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Neuro­degenerative Science

Overview

Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Worldwide, between 7 million and 10 million people have Parkinson’s disease and more than 30 million have dementia. Currently, there is no cure and no effective way to slow or stop disease progression.

VAI scientists aim to change that by investigating the complex factors that give rise to neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, from genetics and epigenetics to aging, inflammation and the structure of the brain itself — even the role of the gut and the immune system. By leveraging discoveries made in VAI’s labs and collaborating with researchers around the world, our scientists are working to translate breakthroughs into life-changing new treatments for Parkinson’s, dementias and depression.

West Michigan Neurodegenerative Diseases (MiND) Program

Van Andel Institute’s West Michigan Neurodegenerative Diseases (MiND) Program is a collaborative effort to identify genetic and epigenetic changes that may play roles in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and dementias. Our goal? To move the needle in our understanding of these diseases, power new discoveries and leverage our findings to inform groundbreaking treatment strategies.

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Our Faculty

Darren Moore, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science; Director, MiND Program

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Lena Brundin, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Behavioral Medicine

Gerhard (Gerry) Coetzee, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Post-GWAS Functionality

Michael Henderson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Protein Pathologies and Genetic Risk in Neurodegeneration

Laurent Roybon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science; Director, MiND iPSC Program

Patient-Based Models of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Qiang Zhu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Genetics, Epigenetics and Therapeutic Innovation in Neurodegenerative Diseases

WEST MICHIGAN NEURO­DEGENERATIVE DISEASE (MIND) PROGRAM STAFF

Darren Moore, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science; Director, MiND Program

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Laurent Roybon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science; Director, MiND iPSC Program

Patient-Based Models of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Erin Williams, Ph.D.

Research Program Manager, MiND

Arianna Colini Baldeschi, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Roybon Laboratory

Ashley Douglass, B.S.

Senior Administrative Assistant II

Olivia Licari

Research Technician, MiND Program

Estibaliz Santiago-Mujika, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Roybon Laboratory

MiND iPSC Platform

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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.

  • 121 peer-reviewed papers published in 2023
  • 62 peer-reviewed papers published in high-impact journals in 2023
  • 55 clinical trials launched to date
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