Throughout the year, we highlight Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s doctoral students. This month, we’re featuring Andrea Parham, a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. J. Andrew Pospisilik.

Andrea is from Portage, Michigan. Prior to joining VAI Graduate School, she worked as a lab technician in the Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory and Molecular Ecology Laboratory at Michigan State University, and as a lab technician in a commercial drug testing lab. From 2010–2020, she completed active duty service with the Michigan Army National Guard.

What is the focus of your thesis research at Van Andel Institute?

Early in life, the embryo gets everything it needs — proteins and RNA — from the mom. I’m studying how the embryo takes control and continues to develop.

Why did you choose Van Andel Institute Graduate School?

One of the things that really drew me to Van Andel Institute Graduate School is that there’s so much faculty support and opportunity for collaboration here. You really feel like a member of a team and not just a student.

What do you hope to achieve with your Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology?

Two of my hobbies are horseback riding and fishing. After finishing at the Graduate School, I’m really hoping to look for a postdoctoral fellowship that allows me to get into the animal health field.