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2017 Annual Report

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A Letter from David Van

A Letter from David Van Andel Dear Friends, This has been a year of extraordinary progress. Your generous support has helped us expand collaborations, achieve record levels of grant funding, publish more scientific advances than ever before and move closer to solving the mysteries surrounding some of humanity’s most devastating diseases. Our collaborations with researchers, educators and worldclass organizations have united us all with a common goal — to conquer diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s as quickly as possible. In Grand Rapids, we are discovering new ways to work together and build a critical mass of talent in the region. At the same time, we’re reaching out across the world, expanding collaborations with an impressive list of leading organizations, scientists and physicians. External recognition for the work we do has reached an all-time high and is reflected in the 37 new funding awards our scientists earned in 2017 totaling .7 million, including .6 million in federal grants. We also broke another Van Andel Institute record in 2017, with publications of scientific discoveries reaching an all-time high — 145 scientific papers, 132 of them peer-reviewed. Many of these studies were published in prestigious journals, such as Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which reinforces the real-world impact of our work. Discoveries at VAI are providing important clues to better understand how our bodies function in health and disease. To aid in this endeavor, we installed one of the world’s most powerful microscopes, called a cryo-electron microscope. Already, it is revealing intricate molecular secrets, detailing three-dimensional, atomic-level portraits of life’s smallest components, which will help us understand disease and devise new targets for drug therapies. In addition, our Parkinson’s research is unlocking vital clues to how the disease may be triggered through inflammation and factors in the nose and gut. As we move into our third decade, we continue to push toward creating a better tomorrow through the work we do today. Your encouragement and generosity help us build that brighter future for generations to come. Thank you for all you’ve done to help us achieve these vital goals. Warmly, David Van Andel Van Andel Institute Chairman & CEO 2 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

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