Sep. 18, 2023

VAI Epigenetics Symposium: Exploring the Epigenome, Transcriptome and Metabolome

The 2023 VAI Epigenetics Symposium: Exploring the Epigenome, Transcriptome and Metabolome will highlight the latest advances in epigenetics research, from chromatin and transcriptional regulation to developmental and cancer cell plasticity.

This year, the symposium also will explore interactions between epigenetics and cellular metabolism, where pioneering efforts have recently spotlighted causal connections between cellular uptake and routing of metabolites to triggerable switches in cell fate.

Our outstanding roster of speakers will highlight:

  • Integration and interactions between the (epi)genome, transcriptome and metabolome
  • Coupling of the genome to metabolic states
  • Epigenetic heterogeneity, plasticity and functional state triggering
  • Exploring the scales of –omics capabilities: new modalities and new depths
  • Probabilistic and developmental programming

For questions or to be added to our email list, please contact Courtney Zirkle at [email protected].

When is VAI Epigenetics Symposium? How much does it cost?

The VAI Epigenetics Symposium will take place Monday, Sept 18, 2023. The registration fees for the symposium are:

  • $50 for trainees (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows)
  • $100 for non-trainees

What does the registration fee include?

The registration fee includes breakfast and lunch each day of the symposium, as well as an evening networking reception.

Is the VAI Epigenomics Workshop part of the symposium?

No, the VAI Epigenomics Workshop is a separate workshop for graduate students. More information is available here. The workshop will begin at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, and end at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 21, 2023. All trainees accepted to participate in the workshop will be invited to attend the entirety of the symposium at no charge.

When does registration for the VAI Epigenetics Symposium and the application period for the VAI Epigenomics Workshop open?

Registration for the symposium and the application period for the workshop opens March 2023.

Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, is the final day to register for the symposium. Onsite registrations will not be accepted.

Monday, May 22, 2023, is the final day to apply for the workshop. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by the end of May.

Important Dates

March 20, 2023 – Workshop application period opens

March 20, 2023 – Symposium registration opens

May 22, 2023 – Workshop application period closes

End of May 2023 – Workshop applicants notified

Sept. 4, 2023 – Symposium registration closes

Can I register a group for the VAI Epigenetics Symposium?

Yes, the registration form allows one person to register and pay for a group. Once registration is complete for one person, please click “add person” in the bottom right corner of the form. Input the second person’s information and continue in this manner until all parties in the group are registered. The system will then charge a total cost for the group.

Will late registrations for the VAI Epigenetics Symposium be accepted?

Unfortunately, late registrations will not be accepted. All attendees must register online by 11:59 p.m. EST on Sept. 4, 2023.

What if I need accessible parking?

Please contact Courtney Zirkle at [email protected] to discuss any accessibility needs.

What if I have dietary needs?

Please include any dietary allergies or restrictions on your registration or application form. Every effort will be made to accommodate requests.

How do I become a sponsor?

Please contact Courtney Zirkle at [email protected] for more information on sponsorship opportunities.

What is the refund policy for the symposium?

Refund requests must be made in writing on or before Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 and sent to Courtney Zirkle at [email protected]. Alternatively, you may cancel your registration through the CVent portal on or before Sept. 7, by entering your confirmation number and following the steps to cancel. You will find a link to modify or cancel your registration in your registration confirmation email. The card used during registration will be automatically refunded 100% of your registration fee.

Refunds will not be accepted after Sept. 7; however, you may substitute a registrant in your place through Sept. 7, 2023.

How do I get to VAI?

Van Andel Institute is located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is approximately 20 minutes from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. VAI is conveniently located within walking distance of multiple local hotels. Lyft, Uber, and taxi services are available in Grand Rapids.

