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ANNUAL REPORT

2017


Through biomedical research and science education,

Van Andel Institute is committed to improving the health and

enhancing the lives of current and future generations.


Table of Contents

2 A Letter from David Van Andel

4 Research

6 Beyond the Brain

8 Translating Discovery into Life-Changing Care

10 Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s

Principal Investigators

16 Investigating Life's Smallest Components

18 Going Further, Together

20 Education

22 Connecting Two Worlds

24 Van Andel Education Institute, NASA & the

Girl Scouts Team Up to Take Girls to the Stars!

25 Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation Provides

Students with a Summer of Discovery

26 Donors & Philanthropic Partners

28 Profiles in Hope — Van Andel Institute Donors

Turn Love & Loss into Action

30 Events Photos

36 A Perfect Day, an Unforgettable Memory

38 Sources of Funding

39 Society of Hope

40 Signature Special Event Sponsors

41 Institute Leadership Team

42 Board & Council Members

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


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 $27.7

million, including $23.6 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


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 3


Van Andel Research Institute

is a world leader in cancer epigenetics and Parkinson’s disease research.

Collaborating with academia, industry and philanthropy, the Institute

orchestrates cutting-edge clinical trials to improve human health.

4 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE

ANNUAL REPORT 2017


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 5


Beyond the Brain Do the secrets of Parkinson's lie in the nose, the gut and inflammation?

In 1817, British surgeon James Parkinson penned the

first medical description of the disease that now bears

his name. He chronicled a singular, inexplicable disorder

that afflicted his patients — usually people advanced in

age — with tremors and rigidity, eventually robbing them of

their ability to move.

Two hundred years have passed since then, and in many

ways, the causes of Parkinson’s have continued to defy

definition. But now, thanks to recent breakthroughs and

technological advancements, scientists are chipping away at

the seemingly impenetrable façade of Parkinson's disease,

revealing a complex tapestry of causes, symptoms and

molecular mechanisms that may revolutionize patient care

and improve the lives of millions around the globe.

Connecting the dots

For much of the time since the initial publication of James

Parkinson’s Essay on the Shaking Palsy, Parkinson’s disease

was considered a purely motor condition, largely attributed

to a brain progressively starved of the neurotransmitter

dopamine, which controls voluntary movement. Like many

other conditions, Parkinson's was viewed as one disease

with likely one cure out there somewhere, waiting to be

discovered.

The reality, said Dr. Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Research

Institute associate director of research, isn’t quite so

clear cut.

“Parkinson’s is an incredibly diverse disease and can vary

widely from person to person,” Brundin said. “Its study

and treatment necessitate a sophisticated approach and

require us to recognize there may not just be one solution

but many.”

Under Brundin’s leadership, scientists in the Institute’s

Center for Neurodegenerative Science working with

collaborators around the world are tackling Parkinson’s

from every angle, investigating its risk factors, its causes

and its vulnerabilities. Their goal? To find ways to slow or

stop its progression, something no current therapy can do.

Moving past motor symptoms

We now know that a host of seemingly unrelated

symptoms can predate a Parkinson’s diagnosis by years, or

even decades. Chief among them are the loss of a person’s

sense of smell and intestinal issues, such as constipation.

“For a long time, we didn’t entirely grasp the significance

of these other, non-motor symptoms,” Brundin said. “Now,

we understand they are not only important precursors

but also hint at the very basis of the disease itself. If we

understand what’s happening early on in the disease,

before motor symptoms appear, we can harness that

knowledge to find ways to slow or possibly prevent it.”

In a series of discoveries, the most recent published in

2017, Brundin’s team revealed how a toxic protein called

alpha-synuclein, long linked to Parkinson’s, travels from

the nose into the olfactory bulb, the area of the brain

responsible for processing scents. From there, these

proteins move from cell to cell, clogging up the molecular

machinery required to keep cells healthy and functioning.

These proteins eventually reach a region rich with

dopamine-producing cells, where scientists theorize alphasynuclein

wreaks havoc, killing cells and starving the brain

of the chemical needed for movement.

The nose isn’t the only place harboring a reserve of toxic

proteins with a direct route to the brain. Something similar

may also be happening in the gut, which is connected to

the brain via the “superhighway” of the vagus nerve, one

of the longest nerves in the human body. It’s here that

Assistant Professor Dr. Viviane Labrie is searching for

reasons why normal alpha-synuclein changes into its toxic

form and how this process — and its spread to the brain —

could be prevented.

“While the gut and the nose are clearly very different,

they have one important thing in common — frequent

contact with the outside world, through breathing and

food consumption, respectively,” Labrie said. “Although

environmental factors play a role in Parkinson’s disease,

they can’t be the only things. We all breathe, and we all eat,

but we all don’t get Parkinson’s. There has to be something

else at play.”

The tipping point

The secret may lie, at least partially, in yet another normal

process gone haywire. Inflammation is the body’s response

to insult or injury, a manifestation of a marshaled immune

system that sends a chemical flood to help heal a wound

or respond to a stressor. There is a catch though — for

inflammation to help rather than hurt, it must be silenced

when it’s no longer needed. When inflammation sticks

around, it can disrupt normal cellular function, interfering

with processes such as the removal of toxic forms of alphasynuclein.

“We’re learning, thanks to intense research in our lab and

in the labs of our colleagues, that inflammation likely plays

a central role in the incredibly complicated process that

triggers Parkinson’s,” said Associate Professor Dr. Lena

Brundin. “Reducing inflammation is a promising therapeutic

strategy that may provide a tremendous opportunity to

6 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


RESEARCH

attack the disease from a new direction.”

Here again, the nose may harbor important clues. Fueled

by a set of new Department of Defense grants totaling

$4.37 million, Dr. Patrik Brundin and collaborators at

University of Southern California and Michigan State

University are investigating the role of air pollution as a

potential contributing factor to Parkinson’s. Their theory?

That environmental factors such as pollution build on

a person’s specific genetic influences and age — the

single greatest risk factor for Parkinson’s — setting off an

uncontrolled inflammatory chain reaction.

Bringing it together

In all, Parkinson’s is likely the result of a complex mix of

genetics, epigenetics and environmental triggers that

set a cascade of problems into motion. Some cause the

abnormal clumping of alpha-synuclein, turning it from a

harmless protein into a toxic one, while others bog down

cellular machinery, interfering with processes designed to

keep cells healthy. Genetic and epigenetic factors almost

certainly are at play as well, influencing individuals’ risk of

developing the disease. Each newly identified contributing

factor reveals a chink in the armor of Parkinson’s, ripe for

targeting by new or repurposed medications.

“We’ve come a long way since James Parkinson put ink to

paper, from viewing the disease as a one-size-fits-all motor

disorder to our current understanding of Parkinson’s as a

diverse multi-system event,” Dr. Patrik Brundin said.

“Together with collaborators around the world, our

scientists are pushing forward quickly. We’re on the edge

of ushering in a monumental change in how Parkinson’s

patients are diagnosed and treated. I’m more excited —

and hopeful — now than ever before.”

(LEFT TO RIGHT) DR. VIVIANE LABRIE, DR. LENA BRUNDIN & DR. PATRIK BRUNDIN.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 7


Translating Discovery into Life-Changing Care

When it comes to defeating cancer and Parkinson’s

disease, collaboration is one of our strongest assets.

