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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.

Notable achievements

Notable achievements from VAI for Research VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS A quarter-century of groundbreaking work is difficult to condense. Here are just some of VAI’s most notable achievements throughout the years. Awards and honors VAI scientists have been recognized throughout the years with these accolades. Spread of Parkinson’s disease through the brain, 2013 VAI scientists were the first to show that a Parkinson’s diseaseassociated protein spreads from parts of the brain connected to the nose to other brain regions affected by the disease. The discovery has implications for finding ways to slow or stop disease progression. Developing more precise medications, 2015 VAI scientists for the first time identified the structure of a G protein-coupled receptor, a major drug target, which is a critical step in understanding its function and leveraging it for the treatment of disease. Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers are scientists who have demonstrated significant and broad influence reflected in their publication of multiple highly cited papers. Their highly cited papers rank in the top 1% by citations for a chosen field and year. The Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health. Creating a cancer atlas, 2015 VAI scientists played integral roles in The Cancer Genome Atlas, a federally led project to molecularly map cancer. The more than decade-long initiative was the most in-depth undertaking of its kind, spanning 10,000 tumors across 33 cancer types. Viral mimicry improves cancer treatment, 2015 VAI scientists and collaborators have found that anti-cancer drugs called demethylating agents trick cancer cells to behave as though they are infected with a virus or other pathogen. This “viral mimicry” leads to cell death, decreasing the number of cancer cells and The Sloan Research Fellowship recognizes and rewards outstanding early-career faculty who have the potential to revolutionize their fields of study. The McKnight Scholar Award encourages neuroscientists in the early stages of their careers to focus on disorders of learning and memory. The Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award supports earlycareer investigators engaged in basic or clinical research that may lead to a better understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders. improving the effectiveness of other treatments, such as chemoand immunotherapies. Copying the genetic code, 2017 VAI scientists are studying how DNA replicates, which may one day contribute to the development of better therapies for the more than 40 diseases related to failures in this process. Stand Up To Cancer Catalyst® awards, 2017 The Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team scientists earned two of 10 prestigious Catalyst awards from Stand Up To Cancer, which support clinical trials for new bladder cancer The Allen Distinguished Investigator Award by The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute, supports earlystage research with the potential to reinvent entire fields. The ASAP Award from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s supports multidisciplinary, collaborative research teams that address key knowledge gaps in the basic mechanisms that contribute to Parkinson’s development and progression. and non-small cell lung cancer therapies. Establishing a link between the appendix & Parkinson’s, 2018 VAI scientists identified the appendix as a possible starting point for Parkinson’s, opening the door to potential new therapies that aim to head off the disease in the gut, long before motor symptoms occur. Potential blood test for pancreatic cancer, 2019 VAI scientists are developing a new combination blood test for pancreatic cancer that may help catch the disease sooner, which could lead to earlier and more effective medical intervention. The Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) Grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health supports nearly 20 scientists from VAI and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research as they work to improve epigenetic therapies for cancer. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) from NCI supports institutions in developing or enhancing research training opportunities for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows to be trained in cancer research. 48

Notable achievements from VAI Graduate School 2005 Dr. Gordon Van Harn guides the founding of Van Andel Institute Graduate School and obtains a charter from the State of Michigan to grant doctoral and master’s degrees 2007 First students enroll in the Graduate School and are welcomed in opening convocation 2012 First students graduate from the Graduate School 2013 Graduate School receives initial accreditation by Higher Learning Commission 2016 First international students enroll in the Graduate School 2017– First of several Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from the National Institutes of 2018 Health are received, as well as two Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Awards (F99/K00) from the National Cancer Institute of NIH Notable achievements from VAI for Education 2017 Hosted visit from then-U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos Launched Summer Camps Launched thought leadership webinars for teachers VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE | 25 YEARS 2018 Appointed two new trustees to Education board: Teresa Weatherall Neal, Ed.D. (hon) and Susan Keipper Meell 2019 Launched second strand of Afterschool Cohort, focusing on human innovation in space exploration, natural disasters, and energy Launched Blue Apple projects to help teachers implement project-based learning 2020 Launched Flex PD, customizable professional development services for schools Launched Better Together, virtual networking events for school administrators 49

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