Postdoc Preview

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Postdoc Preview

October 14, 2021 - October 16, 2021

Are you a senior graduate student exploring your postdoc options?

VAI Postdoc Preview is a three-day program that provides selected applicants the opportunity to visit Van Andel Institute to learn about our postdoctoral training opportunities, meet one-on-one with our internationally recognized faculty and explore our extensive scientific resources, including our state-of-the-art Core Technologies and Services. This year’s Preview will be held Thursday, Oct. 14 through Saturday, Oct. 16. The application period is now closed.

There is no cost to attend. VAI will provide transportation, lodging and meals for all selected applicants. We also are pleased to offer family care grants for those caring for children or other family members. More information and the application may be found below.

About postdoctoral training at VAI

VAI labs conduct world-class biomedical research in cancer epigenetics, neurodegeneration, metabolism, cell biology and structural biology — all supported by outstanding Core Technologies and Services. We offer numerous fully funded postdoctoral positions across our areas of focus. Learn more about postdoctoral training opportunities at VAI here.

In addition, we have two new fellowship programs to support postdoctoral training at VAI: a National Cancer Institute T32-funded Cancer Epigenetics Training (CET) program, and the Inspire Fellowship program for postdocs who identify as underrepresented minorities. Application portals for both of these programs will be made available in the coming weeks. Please note that attending Postdoc Preview does not guarantee you a fellowship or a postdoc position at VAI; we encourage you to also apply to one or more of our open postdoc positions and fellowship opportunities (see FAQ tab below for more information).

Questions? Please contact Dr. Erica Gobrogge, program director of VAI’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, at

Program Agenda



Helpful Links

Thursday, Oct. 14

Various times

Participants arrive. VAI will work with participants to book their transportation to Grand Rapids.

6–8 p.m.

Welcome dinner at a local restaurant with current VAI postdocs 

Friday, Oct. 15

8:45–9 a.m.

Transportation from hotel to VAI

9–9:45 a.m.

Breakfast and overview presentation
Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon), Chief Scientific Officer
Scott Rothbart, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epigenetics
Erica Gobrogge, Ph.D., Program Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

9:45–11:45 a.m.

One-on-one meetings with faculty and/or an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs representative
During this time, each participant will have three, 30-minute, individual meetings with faculty and/or with Office of Postdoctoral Affairs staff to learn about VAI’s benefits and other programming. 

11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Lunch accompanied by research talks from current VAI postdocs

12:45–2 p.m.

One-on-one meetings with faculty and/or an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs representative
During this time, each participant will have two, 30-minute, individual meetings with faculty and/or with Office of Postdoctoral Affairs staff to learn about VAI’s benefits and other programming. 

2–3 p.m.

Tour of VAI

3–3:30 p.m.

Break with snacks

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Research in Progress, presented by Huilin Li, Ph.D., chair of VAI’s Department of Structural Biology
Every Friday, VAI scientists and staff gather for a research presentation from one of the Institute’s labs. This time offers an exceptional opportunity to keep up to date with the latest research and to discuss ideas with colleagues in a collaborative environment.

4:30–5:15 p.m.

Every Friday after Research in Progress, VAI scientists and staff gather for TGIF, a time to socialize and unwind at the end of the week.

5:15–5:30 p.m.

Transportation from VAI to hotel

5:30–6:15 p.m.

Break at hotel

6:15–6:30 p.m.

Transportation to restaurant

6:30–8:30 p.m.

Dinner with VAI faculty at a local restaurant

Saturday, Oct. 16

9–11 a.m.

Tour of Grand Rapids, including visits to current postdocs’ residences

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Lunch with VAI postdocs at a local restaurant

Various times


The application period for the 2021 VAI Postdoc Preview is closed.

Eligibility: Applicants must be current graduate students at U.S. institutions who anticipate beginning a postdoctoral fellowship by November 2022. Individuals who identify as underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to applicants who are eligible for VAI’s NCI T32-funded Cancer Epigenetics Training Program and VAI’s Inspire Fellowship.

How to Apply: Prior to starting the application, please compile a list of VAI faculty members (found here) whose research interests you, along with the following required materials:

  • Curriculum vitae OR an NIH-style biosketch
  • Research statement: The statement should not exceed two pages and should highlight your research background, including your thesis project, with an explanation of how your experiences connect to your ideal area of interest for postdoctoral research
  • One reference letter from your thesis advisor or thesis committee member

What COVID-19 precautions is VAI taking for Postdoc Preview?

VAI is following CDC guidelines in its facilities. In addition, participants will have their own hotel rooms. If you have further questions about our COVID-19 precautions, please email Dr. Erica Gobrogge, program director of VAI’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, at

Is there a cost to attend?

There is no cost to attend! VAI will arrange your transportation, lodging and meals and will reimburse you for reasonable additional expenses you incur (e.g., airport parking).

How many applicants will be selected to attend Postdoc Preview?

VAI will welcome up to 20 successful applicants to the 2021 Postdoc Preview. This is a competitive application process; learn more by visiting the “Apply” tab.

I would like to attend but I have child or family care needs. Should I still apply?

Yes! VAI is pleased to offer family care grants of up to $500 to selected applicants. For more information, please contact Eric Miller at

If selected, do I get to choose the faculty with whom I meet?

Yes! As part of your application, we ask that you select faculty members you would like to meet. We will do our best to pair you with the faculty of your choosing, depending on their availability. You can learn more about our faculty by visiting VAI’s lab directory here or by exploring each department’s home page:

If I am selected to attend the Postdoc Preview, am I guaranteed a postdoctoral position at VAI?

No. Postdoc Preview offers an opportunity to learn about postdoctoral training opportunities at VAI, meet potential faculty mentors and network with other future postdocs, all while exploring Grand Rapids. We encourage you to apply to our different postdoc programs either before or after you attend Postdoc Preview. You can learn more about our postdoctoral offerings and how to submit an application at the links below:

Who reviews applications? When will I find out if I’m accepted?

Applications will be reviewed by VAI faculty members and VAI Office of Postdoctoral Affairs staff. All applicants will be notified of VAI’s decision by Sept. 17. We are particularly interested in applicants whose stated research interests fit with our faculty members’ research.


October 14, 2021
October 16, 2021
Event Category:


Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States