Canceled – Van Andel Institute Connection Breakfast


To be added to the scientific events notification list, please click here.

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Canceled – Van Andel Institute Connection Breakfast

March 19 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am

Unfortunately we will be canceling this event due to growing concerns about the COVID-19 virus. This was not an easy decision, but the health and safety of the public and our employees must be our top priority. Thank you again for your time and understanding.

Join us for breakfast — and hear from Van Andel Institute scientists and educators who are working on exciting research initiatives and education programs that are making our world a healthier and more hopeful place.

This is a great opportunity to get together for a delicious breakfast and become better informed about all the great work taking place on Medical Mile!

Complimentary valet parking will be available at the main entrance to Van Andel Institute.

Please note, this event is invitation only. 


Terra Tarango

Ben Johnson, Ph.D.

Manpreet Kalkat, Ph.D.


8:00 a.m. Guest arrival and breakfast

8:30 a.m. Welcome remarks and speaker introductions

Terra Tarango Why Should I Learn This? How VAI is Making Learning Meaningful, Memorable and Fun for K–12 Students
Ben Johnson, Ph.D. Dissecting the Origins of Ovarian Cancer in Single Cells
Manpreet Kalkat, Ph.D. Novel Approaches to Understand the Origins of Colon Cancer

9:15 a.m. Q&A session with audience

9:30 a.m. Closing remarks

Director & Chief Education Officer, Van Andel Institute for Education

Terra Tarango is an accomplished executive in the education industry with more than 15 years of experience in educational publishing and services. Prior to joining VAI, Tarango served as President of SDE, one of the largest providers of professional development for pre-K through 12th-grade educators in the U.S. Before that, she developed award-winning print and digital curriculum with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the largest educational publisher in the nation. She is an expert in instructional climate and culture and has devoted her career to increasing curiosity, creativity and critical thinking in the classroom.

As Director and Chief Education Officer, Tarango oversees Van Andel Institute for Education and its efforts to improve science and inquiry-based instruction in K12 education. She and her team provide innovative science programs for students and world-class professional development for educators.

Postdoctoral fellow, Shen Lab & Triche Lab

Dr. Ben Johnson earned his B.S. in biology from Calvin College and his Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan State University. His graduate work focused on developing chemical probes to dissect molecular mechanisms of environmental sensing and adaptation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), with the ultimate goal of identifying new therapies against TB infections. The small molecules identified often would not directly kill TB in vitro and instead acted as anti-virulence compounds, disarming the pathogen during infection. Thus, computational biology approaches were used in conjunction with “wet” experiments to narrow down putative pathways altered in response to treatment with these experimental compounds to generate tractable hypotheses. Following graduate school, he worked as a bioinformatics research scientist in the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core at Van Andel Institute doing sequencing data analysis. In 2019, he joined the laboratories of Drs. Tim Triche and Hui Shen as a postdoctoral fellow.

Postdoctoral fellow, Laird Lab

Dr. Manpreet Kalkat completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at University of Toronto, where she earned a B.Sc. with distinction in human biology, an M.Sc. in physiology and a Ph.D. in medical biophysics with a focus on novel regulators of Myc activity. This work further elucidated Myc’s role in tumorigenesis and may lead to novel strategies for inhibiting Myc in cancer. Over the years, she has won numerous awards for research and scholarship, including the prestigious Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Doctoral Fellowship. In 2017, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Peter Laird at Van Andel Institute as a postdoctoral fellow.

Contact Madison Eaton at 616.234.5454 or via email for more information.


March 19
8:00 am - 9:30 am
Event Category:


Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States
+ Google Map