Graduate student organizers
Zachary DeBruine, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Zach is a third-year graduate student at Van Andel Institute Graduate School working with Dr. Karsten Melcher to investigate the structural basis of Wnt pathway activation. He uses cryo-electron microscopy to solve the structures of Wnt pathway components at the membrane with the goal of guiding the development of Wnt inhibitors and surrogates. Inhibiting the Wnt pathway has been successful in colon and pancreatic cancer, but improving the specificity of these therapies requires a better structural understanding of Wnt pathway activation. He also seeks to discover novel mechanisms for activating Wnt signaling to treat genetic diseases linked to Wnt signaling deficiency.
Parker de Waal, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Parker de Waal is a fourth year graduate student in Dr. H. Eric Xu’s lab. Integrating computational and biochemical approaches, his work focuses on studying the mechanisms of hormone signaling by G protein–coupled receptors and nuclear receptors.
Robert Vaughan, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. candidate
Robert Vaughan is a third year graduate student in Dr. Scott Rothbart’s lab. He is studying mechanisms of DNA methylation maintenance through the proteins UHRF1 and DNMT1. As a member of the Center for Epigenetics, Robert is learning how genomic sequencing technologies are revolutionizing cancer research. He is excited to meet the invited speakers and is grateful to Van Andel Institute Graduate School for the opportunity to organize this meeting.
Scientific organizing committee