That’s why Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) teamed up

with Stand Up To Cancer, the American Association for

Cancer Research, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, The Michael J.

Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and other leading

organizations, scientists and physicians — to see what we

can do when our collective expertise and resources are

combined. The result is a slate of clinical trials, critical steps

on the road from the lab to the doctor’s office that ensure

new treatments are safe and effective. If successful, these

therapies could help improve the lives of millions of people

suffering from these devastating diseases. Active clinical

trials include the following.

Cancer

The VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team has six ongoing

clinical trials at medical centers across the U.S. and in

Copenhagen, Denmark. Two of these trials — non-small

cell lung cancer and bladder cancer — are supported by

two of 10 inaugural SU2C Catalyst ® grants, totaling nearly

$5.5 million. The trials are evaluating new combination

treatments for:

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood

cancer that is notoriously difficult to treat and has poor

long-term survival.

Bladder cancer, a tough-to-treat cancer that is the sixth

most common type of cancer diagnosed in the U.S.

*Supported by a SU2C Catalyst ® grant

Metastatic colorectal cancer, the second leading cause

of cancer death in men and women combined in the U.S.

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and AML, which

also are the subjects of a small pilot study that is

investigating whether a simple addition to the standard

care regimen may improve the current therapy’s ability to

impede cancer cell growth and destroy cancer cells. This

combination is also being explored in patients with clonal

cytopenia of undetermined significance (CCUS) — thought

to be a potential precursor to MDS in some patients.

MDS and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML),

two blood cancers that are incurable with current drugs

and that may progress to AML, a much more aggressive

cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of

lung cancer, which accounts for more than 80 percent of

cases. Lung cancers are a major public health problem and

claim more lives annually than any other type of cancer.

*Supported by a SU2C Catalyst ® grant

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RESEARCH

Parkinson's disease

The Linked Clinical Trials (LCT) initiative, spearheaded by

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and supported by VARI, aims

to shift the paradigm on Parkinson’s treatment from

managing symptoms to slowing or stopping the disease’s

progress. By investigating medications that are already

approved to treat other conditions and that impact the

same biological processes that are at play in Parkinson’s,

scientists hope to cut the time it takes for new, more

effective medications to be approved, getting them to

the people who need them faster. Medications being

investigated by LCT include the following.

Ambroxol, a medication originally developed to treat

respiratory ailments, which has shown promise in

correcting an underlying molecular problem in Parkinson’s.

Deferiprone, a medication that removes excess iron from

the blood and that is being investigated for its potential

to reduce high iron levels in the area of the brain most

affected by Parkinson’s.

EPI-589, an experimental drug originally designed to treat

rare mitochondrial diseases in children.

A growing body of evidence suggests similar dysfunctions in

mitochondria, the power plants of cells, may also contribute

to Parkinson’s.

Exenatide, a Type 2 diabetes medication that has shown

outstanding promise in lab experiments and clinical trials as

a therapy that may slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

Following positive results from a phase two trial reported in

2017, plans for a larger, phase three trial are in the works.

Liraglutide, a Type 2 diabetes medication that belongs

to a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists and prompts the

release of insulin, thereby lowering glucose levels in the

blood when bound to its receptor.

Recent findings suggest that when liraglutide activates

these receptors in the brain, the drug provides protection

against degenerative damage to key brain cells, specifically

those affected in Parkinson’s disease.

Nilotinib, a medication originally developed to treat the

blood cancer leukemia. This multicenter trial is supported

by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research,

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and VARI.

Simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering medication that is

part of the PD-STAT trial, which is underway at 21 medical

centers across the United Kingdom.

Learn more at vai.org/clinical-trials.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 9


Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s Principal Investigators

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is composed of three centers and 32 principal

investigators, each with their own area of expertise and research projects.

VARI Leadership

Peter Jones

Chief Scientific Officer;

Director, Center for

Epigenetics

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., is a

pioneer in epigenetics, a growing

field that explores how genes

are regulated and provides new avenues for developing

therapies for cancer and other diseases. His discoveries

have helped usher in an entirely new class of drugs that

have been approved to treat blood cancer and are being

investigated in other tumor types. Dr. Jones is a member

of the National Academy of Sciences and the American

Academy of Arts & Sciences. He and his colleague

Dr. Stephen Baylin co-lead the Van Andel Research

Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team.

Dr. Jones is the Institute's chief scientific officer and

director of its Center for Epigenetics.

10 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

Patrik Brundin

Associate Director of

Research; Director, Center for

Neurodegenerative Science

Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D.,

investigates molecular mechanisms

in Parkinson’s disease, and his

goals are to develop new therapies aimed at slowing

or stopping disease progression or repairing damage.

He is one of the top-cited researchers in the field of

neurodegenerative disease and leads international efforts

to repurpose drugs to treat Parkinson’s. Brundin is director

of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science and associate

director of research for VARI.

Bart Williams

Director, Center for Cancer

and Cell Biology

Bart Williams, Ph.D., studies the

building blocks of bone growth on

behalf of the millions suffering from

diseases such as osteoporosis.

He seeks new ways of altering cell signaling pathways

to encourage healthy bone development and deter the

spread of cancer to the skeleton. Williams is director of the

Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.

Steven J. Triezenberg

Dean, Van Andel Institute

Graduate School; Professor,

Center for Epigenetics

Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D.,

explores the genetic and epigenetic

control systems of viruses to

understand how infections progress and to reveal new

ways to stop those infections. His discoveries with herpes

simplex viruses have opened up new possibilities for

antiviral drug development and have revealed new insights

into how human cells control gene expression. In addition

to running a lab at VARI, Dr. Triezenberg is the founding

dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School.

Scott Jewell

Director, Core Technologies

and Services

Scott Jewell, Ph.D., leads

Van Andel Research Institute’s

Core Technologies and Services,

which provides technology and

specialized expertise for research investigators. Cores and

services include bioinformatics and biostatistics, cryo-

EM, confocal microscopy and quantitative imaging, flow

cytometry, genomics, pathology and biorepository, smallanimal

imaging, vivarium management and transgenics.

Jewell is a past president of the International Society for

Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).


RESEARCH

Center for Epigenetics

Research areas: Epigenetics, cancer, heart disease,

neuroepigenetics and structural biology

Stephen Baylin

Stephen Baylin, M.D., studies the

body’s genetic control systems —

called epigenetics — searching

for vulnerabilities in cancer. Baylin

is a leader in this field, ranking

among the first to trace epigenetic

causes of cancer. His studies have led to new therapies for

common cancers, like breast, lung, colorectal and many

others. He is co-leader of the VARI–SU2C Epigenetics

Dream Team with Dr. Peter Jones, co-director of Johns

Hopkins’ Cancer Biology Division and associate director for

research at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Stefan Jovinge

Stefan Jovinge, M.D., Ph.D.,

develops ways to help the heart

heal itself and has led dozens

of clinical trials in regenerative

medicine. As a critical care

cardiologist and scientist, he uses

a bench-to-bedside approach in an effort to give patients

with serious heart conditions longer, healthier lives. The

clinical platform for his research is the Cardiothoracic

Intensive Care Unit at Spectrum Health Hospital's Fred and

Lena Meijer Heart Center, and the basic science effort in

regenerative medicine is performed at VARI. He serves as

director of the DeVos Cardiovascular Research Program.

