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2006 Scientific Report

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Van Andel Research

Van Andel Research Institute | Scientific Report George F. Vande Woude Director’s Introduction 2 We are now in our sixth year, with the sights and sounds of construction all around us. Easily visible from VARI’s windows—as well as sometimes felt through the floor—are major projects on the other side of Michigan Avenue. Directly north of us is a large excavation destined to become a parking ramp/hotel/retail site. One block east is another that will become the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion of Spectrum Health. And immediately west, cores have been drilled over the past two months in preparation for construction of the Phase II addition to our own VAI building. That addition, when complete, will provide us with the space to increase our research programs and staff substantially, with major benefits to our existing cancer studies as well as our newer Parkinson disease initiative. Personnel notes We congratulate Jim Resau, who heads up our newly organized Division of Quantitative Sciences. The purpose of the reorganization was to provide coordinated and integrated support for investigators and special programs within VARI. The PIs of the programs will continue to develop core resources and independent research projects to advance their respective fields. The Division includes the laboratories of Analytical, Cellular, and Molecular Microscopy (J. Resau); Microarray Technology (J. Resau); Computational Biology (K. Furge); Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics (G. Cavey); and a new laboratory under development, Molecular Epidemiology. Dr. Resau will also continue to serve as Deputy Director for Special Programs. Congratulations also to Rick Hay, Ph.D., M.D., who was listed as one of “America’s Top Physicians” for 2004–2005 by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. Dr. Hay is engaged in establishing his new Laboratory of Noninvasive Imaging and Radiation Biology. As Deputy Director for Clinical Programs, he is establishing the Office of Translational Programs, charged with developing relationships between VARI and clinical entities. He is also overseeing the establishment of a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility. Bin Teh recently told me of his need to spend more time directing his laboratory and involving himself more deeply in his scientific collaborations and studies. I completely understand his position, yet it was with regret that I acceded to his resignation as a Deputy Director. Both his lab and VARI will benefit from his renewed efforts to uncover how cancer originates and develops. I have appointed Nick Duesbery as our new Deputy Director for Research Operations. Some of the activities that fall within that area are space allocations, the library, and our seminars and symposia. From VARI’s beginning, Nick has been an active participant in our operations and committees, including the IACUC, the Postdoc Advisory Committee, and the Promotion Review Committee. I am pleased that he has agreed to take on this additional responsibility, and I’m sure his contributions in this role will benefit us all.

VARI | 2006 It is also my pleasure to announce that Pamela Swiatek has been promoted to Senior Scientific Investigator. Pam joined VARI in August 2000 to establish the Germline Modification Program, and she has done an outstanding job providing both services and technology to support the development, analysis, maintenance, and preservation of mouse models for the study of human diseases. She has secured or helped secure more than million of extramural funding, and she had a key role in the development of the Core Technology Alliance (CTA). Her efforts to support the planning and development of a continuation proposal for submission under the 21st Century Jobs Fund Program have been invaluable to VARI as well as to our CTA partner institutions. Pam had a keen interest in broadening her administrative skills, so she enrolled in the MBA program in executive management at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Pam completed the program while fully engaged in her responsibilities at VARI and was awarded the MBA degree in 2005. We are fortunate to have Pam as a colleague. Grants Our investigators have continued to compete successfully for external funding for their research, both from the government and from private organizations. In 2005, Eric Xu was awarded a five-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, for his project “Structural Genomics of Orphan Nuclear Receptors.” In addition, Brian Haab received an NIH/National Cancer Institute R21 award for the study of “Longitudinal Cancer-Specific Serum Protein Signatures” over two years. Cindy Miranti was awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society for the study of “Integrin and RTK Signaling and Crosstalk in Prostate Epithelial Cells” over four years. Cindy also received a two-year grant from the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation for work on the metastasis suppressor KAI1/C. 3 Craig Webb was funded under an FY2005 appropriation from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Program initiative at the Institute. And, Nick Duesbery has received a three-year NIH/NCI award from the Underrepresented Minorities Program to support a research trainee on his MEK signaling R01 project. Sok Kean Khoo, of Bin Teh’s Laboratory of Cancer Genetics, received a grant in 2005 from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan to study the genetics of familial renal cell carcinoma. My own Laboratory of Molecular Oncology has received funding from two firms for sponsored research studies of proprietary compounds they have developed. We will be investigating the potential of these compounds in pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo systems as anticancer therapeutics. It is important to note that, in addition to success in competing for grant funding, the work done under the grants we have received is being translated into publishable results. VARI has published 226 peer-reviewed articles through April 1, 2006, with another 13 articles in press. I am proud of the productivity of our labs and their dedicated personnel.

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