Dr. Bart Williams receives VAI Graduate School award

Excellence in Graduate School Education award given to invested, passionate educator

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 30, 2019) — Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) awarded educator and scientist Dr. Bart Williams the second annual Excellence in Graduate Education award during its May 12 commencement ceremony. The award honors Williams for his deep investment in the founding and growth of VAIGS in addition to his mentorship of students.

Dr. Bart Williams

“Over the past 20 years, Bart Williams has been a valued and influential leader,” said Dr. Steve Triezenberg, president and founding dean of VAIGS. “Williams has designed an innovative course for first-year students; has mentored numerous students to Ph.D. and master’s degrees; and has shaped the work of key faculty committees. In every setting, he shows a deep understanding of the mission and philosophy of the Graduate School and a strong focus on what will benefit the students.”

Williams serves as the Director of the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology. In this role, he has mentored graduate students as well as junior faculty colleagues toward their goal of becoming effective biomedical research leaders. All of the students Williams mentored have continued on to pursue successful science careers.

Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Carroll University and a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as a postdoctoral fellow with the National Cancer Institute. He began working at Van Andel Institute in 1999 and is now a world leader in the study of bone biology and the Wnt signaling pathway, a molecular communication channel that can play a role in cancer.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit 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 premier research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 400 scientists, educators and staff. Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense, problem-focused Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular 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. The Graduate School thrives within the state-of-the-art facilities of Van Andel Research Institute, with access to extensive core technology support and the resources of collaborators in Grand Rapids, Michigan and around the country. Learn more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting vai.org.