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2016 Annual Report

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Meet Van Andel Research

Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s Principal Investigators (continued) Hui Shen Hui Shen, Ph.D., develops new approaches to cancer prevention, detection and treatment by studying the interaction between genes and their control systems, called epigenetics. Her research focuses on women’s cancers, particularly ovarian cancer, and also has shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of other cancer types, including breast, kidney and prostate cancers. She is an assistant professor in Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics. Steven J. Triezenberg Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D., explores the genetic and epigenetic control systems of viruses to understand how infections progress and to reveal new ways to stop those infections. His discoveries with herpes simplex viruses have opened new possibilities for antiviral drug development and have revealed new insights into how human cells control gene expression. In addition to running a lab at Van Andel Research Institute, Dr. Triezenberg is the founding dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School. Gerhard Coetzee Gerhard Coetzee, Ph.D., searches the human genome for minuscule changes that contribute to the onset, progression and drug resistance of many diseases, ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s to rare and heritable disorders. His team deploys genome sequencing technologies and high-powered computational arrays to tease out patterns and interactions of markers and treatment targets from among the human genome’s more than three billion DNA base pairs. Coetzee is a professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. Piroska Szabó Piroska Szabó, Ph.D., studies the flow of epigenetic information from parents to their offspring, with a focus on how epigenetic markers are remodeled during egg and sperm production and how these markers are rewritten after fertilization. These processes have profound implications on fertility and embryo development. Disturbances in epigenetic remodeling are thought to contribute to disease conditions lasting well into adulthood. Szabó is an associate professor in Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics. Center for Neurodegenerative Science Research areas: Parkinson’s disease, depression/suicide, aging, prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington's disease and neuroepigenetics. Lena Brundin As a psychiatrist and a scientist, Lena Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., seeks ways to diagnose and treat depression and suicidality by studying inflammation of the nervous system. Her findings may lead to earlier interventions for depressive patients and for the development of a new class of antidepressants that targets the immune system. She also investigates how inflammatory mechanisms can damage nerve cells in Parkinson’s disease. She is an associate professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. Viviane Labrie Viviane Labrie, Ph.D., studies the dynamic interplay between the human genome and its control system—the epigenome—to understand how neurodegenerative diseases start and progress in an effort to develop improved diagnostics and treatments. Labrie’s scientific pursuits have deepened understanding of conditions from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases to schizophrenia to healthy aging conditions like lactose intolerance. She has also developed new methods for epigenome analysis. She is an assistant professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. 10 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016

RESEARCH Jeffrey Kordower Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., is an international authority on the onset of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases, and works to develop new procedures aimed at slowing disease progression or reversing damage to the brain. He holds a primary appointment at Rush University in Chicago and is a Director’s Scholar at Van Andel Research Institute, where he focuses on designing preclinical studies and clinical trials to translate these new approaches into meaningful changes for people suffering with movement disorders. Darren Moore Darren Moore, Ph.D., seeks new diagnostic and treatment approaches for Parkinson’s by investigating the inherited form of the disease, which comprises five to 10 percent of cases. He aims to translate the understanding of these genetic mutations into better treatments and new diagnostic tools for Parkinson’s, both inherited and non-inherited. Discoveries from Moore’s Lab routinely elucidate the faulty molecular interactions that transform healthy, functioning neurons into diseased ones. Moore is an associate professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. Jiyan Ma Jiyan Ma, Ph.D., studies abnormal proteins that cause neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and prion diseases in humans and animals. His lab has developed new ways to understand how these proteins spread and cause diseases in humans and animals. The lab is also developing new approaches to diagnose and treat these devastating disorders. Ma is a professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, Ph.D., studies the genetics of aging and the mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. He focuses primarily on understanding what causes aging, and how the changes that take place during normal aging contribute to the development of neurodegenerative disease. His work on the relationship between oxidative stress and aging has upended many scientific assumptions about the effect of reactive oxygen species on lifespan. Ultimately, Dr. Van Raamsdonk hopes to leverage the knowledge gained about aging to develop novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. He is an assistant professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016 | 11

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