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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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This is the 25th anniversary edition of Highlights of Hope, published in Fall 2021.

Building on success,

Building on success, embracing the future Van Andel Institute’s story began with a vision: to make Grand Rapids a world leader in biomedical research and education, for the betterment of human health for generations to come. In the last 25 years, we’re happy to say that this dream has become a reality. Over the years, we’ve made vital breakthroughs in diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, and in the areas of cell biology, structural biology, and metabolism and nutrition. We’ve found evidence of the origins of Parkinson’s disease in places you wouldn’t expect, such as the nose and the appendix. We are a powerhouse of epigenetics research, investigating the very code that makes us who we are. Through it all, we are committed to translating discovery into the clinic, where it can help people live longer, healthier lives. You’ve read about our array of clinical trials designed to find effective new treatments — work that we are excited to continue and expand in the coming years. VAI also remains dedicated to developing the next generation of scientists who will build on the foundations laid by our world-class faculty. Our expert educators at Van Andel Institute for Education offer cutting-edge science educational programming for K–12 educators and students, and Van Andel Institute Graduate School trains the scientific leaders of tomorrow through a rigorous Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 50

We celebrate these achievements, but we also know that our work is far from done. The Institute is growing, pushing toward a future of boundless potential and innovation. Let’s recap some recent successes outlined in these pages. As of fall 2021, VAI had recently brought on six new faculty members under a recruitment push to expand our research capacity in our areas of strength. In August 2021, the Graduate School welcomed its largest and most diverse student cohort yet: 14 students from eight countries. Van Andel Institute for Education has deftly responded to upheavals in the educational landscape by tailoring its programs to be available online, in-person or a hybrid of the two — positioning us well as a reliable asset to educators everywhere. All these achievements could not be accomplished without community. We want to thank every person, every school and organization, and every family that has contributed to our success over the years. There are countless who invested their time, energy and resources into our work, and we are so grateful for the support of our mission through your generosity. In large part because of this support, Van Andel Institute has come so far in just a quarter-century. From those early days, with a staff in the dozens and temporary research space at Butterworth Hospital, we’ve grown into an organization boasting nearly 500 scientists, educators and staff, with work that is recognized around the world. The Medical Mile continues to spring up around VAI, and we’re proud to be part of such strong investment and growth in the health and biomedical sciences in Grand Rapids. Our founders’ vision set the pace and tone for a bright future where VAI can help lead the charge into a healthier future for all of humankind. To our dedicated supporters, Van Andel Institute is proud of all that we’ve accomplished in the last quarter-century. But more than that, we are immensely grateful for the support you have given us from the very beginning. Whether you give of your time, energy, impact or funds, we appreciate you more than we can say. The incredible research and education breakthroughs that come from VAI could not happen without the support of our community. Your generosity helps make sure we can continue our work to improve health and enhance lives. Thank you for 25 wonderful years — we look forward to many more! VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 51

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