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25th Anniversary Highlights of Hope

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  • Donor publication
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  • Highlights of hope
  • Spring summer
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  • Epigenetics
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This is the 25th anniversary edition of Highlights of Hope, published in Fall 2021.


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS CHRISTINE BOELKINS, CAROL VAN ANDEL & VICKY LUDEMA, 2013 2013 First Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Dinner & Award Presentation held This award honors individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to VAI’s mission through volunteer service and philanthropic efforts. Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award Recipients 2021 The Dave & Karen Custer Family, Dr. Juan And Mary Olivarez, Otsego Public Schools, Preusser Jewelers & Bee Brave 2019 Jeff Battershall, Jerry & Karen Deblaay, Kirk Gibson, Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation & Sally Schaafsma 2018 Duncan Lake Middle School, Jeffery Roberts, Therese Rowerdink, Susan Stafford & West Ottawa Purple Power 2017 Sue Jandernoa, Timothy Long, The Michelle Lunn Hope Foundation, Peter & Joan Secchia & John Zimmerman 2013 First A Conversation Luncheon Hosted by Carol Van Andel held (TOP PHOTO, LEFT TO RIGHT) DR. ERIC ACHTYES, DR. LENA BRUNDIN & DR. MARK EASTBURG JOIN MARANDA & CAROL VAN ANDEL VIA VIRTUAL PLATFORM, 2020; (AT LEFT) DR. CARRIE GRAVEEL, 2013 The 2013 event featured presentations from VAI experts on the latest in breast cancer research. Other topics over the years have examined current research into depression, metabolism and nutrition, pediatric cancer and more. 2016 Peggy Greydanus, Debbie Kinney, Jamie Mills & Rachel Mraz 2015 Leigh’s, George Sr. & Linda Sharpe, Blair & Michelle Sharpe & George Jr. & Missy Sharpe 2014 Lori “Maranda” Cook, Bella Fiorenzo, Mariah Otolski, Sydney Vinton & Allie Wittenbach 2013 Christine Boelkins & Victoria Ludema 2014 VAI and Spectrum Health’s Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center establish partnership to stimulate regenerative medicine for heart disease The joint effort was made possible by a significant donation from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. 34 2013 – 2014

2014 Renowned scientist Dr. Peter A. Jones leads Van Andel Institute for Research into the future A winning strategy When renowned scientist Dr. Peter A. Jones first visited VAI, he knew he was in the right place to build something incredible. All the pieces were there: state-of-the-art facilities, an outstanding team of scientists and staff and exceptional support from the Van Andel Family and the West Michigan community. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Jones accepted the challenge: It was time to put VAI on the map. DR. PETER A. JONES, 2020 Originally from South Africa, Jones had spent the previous 37 years in Los Angeles, where he most recently led University of Southern California’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Over the years, he had spearheaded groundbreaking research into epigenetics, a set of processes that regulate our genetic instruction manual and that are integral to health and disease. His discoveries helped bring the fledgling field to the forefront, where it continues to give rise to new cancer therapies. Upon arriving at VAI as chief scientific officer, Jones immediately set to work building on the strong foundations laid by the Institute’s Founding Research Director and legendary cancer scientist Dr. George Vande Woude. Jones envisioned VAI as the global destination for cutting-edge research, powered in part by vast collaborations designed to translate lab discoveries into life-changing patient care. Over the years, Jones expanded VAI’s research and recruited both outstanding early career scientists and distinguished, established investigators. He also made impact a priority — VAI is now known the world over for its groundbreaking research into epigenetics and its efforts to translate these discoveries into innovative patient care through the Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team. This collaborative endeavor was established in 2014 and leverages the collective brainpower and resources of leading cancer scientists, physicians and organizations to move promising epigenetic treatments for cancer into clinical trials. In 2020, Jones kicked off an ambitious new phase of strategic growth that has led to the hire of six new faculty from renowned institutions in the U.S. and abroad. This next stage in the Institute’s growth has set our trajectory for years to come, further establishing VAI as a global destination for innovative research and a catalyst for paradigm-shifting collaborations. To attain the growth, reputation and impact VAI’s founders envisioned, we needed a plan. Since his arrival at VAI, Dr. Peter A. Jones has led development of four iterative strategic plans, each designed to grow our scientific capacity and, with it, our impact on human health. Research 1.0 Establish gravitational pull to Grand Rapids by recruiting top scientific talent Research 2.0 Support and develop our existing scientists while recruiting early career scientists into our areas of strength Research 3.0 Build successful programs in our areas of scientific strength Research 4.0 Elevate VAI’s reputation as a hub for groundbreaking research and catalytic collaboration DR. PETER A. JONES & DAVID VAN ANDEL, 2014 VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 2014 35

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