News briefs 1/11/18

January Science on Tap: Ask a Paleontologist event

The study of paleontology is vast and exceeds far beyond the preconceived notion that the study is limited to dinosaurs. Explore the world of paleontology with Grand Valley State University’s biomedical sciences professor Laura Stroik at the January Science on Tap: Ask a Paleontologist event. Stroik will be discussing the passion and drive behind many paleontologists’ work and also what studying in the field of paleontology entails. 

The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 11, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids. Arrive early to ensure finding a good seat.

GVSU receives grant to research cure for Parkinson’s disease

The cure for Parkinson’s disease will be further sought after by a group of Grand Valley State University researchers after their team received a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health. 

The team of researchers stem from GVSU, Van Andel Research Institute and Rush University. The technology used for the testing was created by GVSU alumni Nicholas Huisingh, Jordan Straight, Daniel Doyle and Douglas Peterson while they were undergraduate students. Merritt DeLano-Taylor, associate professor of biomedical sciences at GVSU, will be working as one of three principal investigators for the research.

The project will test if introducing a modified protein, known as PM-Nato3, will protect dopamine neurons that are often lost when a patient has Parkinson’s.

GVSU receives grant for innovative projects in technology

Several Grand Valley State University programs and initiatives received grants from the Grand Rapids SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA). 

GVSU’s Applied Medical Devices Institute (aMDI) received $680,000, which gives students and faculty the chance to work with a pair of local technology companies on developing new medical devices.

GVSU’s Padnos College of Engineering, as well as Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI) and Kendall College of Art and Design, collaborated to receive a three-year $700,000 grant. SHI gives both GVSU and Kendall students the opportunity to develop ideas created by Spectrum staff.

‘Try before you buy’ week for group exercise classes

The Grand Valley State University Rec Center is holding free group exercise classes from Monday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 14. The annual promotion allows the GVSU community to participate in more than 30 group exercise classes before purchasing a pass to access group classes throughout the semester.

The classes are all 45 minutes unless otherwise indicated on the Rec Center website. Some new and noteworthy classes that visitors can try include Hip-hop yoga and Pilates. 

Group exercise passes are $30 for students and $70 for faculty, staff and alumni. 

To see the complete class schedule, visit