Looking for accommodations? Here are some close suggestions:

  • Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton – 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Distance to VAI: 0.6 miles
  • JW Marriott Grand Rapids – 235 Louis St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Distance to VAI: 0.7 miles
  • AC Hotel – 50 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Distance to VAI: 0.6 miles

Code of Conduct Guidelines

We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free, non-discriminatory symposium experience for all participants, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristics covered by applicable law. We will not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. We expect participants at our events to engage in constructive and professional discussions at all times. Harassment can include unwelcomed attention, inappropriate comments or jokes that refer to gender differences, sexual topics, requests for dates, or other sexual activities as well as the use of language that may demean or degrade individuals. These behaviors are not appropriate for any of our conference venues, including talks, workshops, networking sessions, poster sessions, social networking platforms, and other online media platforms. Any participant violating these guidelines will be removed from the symposium at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Anyone who has experienced the above, or who has witnessed such behavior, should notify Courtney Zirkle. Anonymous reporting may also be done through the EthicsPoint Hotline.

Submitted abstracts should represent original research and may cover any biomedical research topic. The title should be brief and descriptive, and the body should include rationale, methods, and results. Please prepare abstracts using the below template. Abstracts should be submitted during the registration process.


Presenting Author1,2, Other Author1, and Last Author1,3(Style = Authors)

1First Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, 2Second Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, and 3Last Dept., Institution, City, State, Country (Style = Affiliations)

Body of abstract using 300 words or less. Define each abbreviation at first use. All fonts should be Arial, 11 pt. and text should be single-spaced. Once you have filled in this template, choose File>Save As and save your file as a Word document (.doc or .docx) with the filename lastname_abstract. (Style = Body)



Andrew Pospisilik1,2 and Russell Jones1

1Department of Metabolic and Nutritional Programming, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, United States, 2Department of Epigenetics, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, United States

Cancer is essentially a disease in which cells have lost their normal checks on cell proliferation. Cancer cells also have evolved to evade elimination by the immune system, the body’s defense mechanism against foreign invaders. Recent studies suggest…

Symposium SponsorScientific SponsorDiscovery Sponsor
Number Available13Unlimited
Name badge sponsorX
Keynote sessions sponsorX
Poster session sponsorXX
Opportunity to display company information on 8’ tableXX
Logo on printed agenda XXX
Tickets to attend the symposium421
Company logo displayed on the event website, program and electronic signageXXX

Professor, Department of Epigenetics
Van Andel Institute

Dr. J. Andrew Pospisilik seeks to understand how we become whom we become, and how our disease susceptibility is defined from early on in life, even before conception, with the long-term goal of being able to predict lifelong health outlook at birth.

Chair and Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming
Van Andel Institute

Dr. Russell Jones is a leading expert in the study of cancer metabolism and immunology. As professor and program lead of the Metabolic and Nutritional Programming group at Van Andel Institute, his work seeks to uncover how cancer cells fuel themselves through metabolic interactions, with the ultimate goal of developing new cancer therapeutics.

Research Program Manager, MeNu
Van Andel Institute

Kelsey joined VAI in 2018 as a scientific project leader I in the Russell Jones Lab. In 2021, she became the scientific program manger for the Institute’s Metabolism and Nutrition (MeNu) Program. She holds a Ph.D. in fiber and polymer science from North Carolina State University.

We look forward to sharing additional speakers soon!

Data Science Advisor, Office of Research, Corewell Health

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Michigan State University

Dr. Prokop received from the University of Akron a B.S. in microbiology, B.S. in animal physiology, and a Ph.D. in integrated biosciences, all of which rooted interest in merging different scientific disciplines. He then was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Howard Jacob at the Medical College of Wisconsin to advance systems for characterizing human variants. He followed the Jacob lab to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology where he also worked as a senior scientist in the lab of Richard Myers. In 2018, Dr. Prokop formed his lab at Michigan State University and in 2023 he started a new leadership role at Corewell Health. The Prokop lab assists in implementing new sequencing tools and bioinformatics to clinical and animal model systems. They specialize in variant characterizations, RNA sequencing with various platforms, viral/bacterial characterizations, and the implementation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into the preclinical modeling of disease. The lab’s goal is to bring the expansion of sequencing past just clinical whole genome, helping to reach a future where genomics can lend insights to each individual.

Event Details

For more information on the VAI Epigenomics Workshop: At the Intersection of Epigenomics and Metabolomics for graduate students, please click the arrow below.

Venue: Van Andel Institute 333 Bostwick Ave. NE Grand Rapids

Contact Info:

Email: Courtney Zirkle