11 months ago

2007 Annual Report

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Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes Positions within Van Andel Research Institute run the gamut from research associates, scientists, and technicians to lab managers, investigators, and directors to specialized roles. These people work diligently to keep labs running smoothly and research moving forward. Here we highlight a few of the many who work “behind the scenes.” Angelique Berens Assistant Research Technician Works on Met research and helps to manage lab J.C. Goolsby Histotechnologist Works on receiving, processing, embedding and sectioning tissue Angelique Berens’ goal is to become an oncologist, maintaining an important role in cancer research and the development of new therapeutic options throughout her career. Berens is excited about a VAI collaboration with Tel Aviv University that has resulted in “genetic signatures” of Met levels in breast cancer that has shown strong correlation with prognosis of human breast cancer patients. “These signatures can be used for personalizing anti-Met therapy,” she said. “As a future physician, it is very rewarding to see the research I am involved in have clinical applications in the near future.” Berens is leaving VAI in 2008 to attend medical school for four years at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. J.C. Goolsby was born and raised as a sharecropper in the tobacco fields of North Carolina. Starting at age seventeen, he served in the Navy for almost ten years. “Being the first of my family’s generation to obtain a college degree thanks to Dr. Jim Resau and VAI has raised my awareness of the importance of a college education,” said Goolsby, who started at VAI as the head of Housekeeping. Goolsby plans to complete his degree in Biology at Grand Valley State University and go to school to become a histologist. Van Andel Research Institute

Roberta Jones Director of Research Administration Coordinates all support functions for the research laboratories Sok Kean Khoo Associate Director of Laboratory of Germline Modification and Cytogenetics Roberta, or “Bobbie,” Jones worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 1967-1970 during the Vietnam War and was struck by the many examples she witnessed of the resilience of the human body and spirit and the courage of patients in the face of painful treatments and rehabilitation. Jones has worked with VARI Director George Vande Woude, Ph.D., since 1983 when they were both working at the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center in Maryland. She remembers when she first came to VAI: “I arrived in Grand Rapids when our building was still a hard-hat construction site. Watching the building rise and then become populated with highly motivated scientists who are truly making a difference has been very exciting. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.” Responsibilities include research, customer service, and training Sok Kean Khoo, a native of Malaysia who received her Ph.D. in Tokyo, was excited when she heard of a job opportunity at VAI. “I felt that America was doing some of the most advanced bioscience research,” she said. Khoo draws satisfaction from the fact that she is directly supporting translational research at VAI through her work. She encourages young people to pursue careers in science by describing her career to students in the local Junior Achievement program. VARI Behind the Scenes 17

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