Van Andel Institute earns prestigious grant to train postdoctoral fellows in cancer epigenetics

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Aug. 18, 2021) — The National Cancer Institute has awarded Van Andel Institute a five-year, $1.7 million grant to establish a cutting-edge training program for postdoctoral fellows in cancer epigenetics, a growing field with untold potential to impact human health.

The new Cancer Epigenetics Training Program combines extensive professional development with comprehensive, interdisciplinary research training by VAI’s internationally recognized cadre of experts. Postdoctoral trainees also will have access to the Institute’s state-of-the-art shared scientific resources and technologies as well as opportunities to participate in established translational research programs and partnerships led by VAI investigators.

Epigenetic abnormalities are universally found across cancers and serve as major drivers for malignancy, making them promising new targets for the development of novel cancer therapies. As such, the field — and its capacity for producing breakthroughs — is rapidly expanding.

“In the past few years, VAI has become a global destination for groundbreaking, collaborative cancer epigenetics research,” said VAI Chief Scientific Officer Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon). “Postdoctoral trainees will emerge from our Cancer Epigenetics Training Program with extensive, rigorous training and a solid foundation from which to launch their independent research careers.”

Jones and VAI Associate Professor Scott Rothbart, Ph.D., will lead the program in collaboration with Erica Gobrogge, Ph.D., program director of VAI’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The program also benefits from the guidance of its advisory committee, which includes renowned scientists from across the U.S.

VAI’s Cancer Epigenetics Training Program is now accepting applications from candidates who are near completion of a Ph.D., M.D. or other appropriate terminal degree. For a full list of eligibility criteria, please visit vari.vai.org/cancer-epigenetics-training-program.

The Cancer Epigenetics Training program is supported by a National Cancer Institute T32 training grant (no. T32CA251066). The content is solely the responsibility of VAI and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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 more than 400 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 cell biology. Learn more at vai.org.