Peter W. Laird

Peter W. Laird, Ph.D., seeks

a detailed understanding of

the molecular foundations of

cancer with a particular focus

on identifying crucial epigenetic

alterations that convert otherwise

healthy cells into cancer cells. He is widely regarded

as an international leader in this effort and has helped

design some of the world’s state-of-the-art tools to aid in

epigenetics research. Laird is a principal investigator for the

National Cancer Institute’s Genome Data Analysis Network

and played a leadership role in The Cancer Genome Atlas, a

multi-institutional effort to molecularly map cancers. He is a

professor in the Center for Epigenetics.

Huilin Li

Huilin Li, Ph.D., uses cryo-electron

microscopy (cryo-EM) to reveal

the most basic building blocks of

DNA replication and other systems

vital for life. He has been at the

vanguard of cryo-EM for more than

20 years, and his research has implications for some of

the world’s most critical public health concerns, including

tuberculosis, cancer, mental illness and many more. He is a

professor in the Center for Epigenetics.

Gerd Pfeifer

Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D., studies how

the body switches genes on and

off, a biological process called

methylation that, when faulty, can

lead to cancer or other diseases.

His studies range from the effects

of tobacco smoke on genetic and epigenetic systems

to the discovery of a mechanism that may help protect

the brain from neurodegeneration. Pfeifer’s studies

have implications across a range of diseases, including

cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes and many others. Pfeifer is a

professor in the Center for Epigenetics.

Scott Rothbart

Scott Rothbart, Ph.D., studies

the ways in which cells pack and

unpack DNA. This complex process

twists and coils roughly 2 meters

of unwound DNA into a space less

than 1/10 th the width of a human

hair. Although this process is impressive, it is also subject

to errors that can cause cancer and other disorders.

Rothbart seeks new targets for drug development in this

process. He is an assistant professor in the Center for

Epigenetics.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 11


Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s Principal Investigators (continued)

Hui Shen

Hui Shen, Ph.D., develops new

approaches to cancer prevention,

detection and treatment by

studying the interaction between

genes and their control systems,

called epigenetics. Her research

focuses on women’s cancers, particularly ovarian cancer,

and has shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of

other cancer types, including breast, kidney and prostate

cancers. She is an assistant professor in the Center for

Epigenetics.

Piroska Szabó

Piroska Szabó, Ph.D., studies the

flow of epigenetic information from

parents to their offspring, with a

focus on how epigenetic markers

are remodeled during egg and

sperm production and how these

markers are rewritten after fertilization. These processes

have profound implications on fertility and embryo

development. Disturbances in epigenetic remodeling are

thought to contribute to disease conditions lasting well into

adulthood. Szabó is an associate professor in the Center

for Epigenetics.

Tim Triche

As a statistician and computational

biologist with an interest in clonal

evolution and cancers of the

blood, Tim Triche Jr.'s, Ph.D., work

focuses on wedding data-intensive

molecular phenotyping to adaptive

clinical trial designs, in an effort to accelerate the pace

of drug targeting and development in rare or refractory

diseases. Triche is an assistant professor in the Center for

Epigenetics.

Center for Neurodegenerative Science

Research areas: Parkinson’s disease, depression/

suicide, aging, prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease and

neuroepigenetics

Lena Brundin

As a psychiatrist and a scientist,

Lena Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., seeks

ways to diagnose and treat

depression and suicidality by

studying inflammation of the

nervous system. Her findings may

lead to earlier interventions for depressive patients and

for the development of a new class of antidepressants

that targets the immune system. She also investigates

how inflammatory mechanisms can damage nerve cells in

Parkinson’s disease. She is an associate professor in the

Center for Neurodegenerative Science.

Gerhard Coetzee

Gerhard Coetzee, Ph.D., searches

the human genome for minuscule

changes that contribute to the

onset, progression and drug

resistance of many diseases,

including cancer, Parkinson’s and

rare and heritable disorders. His team deploys genome

sequencing technologies and high-powered computational

arrays to tease out patterns and interactions of markers

and treatment targets from among the human genome’s

more than three billion DNA base pairs. Coetzee is a

professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science.

Jeffrey Kordower

Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., is an

international authority on the onset

of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and

Huntington’s diseases, and works

to develop new procedures aimed

at slowing disease progression

or reversing damage to the brain. He holds a primary

appointment at Rush University in Chicago and is a

Director’s Scholar at VARI, where he focuses on designing

preclinical studies and clinical trials to translate these new

approaches into meaningful changes for people suffering

with movement disorders.

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RESEARCH

Viviane Labrie

Viviane Labrie, Ph.D., studies

the dynamic interplay between

the human genome and

its control system — the

epigenome — to understand how

neurodegenerative diseases start

and progress in an effort to develop improved diagnostics

and treatments. Labrie’s scientific pursuits have deepened

understanding of conditions including Parkinson's,

Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and lactose intolerance.

She has also developed new methods for epigenome

analysis. She is an assistant professor in the Center for

Neurodegenerative Science.

Jiyan Ma

Jiyan Ma, Ph.D., studies

abnormal proteins that cause

neurodegenerative diseases,

including Parkinson’s disease and

prion diseases in humans and

animals. His lab has developed

new ways to understand how these proteins spread and

cause diseases in humans and animals. The lab is also

developing new approaches to diagnose and treat these

devastating disorders. Ma is a professor in the Center for

Neurodegenerative Science.

Darren Moore

Darren Moore, Ph.D., seeks

new diagnostic and treatment

approaches for Parkinson’s by

investigating the inherited form of

the disease, which accounts for 5

to 10 percent of cases. He aims to

translate the understanding of these genetic mutations

into better treatments and new diagnostic tools for

Parkinson’s, both inherited and non-inherited. Discoveries

in Moore’s lab routinely elucidate the faulty molecular

interactions that transform healthy, functioning neurons

into diseased ones. Moore is a professor in the Center for

Neurodegenerative Science.

An award-winning year

In 2017, we celebrated the election of two of our

own into prestigious societies, reflecting a lifetime of

scientific achievement and reinforcing the Institute’s

growing reputation as a home for innovative and

impactful research.

Dr. Peter Jones

Chief Scientific Officer

In addition to being awarded a 7-year, $7.8 million

Outstanding Investigator Award from the National

Institutes of Health, Dr. Jones was inducted into the

American Academy of Arts & Sciences, an elite group that

includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer

Prize winners. His election comes a year after he was

named to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Stephen Baylin

Director’s Scholar, VARI

Co-Head of Cancer Biology, Johns Hopkins University

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

In May 2017, Dr. Baylin became the third VARI-affiliated

scientist to be elected to the prestigious National Academy

of Sciences, which was founded in 1863 to advise the

country on matters of science and technology. He joins

Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones and Dr. George

Vande Woude, the Institute’s founding research director

and distinguished scientific fellow, emeritus, among the

society's storied ranks.

