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2018 Scientific Report

  • Text
  • Institute
  • Biology
  • Methylation
  • Molecular
  • Mechanisms
  • Epigenetic
  • Michigan
  • Vari
  • Scientific

2017 At-A-Glance

2017 At-A-Glance Record-breaking funding 115 total active awards totaling million 32 new awards in 2017 totaling million Of those, 13 awards, for million, are federal grants A growing scientific impact 145 2017 publications, 132 peer-reviewed Prestigious faculty In 2017, the Institute celebrated Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones’s election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, placing him in the elite company of more than 250 Nobel Laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. Director’s Scholar Dr. Stephen Baylin also earned the honor of being elected to the National Academy of Sciences, an independent and nonpartisan advisor to the federal government on matters related to science and technology. In all, VARI is home to 2 fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences 2 members of the National Academy of Sciences 3 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 3 fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy A collaborative effort 383 collaborating organizations 32 countries in which VARI collaborates A growing team 384 total employees 223 total research employees 31 faculty 43 postdoctoral fellows 27 Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. students vi | VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE SCIENTIFIC REPORT

Introduction In many ways, 2017 was a record-breaking year for Van Andel Research We continue to build critical mass, thanks to an ambitious recruiting effort conducted in accordance with our Strategic Plan. Institute. We experienced incredible growth in all aspects of our scientific enterprise, from an all-time high in scientific publications to an incredible increase in peer-reviewed federal funding, the most ever awarded in our 21-year history. Several new faculty have arrived and more will be joining us soon, which will bolster our existing research programs and support the establishment of new ones. And, we continue our collaborations with other leading institutions both in the U.S.A. and abroad to translate lab discoveries into the clinic. STRATEGIC GROWTH We continue to build critical mass, thanks to an ambitious recruiting effort conducted in accordance with our Strategic Plan. The Center for Cancer and Cell Biology added two new faculty in 2017, Wei Lü in March and Juan Du in October. The Lü lab uses single-particle cryo-electron microscopy and other methods to study the structures and mechanisms of ion channels and transmembrane receptors. The Du lab focuses on excitatory neuronal receptors, studying their structure and function via cryo-EM, electrophysiology, and X-ray crystallography. The Center for Neurodegenerative Science welcomed Wouter Peelaerts, who joined Patrik Brundin’s lab in 2017, becoming the first Fulbright Scholar to join the Institute. In September 2017, the Center for Epigenetics welcomed Timothy J. Triche, Jr., whose lab develops statistical and mathematical methods to better understand pediatric and adult cancers, with a special focus on cancers of the blood in children. We look forward to the arrival of two more faculty in early 2018—Drs. Xiaobing Shi and Hong Wen, both experts in cancer epigenetics. A major milestone was the establishment of the Institute’s David Van Andel Advanced Cryo-Electron Microscopy Suite in early 2017. This state-of-the-art facility places VARI in elite company: the suite’s most powerful microscope, the Titan Krios, is one of fewer than 120 in the world and can visualize structures down to the atomic level. The investment, made possible by CEO David Van Andel, is already bearing fruit. Two new structures that were solved using its instruments were published in the last quarter of 2017. Huilin Li’s lab and collaborators published the paper “Cryo-EM structure of Mcm2-7 double hexamer on DNA suggests a lagging-strand DNA extrusion model” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and Wei Lü’s lab published “Electron cryo-microscopy structure of a human TRPM4 channel” in Nature. These were among the 132 peer-reviewed articles from VARI in 2017, a new annual high for the Institute. Selected publications are listed for each Center and the Cores. VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE SCIENTIFIC REPORT | 1

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