Van Andel Institute Graduate School Faculty

Our faculty is primarily made up of Van Andel Institute (VAI) investigators, each of whom have a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent academic degree and a distinguished record of scholarship and contributions to the scientific community.

Adjunct faculty members may supplement the permanent faculty. These may include visiting scientists from other research institutes, faculty members from local colleges or universities, postdoctoral fellows at VAI or practicing professionals.

Meet the Faculty

Genetics, neurodegeneration, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, complex disease genomics, bioinformatics, data science

Investigating how inflammation in the periphery and the central nervous system can give rise to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts/behavior

Pathogenetic mechanisms and pharmacological treatment in cell and animal models of Parkinson’s disease

Epigenetics, intergenerational inheritance, C. elegans, metabolism, host-microbe interactions

Synaptic physiology, neural plasticity, excitotoxicity, neuromodulation, neural circuitry, electrophysiology, optogenetics, chemogenetics, neurodegenerative diseases models

Understanding how the genetic predisposition of complex diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease impose risk to aid in the development of therapies that slow or halt these diseases

Investigating the brain’s intricate signaling network using state-of-the-art structural biology techniques, such as cryo-EM

Investigating the mechanisms that govern how stem cells are made, how they are maintained, and how they become cancerous

MET signaling, RTK signaling in breast cancer progression and therapeutic resistance, mouse models, targeted therapeutic approaches to breast cancer

Genetics, neurodegeneration, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, next-generation sequencing, rare neurological diseases

Microarray-based protein analysis methods, cancer-induced changes to blood proteins, pancreatic and prostate cancer diagnostics and extracellular protein-protein interactions

Investigating the underlying pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease and leverages that knowledge to develop and evaluate therapeutics for these devastating diseases

Biospecimen Science; biorepository and biospecimen management; histology, microscopy, and microarray technology

Studying the mechanisms by which epigenetic processes become misregulated in cancer and contribute to the disease phenotype

Investigating metabolic control of immune function, metabolic competition in the tumor microenvironment and the role of signal transduction pathways and metabolic pathways in cell proliferation

Investigating the interplay between the immune system, metabolism and cellular programming; developing new treatments for cancer, infections, autoimmunity and neuroinflammation

Multidisciplinary studies of the role of DNA methylation in cancer, using mechanistic, clinical translational, genome-scale and bioinformatic approaches

Mapping the intergenerational effects of parental diet and toxin exposure

Using advanced technologies such as cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to investigate eukaryotic DNA replication, the bacterial proteasome system and regulation and modification of the Notch receptor

Utilizing single-particle electron cryo-microscopy and other biophysical/biochemical methods to study the structure and function of membrane proteins

Elucidating the normal biological function of Parkinson’s disease-related proteins and the molecular mechanisms through which changes in these proteins cause neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration in inherited forms of Parkinson’s disease

Investigates mitochondria with a special focus on the mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis (mtFAS) pathway

Investigating DNA methylation, the role of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in cancer, and functional characterization of epigenetic regulators

Investigating the role of epigenetic regulation in intergenerational effects, phenotypic variation and disease heterogeneity

Investigating basic molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling chromatin accessibility, interaction and function

Studying epigenetic alterations in human diseases at the genomic scale, with a focus on cancer, especially female cancers and cross-cancer comparisons

Investigates the dynamic epigenetic mechanisms that regulate chromatin and transcription in an effort to better understand how they impact cancer development

The role of Wnt signaling and tumor pressure in osteosarcoma pathogenesis, genetic mouse models of osteosarcoma, translational sarcoma studies

Investigating the molecular mechanisms responsible for resetting the epigenome between generations in general and in the context of genomic imprinting

Development of statistical and mathematical methods to dissect pediatric and adult cancers, with a focus on cancers of the blood in children

Regulation of eukaryotic gene expression and chromatin, herpes simplex virus infection. Lab inactive as of September 2018

Studies epigenetic regulation of gene expression and chromatin dynamics, with a focus on how dysregulation of the homeostasis of chromatin states leads to the development of human cancers

Lrp5 and Lrp6 function, Wnt signaling in bone development and disease and prostate and breast cancer, osteosarcoma

Bioinformatic and statistical analysis of genome-scale datasets as it applies to complex disease and the translation of genomics to the clinic via the development of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers

Structural biology, cryo-EM, epigenetics, ubiquitin, posttranslational modifications, DNA-protein complexes, biochemical reconstitutions

Regulation of glucose and lipid transport and metabolism during tumor cell growth. Dissecting the relationship between nutrient input and redox balance within cells

Interplay of signaling or cellular processes in skeletal development, homeostasis and diseases. Mouse genetic models for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, skeletal aging and tissue repair

Molecular and cellular pathophysiology of dementia and motor neuron diseases with the goal of developing innovative therapies to treat these devasting neurological disorders

Emeritus Faculty

George Vande Woude, Ph.D.
Distinguished Scientific Fellow, Emeritus

(In Memoriam)