With the elections of Drs. Jones and Baylin,

VARI is now home to:

3 members of the National Academy of Sciences

3 members of the American Association for the

Advancement of Science

3 fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research

2 members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 13


Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s Principal Investigators (continued)

Center for Cancer and Cell Biology

Research areas: Asthma, diabetes, neurofibromatosis

Type 1, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, sarcoma, tuberous

sclerosis and blood, bone, breast, colorectal, pancreatic

and prostate cancers

Juan Du

Juan Du, Ph.D. seeks to understand

the brain’s intricate communication

systems using state-of-the-art

structural biology approaches,

such as cryo-EM. She is an

assistant professor in the Center

for Cancer and Cell Biology.

Patrick Grohar

Patrick Grohar, M.D., Ph.D.,

develops new drugs to treat bone

cancer in children, in addition to

pursuing a deeper understanding

of the mechanisms underlying

sarcomas and related conditions.

Once these potential therapies are proven safe and

effective in the lab, his team translates these potential

therapies into clinical trials for children with few other

options. He is an associate professor in the Center for

Cancer and Cell Biology and a pediatric oncologist at

Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Brian Haab

Brian Haab, Ph.D., searches for new

ways to diagnose and stratify

pancreatic cancers based on the

chemical fingerprints tumors left

behind. Part of the problem Haab

aims to solve is that cancers often

look and behave normally — until after they’ve started

making people sick. Haab is sleuthing out clues to build a

library of diagnostic tools that will help providers diagnose

tumors earlier and optimize treatment. He is a professor in

the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.

Xiaohong Li

Xiaohong Li, Ph.D., studies how and

why various cancers, particularly

prostate and breast cancer cells,

migrate from their original site

and spread to the bone. These

cells stay dormant but might wake

up years later and grow up to become bone metastases,

causing debilitating pain and complicating treatments. Li

hopes that a better understanding of metastatic cancers

will lead to new diagnostic tests and targeted therapies.

She is an assistant professor in the Center for Cancer and

Cell Biology.

Wei Lü

Wei Lü, Ph.D., is working to unravel

how brain cells communicate with

each other. Using techniques

such as cryo-EM, his work

has contributed to the field’s

understanding of molecules that

play crucial roles in the development and function of the

nervous system. He is an assistant professor in the Center

for Cancer and Cell Biology.

Karsten Melcher

Karsten Melcher, Ph.D., studies

molecular structure and cellular

communication, which have

implications for finding new

treatments for serious health

threats, including cancer, diabetes

and obesity. His expertise extends beyond human cells

— his research into plant hormones may one day lead

to heartier crops that resist drought and help meet the

nutritional demands of a growing global population.

Dr. Melcher is an associate professor in the Center for

Cancer and Cell Biology.

14 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


RESEARCH

Lorenzo Sempere

Lorenzo Sempere, Ph.D., studies

the role of microRNAs in the origin

and growth of cancer. These very

short strands of genetic material

were discovered just over 15

years ago and are now recognized

as dynamic regulatory modules of the larger human

genome. Sempere targets microRNAs in an effort to

develop new cancer drugs, specifically for pancreatic and

breast cancers. He is an assistant professor in the Center

for Cancer and Cell and Biology.

Matt Steensma

Matt Steensma, M.D., studies

the genetic and molecular

factors that cause benign

tumors to become cancers to

find vulnerabilities that may be

targeted for treatment. As a

scientist at VARI and a practicing surgeon at Spectrum

Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, he is committed

to translating scientific discoveries into treatments that

improve patients’ lives.

George Vande Woude

George Vande Woude, Ph.D.,

is a titan in cancer biology. He

is the founding director of

VARI, which he led for a decade.

His discovery and description

of the MET receptor tyrosine

kinase as an oncogene, together with its activating ligand

hepatocyte growth factor, have led to new possibilities

for cancer therapies and revolutionized the way scientists

view the disease, especially in tumor progression. He is a

distinguished scientific fellow, emeritus, in the Center for

Cancer and Cell Biology and a member of the National

Academy of Sciences.

Ning Wu

Ning Wu, Ph.D., investigates

the interface between cellular

metabolism and cellular signaling,

particularly as they relate to

cancer. On the most basic

level, cancer is fundamentally a

disease of uncontrolled cell growth, and Wu believes that

understanding a tumor’s voracious energy requirements

and altered signaling pathways will lead to new treatments

that optimize existing combination therapies and identify

novel therapeutic targets. She is an assistant professor in

the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.

H. Eric Xu

H. Eric Xu, Ph.D., explores

the structure of molecules in

the body’s complex hormone

signaling system, which plays a

vital role in health and disease.

He is particularly known for his

discoveries in defining the structure of molecules critical

to the development of new drugs for cancer, diabetes and

many others. He is a professor in VARI’s Center for Cancer

and Cell Biology and serves as director of VARI–SIMM

Research Center in Shanghai, China.

Tao Yang

Tao Yang, Ph.D., studies the

signaling systems that govern

skeletal stem cells and the role

they play in diseases such as

osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Bones are the largest producer of

adult stem cells, which mature into cartilage, fat or bone

tissue — a process that falters with age. Yang seeks a

better understanding of these systems in search of new

treatments for degenerative bone disorders. He is an

assistant professor in the Center for Cancer and

Cell Biology.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 15


Investigating Life's Smallest Components

At first glance, the image rotating on Dr. Huilin

Li’s computer screen looked like a tangled mass of

ribbons, with teal whorls looping through blue ones

and an elegantly spiraling pink whorl running through

the middle.

But Li’s trained eyes saw so much more — a critical piece

of molecular machinery responsible for helping copy DNA,

the instructions for life, revealed in never-before-seen

detail thanks to a revolutionary technology called

cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).

For Li and his colleagues in Van Andel Research Institute’s

(VARI) growing team of structural biologists, cryo-EM offers

an unprecedented look at a world that is minuscule in size

and massive in impact, a realm of tiny molecular workers

that control every aspect of biological function in health

and disease.

“Cryo-EM is like space exploration in reverse — rather

than seeking out the cosmos with powerful telescopes,

technology is turned inward, revealing the structures of

life’s smallest components in remarkable clarity,” Li said.

“Because the shape of molecules is intimately linked to

their role in the body, understanding exactly what they look

like has immense potential for improving human health.”

The right tools and the right people at the right time

Although cryo-EM has been around for decades, advances

in technology and technique have only recently turned it

into a scientific juggernaut, even landing cryo-EM a coveted

spot as Nature Method’s Breakthrough of the Year in 2015.

Discovery after discovery continue to reinforce cryo-EM's

value as a research tool, evidenced by the breathtaking

images of previously elusive molecules that frequently

adorn the covers of scientific journals around the world.

16 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

One thing was clear — to be a structural biology

powerhouse, VARI needed to join the cryo-EM community.

With the generous support of CEO David Van Andel and the

hard work of people across the Institute, VARI’s $10 million

David Van Andel Advanced Cryo-Electron Microscopy Suite

was up and running by early 2017 — a massive undertaking

and an even more impressive achievement given the

extensive renovations, installations and recruitment efforts

required for completion.

