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Van Andel Institute appoints new Graduate School dean and chief academic officer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Sept. 26, 2023) — Van Andel Institute has appointed Eric Swindell, Ph.D., as dean and chief academic officer of Van Andel Institute Graduate School, effective Dec. 4, 2023.

Swindell joins the Institute after a distinguished 25-year career in scientific research, with the past several years dedicated to leadership positions in biomedical graduate education. He brings a proven track record as a dynamic, energetic and motivational team builder who possesses a deep understanding of science graduate education and a robust commitment to collaboration and inclusiveness.

“I am excited to join Van Andel Institute and honored to lead the Graduate School in continuing to train the scientific leaders of the future,” Swindell said. “The combination of cutting-edge research, innovative educational programming and the ability to make paradigm-shifting discoveries makes Van Andel Institute a unique home for all trainees.”

Currently associate dean at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas, Swindell comes to Van Andel Institute Graduate School with an extensive background in research as well as graduate education administration, including recruitment, admissions, academic affairs, promotions, and curriculum. His previous experience includes academic leadership roles at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and UTHealth Houston.

“There is no doubt Dr. Swindell will build on the Graduate School’s strong foundations to sustain and extend our our impact on the scientists of tomorrow,” said Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon), VAI chief scientific officer and Graduate School president. “His vision for the Graduate School’s future is bold and exciting. In close collaboration with our faculty, he will further elevate our ability to train graduate students to lead in academia and industry.”

Swindell has deep technical expertise and has held research positions at Baylor College of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute and the University of Texas. The recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, Swindell has served on multiple academic and research committees and published several high-impact papers.

Born in Bermuda, Swindell earned his undergraduate degree in microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Baylor College of Medicine before joining the faculty at University of Texas McGovern Medical School.

ABOUT VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE

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.