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25th Anniversary Highlights of Hope

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This is the 25th anniversary edition of Highlights of Hope, published in Fall 2021.


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 26 2006 Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg appointed dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School In 2006, VAI solidified its commitment to gathering some of the world’s best and brightest under its roof and to training the next generation of scientists. That year, the Institute appointed Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg as founding dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School and signed an agreement with Michigan State University to support the creation of MSU’s medical school in downtown Grand Rapids. These commitments remain as strong as ever 15 years later. Triezenberg earned a bachelor’s in biology and education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids and a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Michigan. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution of Washington before returning to the Great Lakes State as a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at MSU — a role he held for more than 18 years. His efforts were central to developing the Institute’s Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology, a research-intensive, problem-based program that immerses students in a rigorous scientific environment from the start. The program received accreditation in 2013 and was reaffirmed in 2018 (see p. 33 for more information). Triezenberg also served as the director of Van Andel Institute for Education from 2009 to 2015, building on the efforts of former Education directors Dr. Gordon Van Wylen and Dr. Gordon Van Harn. In addition to his academic leadership, Triezenberg is a respected authority in viral biology. For 31 years, his lab explored the molecular control systems that allow viral infections to progress. His discoveries about herpes simplex virus opened new possibilities for antiviral drug development and revealed new insights into how human cells control gene expression. Under Triezenberg’s remarkable leadership, the Graduate School has enjoyed steady growth and continues to strengthen its reputation as a top-tier training environment for biomedical research leaders. 2007 Groundbreaking ceremony held for Phase II building expansion 2007 First students enter the Graduate School 2007 VAI first hosts the West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference (WMRUGS) This conference brings together students and faculty from regional colleges for two days of learning and networking. Students present their work in a professional setting; talk with scientists and graduate school recruiters from Midwest research universities; and hear stimulating talks on current trends in biology, chemistry, physics and more. (CLOCKWISE, STARTING AT TOP LEFT) DR. STEVEN J. TRIEZENBERG; ARCHITECT RAFAEL VIÑOLY PRESENTS VAI PHASE II MODEL TO DAVID VAN ANDEL; DAVID VAN ANDEL AT GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY OF PHASE II, 2007; VIEW OF CONSTRUCTION FROM THE SOUTHWEST; VIEW OF CONSTRUCTION FROM DUE SOUTH 2006 – 2007


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