“The opening of our cryo-EM facility is a testament to the

Institute’s commitment to life-changing science and the

exemplary vision of our leadership, board and scientific

team,” said Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones. “Cryo-EM

gives us insight that has never before been attainable. We

believe the result will be nothing short of a revolution in

our biological understanding that will lead to more effective

medications for a multitude of diseases.”

The crown jewel of the facility is an FEI Titan Krios from

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a behemoth of a microscope that

can visualize molecules 1/10,000 th the width of a human

hair. There are fewer than 120 Krioses in use globally,

placing the Institute in the elite company of some of the

world’s top-tier research organizations.

As the suite was being built, VARI also grew its structural

biology team, recruiting cryo-EM experts whose strengths

aligned with the Institute’s mission of impacting human

health. These new recruits joined VARI scientists

Dr. H. Eric Xu and Dr. Karsten Melcher, both internationally

recognized structural biologists who played key roles in

bringing cryo-EM to VARI.

The first to arrive were facility manager Dr. Gongpu Zhao,

“Each day, our scientists

are pushing the boundaries

of what was once thought

to be impossible, always

with an eye on building a

better tomorrow.”

Dr. Peter Jones

whose previous achievements included producing the

first cryo-EM images of the HIV-1 virus’s inner shell, and Li,

whose work has revealed mechanisms at the very basis of

life. They were joined in 2017 by Dr. Wei Lü and

Dr. Juan Du, who use cryo-EM to investigate molecules

crucial to development and function of the brain and the

nervous system.

The team didn’t waste any time getting to work.

From idea to application

The beauty of cryo-EM lies in its speed and its ability to

allow scientists to view molecular structures in their natural

state, rather than the tough-to-produce crystallized form

that some gold standard methods require. It works by flash

freezing molecules and scanning them with an electron

beam, a process that generates hundreds of thousands

of two-dimensional images that are then assembled via

computer into a three-dimensional portrait.

The results are stunning in their clarity, allowing novel


RESEARCH

observations that push scientific research into new

directions and open additional avenues for therapeutic

development. Because the function of a molecule is closely

tied to its shape, the ability to see a molecule's structure in

intricate detail gives scientists powerful insights that may

be translated into new medications for a host of diseases.

Think of it like a lock and key: If you know what the lock

looks like, you can cut a key to fit it. In much the same way,

scientists can design medications that link up with specific

proteins, correcting a dysfunctional process. The result? A

new, hopefully more effective treatment.

In 2017, the first two structures determined wholly on the

Institute’s Krios were announced in prestigious journals.

In October, Li and collaborators at Cold Spring Harbor

Laboratory and Imperial College London published a

portrait of Mcm2-7 helicase, a molecular complex that

triggers DNA replication and plays a key role in the cell

divisions that sustain life, in the Proceedings of the National

Academy of Sciences. In December, Lü and Du’s images of

the TRPM4 receptor, a protein that may be an important

drug target for stroke and traumatic brain injury, appeared

in the pages of Nature.

Both are exceptional achievements on their own, but

together, they are a herald of discoveries to come.

“Science often comes down to the details, meaning that

sometimes the smallest things may help solve the biggest

problems,” Jones said. “Each day, our scientists are pushing

the boundaries of what was once thought to be impossible,

always with an eye on building a better tomorrow.”

(LEFT TO RIGHT) 3D STRUCTURE OF TRPM4 RECEPTOR; 3D STRUCTURE OF MCM2-7 HELICASE.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 17


Going Further, Together Building a culture of collaboration in Grand Rapids

In the past 30 years, Grand Rapids has undergone

a renaissance — one that has revitalized the city's

economy and transformed a formerly sleepy hilltop

into a thriving center of scientific discovery and

innovation.

Once known as a manufacturing hub, the city is becoming

a leader in research aimed at improving human health,

a reputation that grows each day thanks to a vibrant

community of scientists, educators and health care

professionals who call Grand Rapids home.

Nowhere is this more evident than the city’s Medical Mile,

a stretch of Michigan Avenue that includes Van Andel

Institute (VAI), Spectrum Health, Michigan State University

(MSU) College of Human Medicine, Grand Valley State

University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community

College and University of Michigan-Metro Health, and is

close to collaborators such as Mercy Health and Mary

Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The impact of these

organizations and of the community’s investment in their

success is undeniable — since the groundbreaking of

Breaking records

As the economic impact of the Medical Mile continues to

grow, so, too, does the amount of external funding earned

by VARI scientists.

Attaining federal funding is of special importance because

it serves as a stamp of scientific validation, thanks in

part to rigorous application and peer-review processes,

and communicates to the world at large that third-party

experts have found the work robust and valuable.

the Institute in 1996, the Medical Mile has sparked more

than $3 billion in research, education and health care

infrastructure and is now home to more than 65 scientists

and their labs.

“The spirit of teamwork is alive and well in Grand Rapids,

and is propelling the city to international prominence,”

said Dr. Peter Jones, the Institute’s chief scientific officer.

“No single organization did this alone; instead, it was a

collaborative effort bolstered by a dedicated, passionate

community that achieved the success we have today.”

In September 2017, the Medical Mile continued its

trajectory with the opening of Michigan State University’s

Grand Rapids Research Center, just down the hill from VAI.

The six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility will house 44 labs

dedicated to a mission that parallels the Institute’s — to

enhance health through cutting-edge biomedical research.

VAI and MSU have long collaborated on an institutional

and an individual level, thanks in part to the many MSU

scientists whose labs resided at the Institute until the

Another important metric used to measure the Institute’s

scientific impact is the publication of discoveries in

scientific journals.

We’re pleased to report that in 2017, VARI scientists

excelled on both fronts, earning more peer-reviewed

federal grant funding and publishing more scientific papers

than any other year in the Institute’s history.

Grand Rapids Research Center opened in the fall and

the close proximity of MSU College of Human Medicine’s

Secchia Center, just across Michigan Avenue. With both

organizations charting a course toward ambitious growth,

which will at least double the number of world-class

scientists in Grand Rapids, we plan to take our partnership

to the next level.

By sharing core scientific services, such as high-powered

sequencing technology and analytical expertise,

investigators at MSU and VAI will have an even more robust

scientific support system bolstering their efforts. The goal

is to further build a dynamic scientific environment, one

in which investigators can focus on their life-changing

research with easy access to the necessary resources.

“We expect the results of our continued collaboration to

be nothing short of transformative,” Jones said. “Together

with all of our colleagues in Grand Rapids, we look

forward to making our vision of a healthier, better

tomorrow a reality.”

In 2017, VARI scientists ...

• Received 37 new awards totaling $27.7 million

(life of award)

• Of those, 18 awards, or $23.6 million, are federal grants

(life of award)

• Published 145 publications, 132 of which are

peer-reviewed

18 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


RESEARCH

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 19


Van Andel Education Institute

is dedicated to creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical

thinking thrive.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School

develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense

problem-focused Ph.D. degree in cell and molecular genetics.

20 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 21


Connecting Two Worlds

Dylan Dues is a graduate student on a decidedly

difficult path — a path that requires long hours

spent absorbing information, laboratory work and

multiple rotations in a clinical setting. Dues is on his

way to becoming a physician–scientist — a rare specialty

that serves as a bridge between the research lab and

clinical work with patients. Enrolled in the unique M.D./

Ph.D. Dual Degree Program established by Van Andel

Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) and the Michigan

State University (MSU) College of Human Medicine, he is

at the very beginning of a lifelong professional journey.

