11 months ago

2016 Fall/Winter Highlights of Hope

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EDUCATION EMPOWERING SCIENCE STUDENTS Lowell High School biology teacher Heather DeJonge wants to help students see science through a new lens. As part of Van Andel Education Institute’s (VAEI) Partners in Science program, she discovered how to harness their natural curiosity and actively engage them in the learning process. “For too long, learning has been a passive experience filled with lectures and memorization,” DeJonge said. “Students are far more interested when they develop their own questions and research possible answers. My goal is to put them in the driver’s seat right away.” Over the past two years, DeJonge has participated in several professional development programs offered by VAEI, including spending her summers working in Dr. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk’s lab at Van Andel Research Institute investigating the mechanisms of aging, and the role of “With Van Andel Education Institute’s help, we are changing how science is taught and learned and, I believe, creating a generation of self-sufficient learners.” - Heather DeJonge aging in Parkinson’s disease. Last fall, DeJonge started an after-school research club based on experiments she conducted in Van Raamsdonk’s lab. Her students gained an entirely new perspective on science. “Most science classes already have the instructions for lab experiments laid out, and we usually know the outcome,” said Brianna Roest, a junior at Lowell. “The exciting part of Research Club is that we make our own instructions, compare data and learn through trial and error, all while relying on other students to figure out next steps.” DeJonge finds it especially rewarding to see her students take more ownership over their projects. “They not only learn the importance of teamwork, but have become personally vested in their research,” DeJonge said. “Students are checking on their projects throughout the school day —not just during class.” Last spring, Research Club culminated with a unique opportunity for students to present their results to scientists in Van Raamsdonk’s laboratory. This year, students are collecting data that Van Raamsdonk’s lab will use in future research. “Coming face-to-face with real science opened my mind, especially after our indepth work throughout the school year,” said Hunter Krzysik, a junior at Lowell. “The whole experience made me much more interested in choosing science as a career and showed me how ongoing collaboration is an important part of scientific discovery.” Following a successful first year, the Lowell Board of Education decided to expand Research Club into three additional classes for the 2016-2017 school year. Looking forward, DeJonge is confident her work with the Institute will continue to open even more avenues for her students to learn and grow. “With Van Andel Education Institute’s help, we are changing how science is taught and learned and, I believe, creating a generation of self-sufficient learners,” DeJonge said. “It’s an incredible experience. My students inspire me every day.” HEATHER DEJONGE WITH HER STUDENTS AT LOWELL HIGH SCHOOL. 12 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

20 YEARS, 20 FACTS Since 2001, the Institute has provided 14 more than 300 students with summer internships. This year, VAI hosted 38 interns who represented 19 different educational institutions during the two summer sessions. In honor of Van Andel Institute’s 20 th anniversary, we’re sharing 20 facts about the Institute. We hope you learn something new! 1 VAI is home to over 360 employees representing more than 29 countries. 2 Since Van Andel Institute broke ground in 1998, it has spurred vital economic growth in Grand Rapids, including more than billion worth of research and heath care infrastructure along the city’s Medical Mile. 3 Dale Chihuly’s sculpture, Life, was unveiled in 2005 and hangs in the Institute’s lobby. The sculpture was commissioned by Jay Van Andel in 2004 in memory of Betty Van Andel. 4 Three of VARI’s faculty are fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy: • Dr. Peter Jones • Dr. Stephen Baylin • Dr. George Vande Woude 5 VARI’s Founding Research Director Dr. George Vande Woude and current Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones are members of the National Academy of Sciences. 6 VARI is home to three fellows of the American Association for the Advancements of Science: • Dr. Gerd Pfeifer • Dr. Peter Jones • Dr. George Vande Woude 7 VARI’s Biorepository is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and provides biospecimen and biobanking services for several National Institutes of Health-funded projects. 8 All five members of the Research Institute’s first Board of Scientific Advisors were esteemed scientists who were or became Nobel Laureates. • Michael Brown, M.D. • Richard Axel, M.D. • Joseph Goldstein, M.D. • Daniel Nathans, M.D. • Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D. 9 VARI currently has 33 principal investigators. VARI scientists Drs. Peter Jones, 10 Stephen Baylin and Stefan Jovinge played key roles in discoveries that were hailed as notable advances of 2015 by Nature Medicine. Since its founding, VARI investigators 11 have published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles. VARI is part of two large, international 12 collaborations aimed at moving promising therapies into clinical trials—the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team and the VARI-Cure Parkinson’s Trust Linked Clinical Trials initiative. 100% of Van Andel Institute Graduate 13 School doctoral graduates have gone into postdoctoral fellowships or industry positions, as of October 2016. VAEI has worked with more than 15 3,600 students and 2,500 teachers since 1996. The Education Institute’s staff of 15 16 share their space with more than 65 organisms such as bearded dragons, geckos, turtles and salamanders. From 2011 to 2016, VAEI increased 17 the number of teachers participating in face-to-face professional development by 2,240%, reaching more than 1,100 so far in 2016! This year, 750 students (and counting) 18 have participated in a VAEI program, compared to 275 in 2011. The staff at VAEI has a combined 19 total of 244 years of professional experience in the education industry. 20 Purple Community hosts more than 120 events per year, organized by individuals, schools, teams and organizations who raise more than 0,000 annually for Van Andel Institute. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 13

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