Dr. Sarah Bodbyl joins Van Andel Institute Graduate School as associate dean

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (July 12, 2022) — Van Andel Institute Graduate School has named Sarah Bodbyl, Ph.D., as associate dean.

In this role, Bodbyl will support Institute faculty in curriculum and course design, implementation, and review. She will lead professional development courses and support graduate students in applying for predoctoral fellowships.

Sarah Bodbyl, Ph.D.

“My aim is to support and strengthen Van Andel Institute Graduate School in developing the next generation of innovative and effective biomedical researchers,” said Bodbyl. “I am excited to work with the research faculty and the graduate program staff to enhance the student experience and expand Van Andel Institute’s profile as a leader in biomedical doctoral education.”

Prior to joining the Institute, Bodbyl served as a faculty developer for the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center at the Colorado School of Mines, a public research university in Golden, Colorado, that recently was awarded an R1 “very high research activity” designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. She previously held several positions at Michigan State University in the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education and at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. Bodbyl earned her undergraduate degree from Calvin University and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Kansas.

“Dr. Bodbyl has demonstrated a deep commitment to training the next generation of scientific leaders throughout her career,” said Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D., dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School. “We are delighted that she is bringing her professional development expertise to our Graduate School, and we have no doubt she will have a tangible, positive impact from the outset.”

The addition of Bodbyl to Graduate School leadership comes during a sustained growth period. In 2021, the Graduate School moved into new classroom facilities at 234 Division Ave. to accommodate its growing student body. The accredited program offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology, as well as M.D./Ph.D. programs to train physician-scientists. The program features a problem-based curriculum enabling first-year students to think and learn like research leaders in pursuing important questions relevant to human disease. Senior students focus on dissertation research and expanding leadership, grant-writing and communication skills.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting-edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to nearly 500 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at vai.org.