Dues became interested in pursuing this demanding

degree after working as a lab technician in one of VAI’s

Parkinson’s disease research labs and volunteering as

an undergraduate student on a neurology team at Le

Bonheur Children's Hospital in Germantown, Tennessee.

As a volunteer working alongside a team of physicians,

he got to see firsthand the limits of therapeutic options

available for epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

He also developed a deeper understanding of the

importance of biomedical research in the development

of new therapies.

“Volunteering at the children’s hospital made me reflect

on the multitude of reasons people seek medical care,

and how limited we really are regarding what we can

offer them,” Dues said. “Because of biomedical research,

we know more than ever about human diseases,

but there are still a lot of barriers between what we

understand scientifically and how that knowledge can be

translated into effective therapies for patients.”

Working as a physician–scientist will give Dues the

opportunity to cross the many barriers that separate the

lab from the clinic and focus on providing the best care

possible for his patients and those who might benefit

from his research.

“If I am working as a physician and I find something

interesting or difficult to treat, as a trained scientist, I

can take what I’ve learned in the clinic back to the lab

and study it further — and being able to do that is pretty

rare,” Dues said. “And conversely, working as a scientist

with direct access to the clinic, I can be the missing link

between what is known now, what we might discover

later and how these lab discoveries might impact a

patient’s treatment in the future.”

Uniquely positioned for translational research

Started in 2010, the collaborative M.D./Ph.D. Dual

Degree Program was designed to offer a path for

students who wanted to work in two symbiotic but

separate worlds. Students enrolled in the program work

toward a medical degree at MSU’s College of Human

Medicine while also pursuing a Ph.D. degree at VAIGS.

The program integrates curriculum and hands-on lab

and clinical training that is tailor-made for ambitious

students like Dues who want to work in the lab and the

clinic. According to Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg, president

and dean of VAIGS, the program is a continuation of the

Institute’s commitment to science education that has a

lasting and profound impact on human health and

well-being.

“Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s mission is to

train scientists who are working on medically relevant

questions that might one day impact patient care,”

Triezenberg said. “Physician–scientists are uniquely

positioned for translational research because they have

the opportunity to see problems in the clinic firsthand

that need to be solved, and then they can use their skills

in the lab to develop new therapeutic solutions.”

“Graduate students at the

Institute are treated like

budding professionals. It’s

exciting to be in a program

where faculty have a real

interest in seeing you become

a physician–scientist.”

Dylan Dues

As medicine becomes more personalized and granular,

Triezenberg sees physician–scientists playing a greater

role in medicine.

“I think we will see interest in this program increase in

the next few years,” Triezenberg said. “National studies

have highlighted the importance of people who can

function comfortably in two worlds and can find ways

to make connections between them in order to benefit

patient care.”

The Institute’s mission to develop improved treatments

22 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


EDUCATION

for patients, focus on basic as well as translational

research and culture of collaboration gives Dues a

learning experience that is tailor-made for his passion.

“Graduate students at the Institute are treated like

budding professionals. It’s exciting to be in a program

where faculty have a real interest in seeing you become

a physician–scientist,” Dues said. “People tell me I’m

crazy all the time for taking so much on, but I’ve never

been one to shy away from a difficult problem or an

insurmountable task. I’m where I need to be.”

DYLAN DUES

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 23


Van Andel Education Institute, NASA & the Girl Scouts Team Up to Take Girls to the Stars!

The sky was not the limit for Girl Scouts who attended

Van Andel Education Institute’s (VAEI) inaugural Journey

Through a Life in Space camp in early June 2017. Young

space explorers participated in hands-on activities, learning

about space travel and rocket science, navigating the solar

system and discovering how life in space might affect the

human body. The camp was a partnership between VAEI,

NASA and the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore,

and featured a curriculum developed by NASA. Campers

also met with a NASA engineer and a Van Andel Research

Institute scientist to learn about future career opportunities

in science-related fields.

“It’s wonderful to see so many young women passionate

about science — working together collaborating, and

24 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

learning what it means to be a scientist working for NASA

or Van Andel Research Institute,” said Lisa Neeb, VAEI

instructional specialist. “The camp experience we were able

to give these girls was the result of different organizations

coming together to create a learning experience unlike

anything we’ve ever done before. Collaborating with wellknown

organizations like NASA and the Girl Scouts enabled

us to create a very special program.”

VAEI’s summer space camp is one of the many ways the

Institute partners with local and national organizations

to bring new and exciting science education programs

to students.

“It’s really encouraging to see that organizations are

GIRL SCOUTS AT VAEI

interested in working with Van Andel Education Institute

to make science education more engaging and impactful,”

Neeb said. “I know we will continue to look for more

ways to work with national science organizations,

community groups, nonprofits, museums and zoos in

order to continue to provide the very best educational

opportunities we can for our students. It’s exciting to

think of what we can do next.”

In 2017, Van Andel Education Institute

worked directly with 925 students and

more than 1,300 teachers.

Since NexGen Inquiry ® was launched in

April 2015, more than 4,000 teachers

have signed up to use it, and more

than 114,000 student assignments

have been issued through this

groundbreaking platform.


Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation Provides

Students with a Summer of Discovery

EDUCATION

STUDENT AT SUMMER CAMP

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) hosted an

inaugural summer camp program for 60 enthusiastic

young students across West Michigan in July 2017.

Fourth- through seventh-grade students from a variety

of backgrounds were offered a unique opportunity

to experience the joy of discovery and embrace their

curiosity, creativity and critical thinking skills through the

program. Students learned how to develop supportive

learning relationships and expand their understanding of

basic scientific principles, all while building friendships and

having fun.

“Van Andel Education Institute

encourages students to be

passionate, engaged learners

and helps them explore

the incredible world

of scientific discovery.”

Bea Aldrink Idema

The camp was made possible through a generous gift from

the Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation, a West Michigan–based

nonprofit organization that has long supported VAEI’s

commitment to biomedical research and science education.

While growing up in a farming family in Allendale, Michigan,

Bea developed a zest for life, people and helping others

in her community. Supporting educational initiatives has

long been a passion for Bea and her extended family —

in addition to investing in the Institute, the Bea Aldrink

Idema Foundation has contributed generously to academic

institutions throughout Grand Rapids.

“Van Andel Education Institute encourages students to

be passionate, engaged learners and helps them explore

the incredible world of scientific discovery,” Bea said. “Our

Foundation is proud to support the Institute’s programs

that are inspiring students and illuminating the beauty and

complexity of the natural world.”

Because of the Foundation’s generosity, VAEI is able to

extend the summer camp programming into 2018 and

expand the curriculum to include second- through 12thgrade

students. The Institute will also use these funds to

partner with organizations such as NASA, the Girl Scouts

of America, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and the

Grand Rapids Public Museum to design summer camps

that cover a variety of scientific subjects. Terra Tarango,

VAEI director and education officer, is grateful to partner

with the Foundation to create a unique program that takes

learning out of textbooks and places it in an active, hands-on

educational environment.

