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2016 Scientific Report

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EVENTS AND AWARDS

EVENTS AND AWARDS FUNDING Research!America, the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance, which works to make health research a higher national priority, named David Van Andel and George Vande Woude its 2015 Advocacy Award winners. The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established in 1996 to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health, and scientific research. Congratulations to both for a well-deserved recognition of their years-long efforts. Dr. Matt Steensma was one of two recipients of the inaugural Francis S. Collins Scholars Award in Neurofibromatosis Clinical and Translational Research. The award was presented by Dr. Collins at VARI's NF1 Mini-Symposium in April 2015. In May, Eric S. Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, was honored with the Han-Mo Koo Award. He delivered both a scientific seminar and a lay lecture in accepting the award for his outstanding scientific achievements in genomics and the Human Genome Project. The Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research was presented at the September Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease symposium held at VARI. The awardees were Maria Grazia Spillantini, FMedSci, FRS, of the University of Cambridge, and Robert Nussbaum, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco. In 1997, the two made related discoveries that linked Parkinson's disease to the α-synuclein gene and its protein, which have since been the focus of major research efforts. Also in 2015, VARI hosted the Michigan C. elegans meeting (April); a joint USA/Netherlands biomedical symposium, followed by a visit to VARI by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (June); the Origins of Cancer Symposium "Beyond the Genome: The Role of Posttranslational Modifications in Cancer" (July); and the International Society for Tryptophan Research Conference (September). Scott Jewell received a major multiyear grant from the NIH's National Cancer Institute to support operations of the VARI biorepository in serving as the Biospecimen Core Resource for the NCI's Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium. VARI also received part of a collaborative NSF grant that will provide us with advanced networking hardware to improve data storage and sharing. Other 2015 funding awards to our researchers included the following: • An NCI R01 award to Jeffrey MacKeigan for "Computational Model of Autophagy-Mediated Survival in Chemoresistant Lung Cancer". • An R01 award to Darren Moore for "Novel Mechanisms of LRRK2-Dependent Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's Disease". He also signed a new agreement with a pharmaceutical firm. • A Michigan Economic Development Corporation award to Peter Jones to support two new epigenetics faculty members and their research. • An NCI K99/R00 grant to Scott Rothbart for "Mechanisms Regulating DNA Methylation Maintenance in Chromatin". • An R21 award to Bart Williams for "Generation and Initial Characterization of Osteocalcin-Deficient Rats". • A Cure Parkinson's Trust award to Patrik Brundin for "Preclinical Evaluation of Deuterium-Reinforced Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids as a Therapeutic Intervention for Parkinson's Disease". We continue working in all areas toward even more success in future years. 2 Van Andel Research Institute | Scientific Report

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