Van Andel Institute Graduate School Offers Exciting Science-Based Research Programs

Van Andel Institute

Are you interested in life sciences and thinking about graduate school? Check out a cutting edge program at the Van Andel Institute! The Walter Center had a chance to speak with a rep from the school, and this is what she had to say:

What does the Van Andel Institute offer?

“Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an agile biomedical research and education organization that unleashes innovation to multiply impact. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the Van Andel family, VAI collaborates around the world to advance bold ideas in biomedicine and education. With a staff of more than 400 and a growing network of partners, VAI studies the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translates its findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies to improve human health. The Graduate School at VAI offers a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology through a research-intensive, interdisciplinary program that prepares students for successful careers as independent investigators. VAI also is dedicated to creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive, offering engaging programs for K–12 students and transformative professional development and instructional tools for teachers. Find out more about Van Andel Institute by visiting”

What sets your program apart from similar programs?

“We are a small graduate school housed within an independent research institute, Van Andel Institute, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We offer one program, a PhD in cell and molecular biology, but the focus of each student’s research and dissertation project really depends on the lab they choose.  The institute focuses on research related to epigenetics, neurodegenerative disease, cancer and cell biology, structural biology and metabolism/nutrition.  Since we are a small research institute, there’s a wonderful feeling of collaboration and community. In addition, we provide extensive support to our students- both financially and emotionally.  Though we are small, we have a full time staff person devoted to providing non academic student support in regards to personal counseling, career coaching, stress management and the like.  In addition, our facilities are outstanding and really second to none.”

Do you offer any scholarships, fellowships, or funding programs students should know about?   

“Yes! All of our students are fully funded through their entire PhD program.  Our students receive a starting stipend of $36,000 with annual increases, a laptop computer, health/dental/vision insurance and $2000 a yar to travel to scientific conferences.”

What advice do you have for students who are interested?

“I would encourage interested students to visit our chat room at the virtual fair and check out our website at  I’m also happy to answer any questions, and I can be reached at  We have quite a few virtual events coming up and they’re all listed on our website.”

Talk to a School Representative

Visit our website here!

Register for the Fall 2020 IU Graduate School Fair

Open The Van Andel Institute in Handshake

  1. Sign in at
  2. Click on “Events”
  3. Click on “Graduate Fair” next to the search bar, scroll down to browse, or use the filters to narrow down types of events.
  4. Choose the career fair or event you’d like to attend.
  5. Click the blue “RSVP for Event” or “Register” button on the right-hand side of the page.
  6. Done! You’ll receive a confirmation email from Handshake — be sure to take a look for further instructions!
By William Pape
William Pape Peer Coach William Pape