“We are so appreciative of the Bea Aldrink Idema

Foundation’s generosity and support for our mission,”

Tarango said. “The Foundation’s gift has enabled us

to broaden the number of students we serve and to

enhance the experience for all campers. With professional

equipment, creative curriculum and hands-on learning

experiences, our campers will gain not only the science

content they learn at camp but also treasured memories

and a lifelong passion for learning!”

STUDENTS AT SUMMER CAMP

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 25


Van Andel Institute’s donors and philanthropic partners are connected by

a shared sense of commitment to the Institute’s mission. Their creativity,

passion and dedication have helped the Institute become a thriving center

for innovative biomedical research and science education.

26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 27


Profiles in Hope — Van Andel Institute Donors Turn Love & Loss into Action

Blake Crabb

Blake Crabb

always looks for an

opportunity to tell

people about Purple

Community and

Van Andel Institute

(VAI). As a past

co-chair of the Purple

Community Cabinet

and a current member

of the Institute’s JBoard

Ambassadors, Crabb

has given presentations, met with community members and

worked hard to help organize successful fundraising events.

For Crabb, the work is all deeply personal.

“I discovered Purple Community within a month of my mom

being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” Crabb said. “One

of the first things I asked the Purple Community team was

if VAI researches pancreatic cancer, and they said, ‘We

absolutely do, and by the way, would you like to meet one of

our scientists?’”

Crabb’s mother fought the disease aggressively, but after

two years of treatment, the cancer spread to her liver

and even further, to her lymph nodes. Blake and his mom

decided to take her off treatment to preserve her quality

of life. He stayed by her side until the very end.

“It was about 7:15 in the morning when she passed,”

Crabb said. “I walked in to her room just after she took

her last breath.”

When Crabb’s mother passed away, it completely changed

his perspective on what was important in life. He began

searching for ways to cultivate hope.

28 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

“After you are somebody’s main caregiver, you end up with

an amazing amount of time, which makes you shift your

sense of purpose,” Crabb said. “It made me look for ways

to be hopeful, and I’ve come to understand that if you’re

looking for hope, you definitely have to take action. You

have to be able to look at a challenge and ask yourself,

‘What can I do?’”

Over the past several years, Crabb has worked with Purple

Community team members and volunteers, organizing

and inspiring others and leveraging his skills to support

research into pancreatic cancer.

“Volunteering your time is not about some massive

undertaking — it’s really as simple as getting involved on

the ground level and figuring out what motivates you,”

Crabb said. “When you spread positive energy around and

bring people together, it’s more likely you are going to end

up with something that results not just in hope but maybe

one day, a cure.” Watch Blake's story at bit.ly/BlakeCrabb.

Pat Ringnalda

There’s an

unmistakable joyful

energy at the Bee

Brave 5K — an event

Pat Ringnalda and

her friends and family

have organized for

more than a decade.

Ringnalda is a

passionate advocate

for breast cancer

research, and her

contagious positivity makes the Bee Brave 5K not only a

successful fundraiser but also a way for people to come

together in the spirit of hope.

Since partnering with Van Andel Institute’s Purple

Community in 2016, the event has raised nearly $140,000

to benefit breast cancer research at the Institute. Ringnalda

is encouraged by the outpouring of support she’s received

for Bee Brave and its mission of hope.

“When I think back to when I first started the event and was

recruiting volunteers, friends and family members to help,

I thought it would be temporary, but 10 years later, we are

still here, working together to make this such a wonderful

event,” Ringnalda said.

Hosting an event for 10 years takes a great deal of effort,

but when the demands weigh on her, Ringnalda often

reflects on the people she’s had the opportunity to meet

who are in the toughest fight of their lives.

“One of my first event sponsors was a women’s exercise

business in West Michigan,” Ringnalda said. ”When I

would visit, I would see this woman named Lupita on the

treadmill, and I could see she was battling cancer and trying

to get healthy. She came to our first event with her whole

family — and then in less than a year, she passed away.

Stories like that remind me that our efforts are important,

and we need to keep making a difference for everyone

fighting cancer.”

Bee Brave’s partnership with Purple Community has helped

Ringnalda grow her event and connect her to a network

of like-minded supporters. It is a partnership that has

helped build on her vision and grow her popular event into

something extraordinary.

“If you’re thinking about doing an event, my answer is …

stop thinking and do it now,” Ringnalda said. “Working with

Purple Community connects your passion to an incredible

group of people who are there to support you and help


you give back for a cause you care deeply about.”

Watch Pat's story at bit.ly/PatRingnalda.

Chelsea Westra

Chelsea Westra never

thought she would

be organizing golf

outings or leading a

team of volunteers,

but for more than a

year, she has helped

run Eagles for Eric,

a West Michigan–

based fundraising

committee. Together

with Purple

Community, Westra has helped raised thousands of dollars

to benefit osteosarcoma research. Named after her late

husband, Eric, the committee is a tribute to the life they

shared together and to Westra’s need to help others who

have been affected by cancer.

Westra’s first child, Arie, had just been born when Eric

underwent surgery due to recurrent osteosarcoma, a

rare bone cancer. The couple was devastated by the

unexpected news, but they fought through it and sought

out the best treatment possible. Four months later, a

full-body bone scan confirmed that tumors had spread

throughout his body.

“Eric needed everything I had to help him,” Westra said.

“Our parents and siblings really stepped up. My son, Arie,

was essentially raised by my sister-in-law during the last

few months Eric was sick — we missed the first time he

crawled, and we missed a lot of those little milestones.”

Eric passed away from the disease in 2016, and it was

the most difficult thing Westra could ever imagine.

Being Eric’s caregiver for those three years gave her a

newfound understanding of the importance of research

in developing new treatments for devastating diseases

like osteosarcoma.

During Eric’s first surgery, he donated a portion of his

tumor to Dr. Matthew Steensma’s lab at the Institute to be

used for osteosarcoma research. Westra views this act of

generosity as a fitting way to honor the life of the man she

loved so dearly.

“A great heartache, like I had with Eric, really gives you a

heart for great causes. And Van Andel Institute is what’s

in my heart because it keeps Eric’s memory alive. It still

feels like we can do something good with it, and hopefully,

one day, because of what they’re able to do with Eric’s

tumor, it won’t be a terminal diagnosis; it will be a beatable

diagnosis,” Westra said.

Through Westra’s work with Purple Community, she plans

to play an active role in the Institute’s work to develop lifesaving

therapies for people battling cancer.

“Hope looks different to everyone,“ Westra said. “For me,

hope looks like working hard so that my son, Arie, can see

that maybe his dad isn’t here, but look at this amazing thing

that happened because of his life.” Watch Chelsea's story at

bit.ly/ChelseaWestra.

David Bronkema

David Bronkema’s

faith and family mean

the world to

him. When he was

diagnosed with

Parkinson’s disease at

the young age of 42,

his thoughts instantly

went to God and his

children.

“The thing that flooded

my mind when I was driving home after being diagnosed

was that my kids need to understand that God is good, not

just when things are going well … I want them to know he is

good all the time,” Bronkema said.

