Metabolism and Nutrition (MeNu) Program

Van Andel Institute’s Metabolism and Nutrition (MeNu) Program is a collaborative effort to understand the impact of diet and nutrition on human health at the molecular level, with a focus on the relationship between nutrition and inflammation in chronic diseases.

The program is led by Russell Jones, Ph.D., chair of VAI’s Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming.

Questions? Please contact MeNu Program Manager Kelsey Williams, Ph.D., at

Mass Spectrometry Platform

VAI’s integrated mass spectrometry platform is among the best in the U.S. The powerful analysis it provides will enable our scientists to determine detailed information about the molecules that fuel metabolism.

As part of the MeNu Program, new proteomics capabilities are being added to the mass spectrometry services available in-house. Currently our metabolomics capabilities allow us to read the nouns — the metabolites — in the sentence but not the verbs — the proteins/enzymes. Proteomics will expand our capabilities so that we not only read the metabolites present but also capture the actions taken on the metabolites. This is the state-of-the-art technology needed to fully understand metabolic pathways from start to finish.

For more information, please visit the Metabolomics and Bioenergetics Core website here.

Funding for Collaborative Research

Collaboration is at the heart of VAI’s mission to support groundbreaking, life-changing science. To this end, the MeNu Program funds VAI scientists in support of innovative, early-stage research projects, with an emphasis on collaborative pilot studies and developing new tools for metabolism research. Future funding will support larger cross-functional teams seeking to answer paradigm-shifting questions in the field of metabolism.

For information on how VAI investigators may apply for these funding opportunities, please contact MeNu Program Manager Kelsey Williams, Ph.D., at

Pathway-to-Independence Awards

As part of our commitment to training the next generation of scientists, we are pleased to offer our Pathway-to-Independence Award, which will provide funding to selected senior postdoctoral fellows at VAI interested in launching independent tenure-track research careers. The program will present up to two awards each year, which will provide two years of project support under the guidance of their mentor.

For more information, please contact MeNu Program Manager Kelsey Williams, Ph.D., at

1,000 Metabolomes Project

Although each person’s metabolism is unique, there are common features that can inform our understanding of metabolism’s role in health and disease. Our 1,000 Metabolomes Project aims to create a dedicated biorepository to house vital biological samples that will provide an important window into the physiological changes associated with variations in metabolism and disease.

The 1,000 Metabolomes Biorepository will be housed in the Institute’s accredited Biorepository. Informed consent is obtained through our clinical partners. Donors remain anonymous.