Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology is a research-intensive, interdisciplinary program that prepares students for successful careers as independent investigators. Students receive rigorous training across fields including genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, epigenetics, neuroscience, oncology, immunology, structural biology and metabolism. At the Institute, students are more than trainees — they are scientists who play an integral role in the transformative research underway in its labs. Additionally, our low student to faculty ratio ensures that student have frequent one-on-one mentorship from their thesis advisor.
GO FROM STUDENT TO SCIENTIST
Neurodegenerative disease research at Van Andel Institute Graduate SchoolVan Andel Institute is a world leader in Parkinson’s disease research, and is working to translate its findings into ways to slow or stop disease progression — something no current therapy can do. This work is becoming increasingly urgent: by 2050, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease is expected to nearly double to 14 million worldwide. Our scientists take a multifaceted approach that combines basic research into genetic and epigenetic contributors and disease pathology with efforts to repurpose existing medications to treat Parkinson’s. VAI scientists also investigate related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies.
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Bachelor of Arts or Science (B.A. or B.S.) degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment Typical preparation includes courses in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Applicants with other academic backgrounds may be considered if they provide appropriate evidence of excellent training, qualifications and motivation. Research experience As an important part of admission criteria, research experience may include undergraduate research internships, summer research programs, Master’s thesis research or medical research clerkships. In addition, a sample of your writing (such as a research report) will be required on your application. Successful applicants will demonstrate these experiences have provided a thorough understanding of what a research career entails, that they have passion for research, and that they have exceptional talent and aptitude for science. Overall academic excellence The Graduate School does not have a GPA threshold; however, students should demonstrate a solid academic record and commitment to academic excellence. TOEFL score Official TOEFL scores (for international applicants only). Only scores that are less than two years old will be considered. Three letters of recommendation from faculty members It is highly recommended that applicants acquire letters from faculty members who know them and their academic work and, if applicable, who supervised independent study or research. The recommenders’ contact information must be entered in the Supporting Information quadrant of the application, and the system will automatically email the recommenders. High competence in skills important to a career in scientific research These skills include critical thinking, writing and public speaking. A deep passion for understanding the mysteries of life and disease as well as a commitment to the improvement of health. Good character