Epigenetics

Overview

Department of Epigenetics

Virtually all 37.2 trillion cells in our bodies have the same DNA, the spiraling molecule that contains the genetic instructions required to make us who we are. But if every cell works from the same playbook, how and why does the human body have so many different types of cells? Why do some become skin cells while others become muscle cells, heart cells or brain cells?

The answer is epigenetics — a complex set of processes that determine when and to what extent certain genetic instructions are carried out. Epigenetic processes are vital for healthy cellular function and, when things go awry, they can play major roles in disease.

Scientists in VAI’s Department of Epigenetics seek to understand how epigenetic changes may either protect us from or predispose us to complex diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and metabolic disorders. By investigating the epigenetic processes that fine-tune DNA, our scientists aim to pinpoint the origins of these complex diseases and determine how they are impacted by our past, present and future.

Our Faculty

J. Andrew Pospisilik, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Epigenetic Origins of Heterogeneity and Disease

Stephen Baylin, M.D.

Co-leader, Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team

VAI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team

Nick Burton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Environmental Impacts on Health and Epigenetics

Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Epigenetic Regulation and Environmental Impacts

Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon)

Chief Scientific Officer

Epigenetic Therapies

Peter W. Laird, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Cancer Epigenetics

Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Epigenetic Pathways in Disease

Scott Rothbart, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Chromatin and Epigenetic Regulation

Hui Shen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Epigenomics Analysis in Human Disease

Xiaobing Shi, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Histone Modifications and Chromatin Regulation

Piroska Szabó, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Developmental Programming

Tim Triche, Jr., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Translational Biological Informatics

Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon)

President and Dean, Van Andel Institute Graduate School

Hong Wen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Epigenetics

Epigenetics and Transcription

Adjunct Faculty

Ganging Liang, M.D., Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty

Primary Appointment: University of Southern California

Roland Chandler, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty

Primary Appointment: Michigan State University

Department Staff

Darrell Chandler, Ph.D.

Scientific Grant Writer

Lauren Dunkelberg, B.A.

Senior Administrative Assistant I

Amy Nuffesse

Senior Administrative Assistant II

Recent Publications

Our Impact

We're raising thousands to save millions

We’re turning hope into action for the millions of people around the world affected by diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Find out how you can help us make a difference.

  • 171 studies published from Nov. 1, 2020 to Oct. 1, 2021
  • 68 studies in high-impact journals from Nov. 1, 2020-Oct. 1, 2021
  • 41 clinical trials launched
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