About Us

About Van Andel Institute

Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI has grown into a premiere research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 360 scientists, educators and staff.

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), the research division of VAI, is dedicated to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies. The Institute’s scientists work in on-site laboratories and participate in collaborative partnerships that span the globe.

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), the education division of VAI, is leading a national revolution in science education by uniquely empowering teachers to engage students to think and act like scientists. VAEI is dedicated to strengthening science education through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum—from elementary up to the professional level.  

Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense problem-focused Ph.D. degree in cellular, molecular and genetic biology. By combining rigorous, inquiry-based coursework with extensive experience in laboratories led by the Institute’s expert faculty, VAIGS prepares students for productive careers in biomedical research and beyond.

Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s grassroots community awareness and fundraising program that connects individuals, schools, teams and companies that want to join the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases to the resources needed for action.