Public Lecture Series

Van Andel Institute Public Lecture Series

Van Andel Institute’s Public Lecture Series brings the knowledge and expertise of the Institute’s scientists and educators to the Grand Rapids community and beyond. Each lecture features themed presentations from VAI experts and collaborators and an open Q&A session with the presenters. Attendees will hear about ongoing research and initiatives, what we know now and what we hope to discover in the future. 

Recent virtual public lectures have covered VAI’s research into Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia with Lewy bodies; metabolism and its effect on future generations; and insights from Van Andel Institute for Education on educating through a pandemic.

Upcoming Public Lectures

A Focus on Depression — March 18, 12–1. p.m.

A Focus on Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting more than 264 million people around the world. Often misunderstood as a prolonged period of sadness, depression is a serious condition that has its roots in several psychological, social and biological factors that vary from person to person. Research by VAI and Pine Rest scientists, as well as others around the world, suggests that inflammation may be an important trigger for depression and also may provide critical new avenues for prevention and treatment.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free and available 24/7 at (800) 273-TALK (8255).


A Focus on Clinical Trials and Collaboration in Parkinson’s Disease — April 20, 12–1 p.m.

A Focus on Clinical Trials and Collaboration in Parkinson’s Disease

For the millions of people around the world with Parkinson’s, treatments that slow or stop disease progression are desperately needed. One promising approach to find such therapies is drug repurposing — rigorously evaluating medications for other diseases, such as diabetes, as potential treatments for Parkinson’s. The foremost initiative in this area is the International Linked Clinical Trials, a program spearheaded by Cure Parkinson’s in collaboration with Van Andel Institute that brings together some of the world’s leading Parkinson’s scientists, clinicians and advocates to clinically evaluate whether existing medications can impede Parkinson’s progression.


Save the date for future lectures!
  • A Focus on Metabolism May 13, 12–1 p.m.
  • A Focus on Parkinson’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Science Sept. 30, 12–1 p.m.
  • A Focus on Education Dec. 9, 12–1 p.m.

Exterior photograph of the entrance to Van Andel Institute

Past Events

Click here to view all of the previous events in our Public Lecture Series.