Founded by the Van Andel family in 1996 in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Institute is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff — each one deeply connected to the work we do and driven by an urgent desire to make a difference.
VAI scientists collaborate at the forefront of fundamental and translational science in pursuit of breakthrough treatment strategies for cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases. With a growing reputation as a worldwide hub for exceptional basic research, we are known for our catalytic, collaborative approach that accelerates the connection between discovery and impact. Operating without walls, we engage the world’s brightest minds through partnerships with academia, clinical, industry and philanthropic collaborators to catalyze collaboration and produce results.
Join our team
We are hiring! Van Andel Institute is embarking on a major recruitment initiative — we invite applications for six faculty positions at the level of assistant professor to join the 33 faculty in our departments of Epigenetics, Neurodegenerative Science, Metabolism and Nutritional Programming, Structural Biology and Cell Biology. We welcome applications from scientists whose research spans these areas and/or can help drive innovation in these fields of study. We will also consider strong applicants at the rank of associate professor or professor.
VAI is a world leader in cancer epigenetics and Parkinson’s disease research, with growing strengths in metabolism and structural biology and historical strengths in cell biology.
VAI’s epigenetics faculty are dedicated to understanding how epigenetic mechanisms influence health and disease, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the development of new, more effective therapies.
Chair: J. Andrew Pospisilik, Ph.D.
Focal areas: Cancer epigenetics, epigenetic heterogeneity, developmental plasticity, chromatin regulation and DNA methylation
Neurodegenerative science at VAI focuses on identifying the mechanisms that give rise to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia with the goal of contributing to novel treatments that slow or stop the progression of disease.
Chair: Darren Moore, Ph.D.
Focal areas: Parkinson’s disease, dementia, iPSC and animal models, neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative mechanisms
Our Cell Biology team investigates the underpinnings of cancer, skeletal diseases and rare disorders with the goal of better understanding the mechanisms and pathways that give rise to these conditions.
Chair: Bart Williams, Ph.D.
Focal areas: Stem cell biology, growth factor and morphogen signaling, identification and characterization of markers for tumor prognosis, cell-based repair of degenerative diseases, and cellular differentiation
The Metabolism and Nutritional Programming team aims to develop scientifically driven strategies for improving health through advanced prediction, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Chair: Russell Jones, Ph.D.
Focal areas: Immunometabolism, mitochondrial biology, cancer metabolism, metabolomics, nutrition and epigenetics
The Structural Biology team is dedicated to revealing the chemical basis for biological systems in health and disease, by combining cutting-edge technologies such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy with extensive protein biochemistry.
Chair: Huilin Li, Ph.D.
Focal areas: Structural biology in genetic and epigenetic regulation, structural basis of neurodegenerative diseases, and single-molecule and other biophysical approaches.
VAI’s comprehensive salary and support package is equivalent to endowed professorships at traditional universities and includes:
In addition to salary and start-up, VAI provides several internal Faculty Award Programs:
Our Core Technologies and Services offer a comprehensive range of advanced technologies and expertise to support and enhance research at the Institute and at collaborating organizations. Staffed by highly qualified professionals with an acute understanding of their respective fields, the Core team is committed to providing superior service and conducting exceptional science to further the Institute’s goal of improving human health through basic and translational research.
Each VAI investigator receives subsidized Core pricing in addition to VAI-paid 60 hours of bioinformatics/biostatistics support per year.
Learn more about Core Technologies and Services here.
VAI recognizes the essential role high-performance computing plays in nearly all aspects of today’s research landscape. We offer a state-of-the-art computing system with 20 terabytes of free storage for each lab. Our expert team ensures our pipeline runs smoothly and efficiently to maximize efficacy and efficiency.
All junior faculty are supported by mentorship committees of senior VAI faculty and external faculty that meet twice a year at minimum to aid in their development. VAI recently has started providing mentor training for senior faculty through the University of Wisconsin Center for the Improvement of Mentoring Experiences in Research (CIMER) model to ensure that both mentor and mentee get the most out of their experience.
All faculty also take part in VAI’s Good-to-Great management training course that concentrates on key attributes or abilities that are needed to be a successful manager at VAI.
We also are thrilled to provide an Early Career Support Program, run by renowned scientist Dr. Marie-Françoise Chesselet. Dr. Chesselet serves as an external mentor and provides expertise in lab management, grant preparation, and oral and written presentations. She also provides critical, objective assessments of our support programs to ensure we are meeting the needs of our junior faculty.
VAI provides each investigator with second-to-none research, operational and administrative support including:
At VAI, our employees are most valuable when not worrying about health and financial support throughout all facets of their life. Because of that, benefits are an important part of everyone’s well-being, as well as supporting the diverse and changing lives outside of work.
We understand that attracting the highest caliber talent means offering an exciting job and high quality, dependable benefits that meet one’s personal needs. It is our commitment to provide benefits designed to allow you that peace of mind.
VAI is proud to offer a comprehensive and highly competitive benefits package. To learn more, please visit our Benefits Overview here.
Two PPO plans with prescription coverage options are offered which allow you to choose the plan that best serves the needs of your family. Employees can choose between a pre-tax, minimal contribution plan option or a no-cost contribution plan option.
Our comprehensive dental plan pays up to $1,500 annually for each covered individual. We even offer orthodontic coverage up to a lifetime maximum of $1,500!
Our VSP Vision Insurance is easy on the eyes and wallet! Coverage includes eye exams, lenses, frames, contacts and network discounts and is available for employees and their dependents.
Flex Spending Accounts
Extend the purchasing power of your health and dependent care expenses by enrolling in one or both of our pre-tax flexible spending accounts.
Our Research Operations team assists incoming investigators with re-location and set up of their lab. In addition, VAI provides re-location services for house-hunting and a re-location stipend to make your move as easy as possible.
We are pleased to offer six weeks of paid paternity leave for new parents.
VAI provides nine paid holidays that are recognized consistently each year. It is important to us that our employees get to spend these important times with their families and loved ones. Vacation is awarded on the date of hire and thereafter, on the anniversary of date of hire. The amount of vacation depends on years of eligible service. Our program includes a one-year carryover provision, providing you additional flexibility in how you use your vacation.
We also offer bereavement leave of up to three to five days of paid time off for the loss of family members.
PTO (paid time off) allows employees additional time off up to the equivalent of five days per calendar year. These days can be used to deal with personal illness or to care for an ill family member or emergencies. As well as everyday situations such as appointments and school events. There is also a variety of flexible scheduling options.
VAI offers a comprehensive 401(k) plan on a pre-tax contribution or post-tax (Roth) bases. Employees may choose to make a contribution of up to 75% of their pay and VAI will match dollar for dollar up to 5% of eligible pay. In addition, an employer discretionary contribution on top of the matching may be considered on an annual basis.
Why Grand Rapids? Simply put, because it’s the best. But don’t take our word for it — US News and World Report named Grand Rapids no. 19 on its “100 Best Places to Live in the US.” for its “healthy job market, affordable housing, and outdoor recreational activities” and Vogue Magazine listed Grand Rapids as one of the top places to buy a home in 2018 (see a full list of Grand Rapids rankings here). Whether you’re in search of a beach, a craft brew, unique cuisine or the world’s biggest art competition, Grand Rapids and West Michigan have something for everyone. For a full list of the city’s accolades, click here.
Van Andel Institute is an organization made strong through our shared values. These values are the heart of our culture and the essence of who we are when we are at our best. Every day, we commit ourselves to bringing them to life in all we do. Learn more about them here.