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2020 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Research
  • Hope
  • Institute
  • Clinical
  • Michigan
  • Scientists
  • Diseases

RESEARCH DAN ROGERS —

RESEARCH DAN ROGERS — NEW THERAPIES, ONE TRIAL AT A TIME All new therapies for diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s began in a lab — the culmination of years of research, scientific testing and rigorous clinical trials. These trials, which evaluate the safety and effectiveness of potential new treatments in real people, are the conduit that translate discoveries from the lab to a point where they can benefit patients. For more than five years, Dan Rogers, clinical research manager at Van Andel Institute, has helped organize and manage the Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, a collaborative effort that brings together leading scientists, physicians, philanthropic organizations and companies to improve the standard of cancer care. Along with a small but incredibly talented team of experts, Rogers helps the team to propel the discoveries made in labs into clinical testing — a critical step to getting new therapies to the patients who need them most. “When you hear David Van Andel, VAI’s chairman and CEO, say there are patients out there right now who are counting on us to come up with better treatments and diagnostics, it resonates with me the urgency of our mission.” — DAN ROGERS “My dad passed away from cancer in 2016 and was fortunate to live a long and quality life — even after diagnosis,” Rogers said. “I often think about how the work I am involved in now in advancing better treatment options for cancer patients have and will have an impact on people like my dad — extending their lives and giving them more time with their loved ones. When you hear David Van Andel, VAI’s chairman and CEO, say there are patients out there right now who are counting on us to come up with better treatments and diagnostics, it resonates with me the urgency of our mission.” Rogers grew up in a family surrounded by medicine, science and the concept of service. His father worked for many years as an emergency room physician, which gave Rogers an early insight into the world of patient care. “As any typical young person, I resisted working in the family business — medicine — for quite a while. But, after working as an emergency room tech as a summer job in college, I developed an understanding of the importance of helping those in need and DAN ROGERS I was hooked,” Rogers said. “Now, I have this great opportunity to work for an Institute that can benefit human health, and as a member of the team I can play a role in clinical trials that bring new therapies to patients across the U.S. and the world. And knowing that is really gratifying and humbling.” 8 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

BRYN EAGLESON — ONE OF THE INSTITUTE’S ORIGINAL RECRUITS When Van Andel Institute’s founding director of research, Dr. George Vande Woude, started the Institute’s research program in 1999, he recruited bright, young scientists and experts to help him build something truly unique. One of those recruits was Bryn Eagleson. A director in the Institute’s Core Technologies and Services, her work directly supports scientists as they uncover new diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and many other diseases. Motivated by the Institute’s mission to benefit human health for current and future generations, and its collaborative, innovative work environment, Eagleson has made VAI her professional home for more than 20 years. After two decades of hard work, she now understands the role her work has played in helping shape VAI into a global epicenter for biomedical research and education. With no plans to slow down, Eagleson looks forward to serving the Institute’s mission until she retires. “My hope is that all of this cutting-edge research can soon become translated into new ways to help people in the clinic, and that our work can have a lasting benefit to human health,” she said. “It’s been amazing to build something from the beginning and to know my work has contributed to this incredible research. It is truly something I am so proud to be a part of.” BRYN EAGLESON VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 9