Views
8 months ago

25th Anniversary Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Donor publication
  • Vai
  • Highlights of hope
  • Spring summer
  • 25th anniversary
  • Medical mile
  • Grand rapids
  • Van andel institute
  • Vaiorg
  • Epigenetics
  • Michigan
  • Scientific
  • Scientists
This is the 25th anniversary edition of Highlights of Hope, published in Fall 2021.

2017 Carol Van Andel

2017 Carol Van Andel receives commendation from VAI Boards of Trustees in recognition of her service to the Institute Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation and wife of Van Andel Institute Chairman and CEO David Van Andel, is often heralded as the heart and soul of Van Andel Institute. This well-deserved accolade recognizes her philanthropic efforts on behalf of VAI, which today include a variety of signature events such as Couture for a Cure, Hope on the Hill Gala and Winterfest Celebration. On June 19, 2017, VAI’s Boards of Trustees commended Carol Van Andel for her deep dedication to the Institute and engaging the community in support of VAI’s work. During the tribute luncheon, the Trustees presented a joint resolution and a gift in recognition of her time, effort and exceptional leadership, as well as the instrumental role she plays as a community connector, bringing people together in support of the Institute’s mission. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS In addition to helming the Institute’s signature events, Carol Van Andel is a strong mentor for the students in VAI’s Student Ambassador Program (see p. 43 for more). These high school students actively learn about and develop skills for creating, supporting and hosting philanthropic events, and can gain a great deal of knowledge from her insights. 2017–present VAI breaks funding and publication records In the scientific world, discoveries are shared through peer-reviewed publications in research journals, while excellence is recognized through the awarding of grants. Both are important measures of success. In 2020, VAI scientists had their best year yet for grants, earning a record million in total new awards — up from million five years ago in 2016. To date, our best year for publications was 2017, which saw the highest number of peer-reviewed studies published in journals at 154. In 2020, VAI scientists published 132 peer-reviewed studies — an impressive feat, given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. DAVID & CAROL VAN ANDEL, 2017 As we look toward the future, all signs point to sustained growth in both of these important metrics, a reflection of the impact and exceptional research underway at VAI. “Something that never wavers in importance is the passionate commitment of philanthropists and activists who support the scientists in the labs. It’s important that we acknowledge these powerful examples of philanthropy and honor those who are tireless supporters of life-changing biomedical research and innovative approaches to science education.” Carol Van Andel 40 2017

(LEFT TO RIGHT) DR. ADELHEID LEMPRADL, DR. NING WU, DR. J. ANDREW POSPISILIK, DR. CONNIE KRAWCZYK, DR. RUSSELL JONES & DR. BRIAN HAAB, 2018 2018 VAI establishes its metabolism and nutritional programming research group The foods we eat and the energy they produce are foundational to good health. But what happens when our metabolic balance is disrupted? Can we optimize metabolism to improve health and stave off disease? Does nutrition have a ripple effect across the generations? To answer these questions and more, VAI established its Metabolism and Nutritional Programming research team in 2018 with the goal of developing scientifically driven strategies for promoting health and preventing and treating diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and diabetes. This comprehensive endeavor bridges a host of fields, bringing together experts in metabolism, nutrition, the immune system, epigenetics and other important areas to reveal new insights that could reshape how we view metabolism from the whole-body level down to individual cells. Metabolism powers each and every biological process, from regulating appetite to ensuring that the heart has enough energy to beat. Some diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, are wholly metabolic in origin. Others, like cancer, are now known to be influenced by dysfunctions in metabolism. Even Parkinson’s disease, a neurological movement disorder that steals away a person’s ability to move, now appears to be caused, at least in part, by disruptions in cellular metabolism. As the Institute enters its next 25 years, our Metabolism and Nutritional Programming research team also is entering an exciting growth phase, with the recruitment of new faculty to expand its expertise and impact. Together with their colleagues, our scientists are taking bold steps to transform our understanding of metabolism and to leverage their discoveries to transform human health. (LEFT TO RIGHT) DR. STEPHEN B. BAYLIN, ANN SCHOEN & DR. PETER A. JONES, 2018 2018 VAI participates in Stand Up To Cancer telecast On Sept. 7, 2018, Van Andel Institute was thrilled to be a part of the 2018 Stand Up To Cancer telecast, which raised a record-breaking 3 million for cancer research. The biennial special featured our own Ann Schoen, a cancer survivor and a VAI employee for 25 years, as of 2021. She was part of the “Everyday Heroes” segment honoring cancer survivors, and was recognized with fellow survivors onstage during the event. The telecast aired on more than 70 network and broadcast platforms around the world and brought together some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars. Millions of people tuned into the broadcast, which was executive-produced by award-winning actor and director Bradley Cooper. The Institute has worked closely with Stand Up To Cancer since 2014, with the creation of the Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, a multiinstitutional effort to move more effective cancer therapies into clinical trials and to the patients who need them most. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 2018 41

Publications by Year