012 Exploring the molecular genetics of onococytic kidney Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology
Natalie Niemi,
Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D. 2012 A characterization of MK-STYX, a catalytically iInactive phosphatase regulating mitochondrial apoptosis Postdoctoral Research Associate
Morgridge Institute for Research