GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 6, 2024) — Van Andel Institute’s free Public Lecture Series returns March 20. This year’s lineup tackles topics such as cancer and nutrition, Parkinson’s disease, depression, AI in classrooms, and the links between immunity, metabolism and cancer.

All lectures will be held from 12 to 1 p.m. There is no cost to attend but registration is required.

“We’re thrilled to once again host the Public Lecture Series, which gives attendees a chance to hear directly from our scientists and educators about the latest advances and emerging topics in research and K–12 instruction,” said VAI Philanthropy Director Sarah Rollman.

Descriptions of the lectures follow; more information is available at vai.org/public-lecture-series.

The Science Behind Cancer and Nutrition
Evan Lien, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming,
Van Andel Institute

March 20, 2024 | Virtual and in-person

Dr. Lien will discuss what we know about nutrition’s impact on cancer — and what we don’t — and how new breakthroughs could inform tailored dietary strategies to combat cancer.     

When Good Proteins Go Bad — Pathology in Parkinson’s Disease
Michael Henderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science,
Van Andel Institute
April 24, 2024 | Virtual and in-person

Dr. Henderson will give attendees an in-depth primer on Parkinson’s and proteins, and how this knowledge may inform improved strategies for slowing or stopping disease progression.

Navigating AI in K–12 Classrooms
Terra Tarango, Director and Education Officer, Van Andel Institute for Education
Sept. 11, 2024 | Virtual and in-person

VAI’s Education Officer Terra Tarango will offer an insightful lecture that will delve into the transformative role of artificial intelligence in modern education.

The Link Between Inflammation and Depression
Lena Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science, Van Andel Institute
Sept. 19, 2024 | Virtual only

Dr. Lena Brundin will highlight the ways in which biological factors, specifically inflammation, contribute to depression and suicide risk — and detail how new research offers hope for improved care.

This lecture will discuss sensitive topics.

At the Crossroads of Immunity, Metabolism and Cancer
Mike Dahabieh, Ph.D., Joe Longo, Ph.D., and McLane Watson, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Fellows, Russell Jones Lab, Van Andel Institute
Dec. 11, 2024 | Virtual only

Dr. Mike Dahabieh, Dr. Joe Longo, and Dr. McLane Watson will provide an inside look at how metabolism and the immune system work together to keep us healthy — and how new insights into the relationship between these systems may enable breakthroughs in cancer.