PHILANTHROPY

Bronkema’s strong Christian faith and need to do good in

the world led him to become a dedicated supporter of

Van Andel Institute’s Parkinson’s disease research, and

he is optimistic that with donor support, the Institute’s

scientists can help those diagnosed with this degenerative

disease.

“I’ll be honest and say I hope that there is a cure in my

lifetime, so I try and live every day to the fullest, and never

give up hope,” Bronkema said. “Just understanding all the

great research taking place at the Institute should give

anyone a real sense of hope that we are that much closer

to a cure.”

Bronkema is an ardent believer in the Institute’s ability

to effect change and bring about new therapies for

Parkinson’s, and he hopes more people will join him and

support its mission.

“If you want to change the way things are tomorrow, you

have to get involved in what the Institute is doing today,”

Bronkema said. “Whether it’s volunteering or donating

through Purple Community, or giving a donation to benefit

the Institute’s scientists, everyone can find a way to

support the work happening here.”

Facing the hardest battle of his life, Bronkema is

encouraged by the Institute’s work and supported by the

love of his family and his faith in God. “I have so much hope

for what Van Andel Institute is doing, and because of that,

I will never lose heart,” he said. Watch David's story at bit.ly/

DavidBronkema.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 29


Winterfest & The Art of Fashion & Research

30 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT)

JEFF BATTERSHALL & RICHARD ROANE; GEORGE SHARPE JR.;

MODEL AT ART OF FASHION & RESEARCH; DEB CLARKE & PATRICK

PLANK; DAVID VAN ANDEL; ALISON SHELTROWN; KEN DEWEY,

CAROL VAN ANDEL & RENNE JANOVSKY.


A Conversation About Depression Hosted by Carol Van Andel &

The Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Dinner & Awards Presentation

EVENTS

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) CAROL VAN ANDEL;

DAVID & CAROL VAN ANDEL; PETER & JOAN SECCHIA; JOHN

ZIMMERMAN; DR. ELIZABETH KOWAL & MARANDA; TIM LONG &

CAROL VAN ANDEL; SUSAN JANDERNOA; MIKE & SUE LUNN.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 31


Purple Community 5K & Around the World

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) FEARLESS FLAMINGOS;

LYNNE JARMAN-JOHNSON; MATT & ELIZABETH NELSON,

DAN & MEGAN ROGERS & BLAKE CRABB; RACHEL MRAZ,

CHAD BASSETT, TANYA & CHARLIE ROWERDINK; 5K PARTICIPANTS;

CHRISTINA KELLER & REBECCA STEKETEE; THEA UNDERWOOD,

ALEXANDRA PEREZ, CECILY MCCABE & KIM BYAM.

32 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Curiosity and Cocktails & Designs on a Cure

EVENTS

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) EMILY NICHOLS & KYLE

OSOWSKI; JOANN WESTWATER, DAVID & CAROL VAN ANDEL &

JEFFERY ROBERTS; TERRA TARANGO; JAN BYSLMA;

DESIGNS ON A CURE SHOWROOM.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 33


VAI Golf Outing & Couture for a Cure

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) TIM LONG, KATHY & PHIL

VOGELSANG & TIM MYERS; CAROL VAN ANDEL; VIOLINIST RITSU

KATSUMATA; JACK DOLES, KURT HASSBERGER, DAVID VAN ANDEL,

KIRK GIBSON & AARON VAN ANDEL; MODELS AT COUTURE FOR

A CURE; REBECCA WIERDA, SHANE GABIER & CAROL VAN ANDEL;

JOHN & DEB KAILUNAS WITH KIRK GIBSON.

34 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Hope on the Hill & A Conversation About Osteoporosis

Hosted by Carol Van Andel

EVENTS

(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) DAVID & CAROL

VAN ANDEL WITH BRIAN & LORI VANDER BAAN; OZ PEARLMAN

ONSTAGE WITH A GUEST; DRS. BART WILLIAMS, MICHAEL

JAKUBOWSKI, SUNDEEP KHOSLA & MARANDA; EVENT GUESTS

DANCING; TONY GATES & TIM FEAGAN; CAROL VAN ANDEL.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 35


A Perfect Day, an Unforgettable Memory

Jens Bach loved to see his grandson, Jake, play football.

On a warm September afternoon, Jens sat in his wheelchair

with his nurse, Joyce, at his side watching as Jake played in

the Hope College Purple Community game. It wasn’t easy

to see every part of the game, but he knew that Jake was

wearing a jersey that had Jens “Flex” Bach stitched on the

back in his honor. He was at the very end of his long fight

with cancer, but Jens wanted to be there to watch Jake play,

one last time.

“It was a perfect day,” said Mary VanderVeen, Jens’ daughter

and Jake’s mom. “My dad loved watching Jake’s games,

and as the football season approached, it became clear

that we didn’t have much time left with him, so the Purple

Community game became an important event for us.”

Mary and her husband, Scott, along with family and friends,

came from all across the country to be there with Jens at

the game.

“My dad passed away almost one week after the Purple

Community game. That game has come to mean so

much to us as a family,” Mary said. “He was such a kind,

gentle and strong man who loved his family, and having

that moment with him was really something we will

never forget.”

Purple Community events do more than raise funds for

research; they bring people together through a shared

experience, and often, they create unforgettable memories.

Every jersey has a name

When Scott VanderVeen looked out in the stands during

the game, he noticed that Jens and his family were among

(LEFT TO RIGHT) COACH STUURSMA, MARGIE & JENS BACH,

JAKE VANDERVEEN, CAROL & DAVID VAN ANDEL.

hundreds of other people with their own stories of life,

loss and love.

“What is so great and moving about Purple Community

games is that everyone there has a special relationship to

the cause, and even though our family was there in a big

group for Jens, it was so wonderful to see other families

who were there supporting their loved ones,” Scott said.

“Every player had a name on the back of their jersey, and

I knew they were playing for someone who was important

to them — someone they loved or maybe someone they

lost in the fight against cancer.”

Caroline Dykstra, assistant athletic director at Hope

College, has seen firsthand how important Purple

Community games are to families whose lives have

been affected by cancer. For her and the athletes she

works with, the events are a time of great emotion and

great purpose.

“Everyone who attends our games has a story about

someone who has fought a battle with cancer,” Dykstra

said. “Our partnership with Purple Community gives us

the chance to honor people like Jens, give back to our

community in a meaningful way and help raise funds for

a cause we are incredibly passionate about.”

When the game ended on that late-summer afternoon,

and Jake said goodbye to his teammates and left the field,

he walked toward his family and his grandfather Jens

sitting in his wheelchair. Jens never had the chance to play

football as a young man, but one week before he passed

away, surrounded by his friends and family, Jake handed

his grandfather the jersey he wore during the game. It

was the least he could do for his biggest fan.

36 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


PHILANTHROPY

Purple Community

Purple Community, Van Andel Institute’s grassroots

fundraising and awareness program,

connects individuals, schools, teams and

businesses to the resources needed to support

groundbreaking cancer and Parkinson’s disease

research. In 2017, Purple Community members

hosted more than 150 events throughout

Michigan that raised more than $622,000.

Purple Community events bring people from

every walk of life together to celebrate the power

of family, friendship and community action. They

also give people the chance to honor those

fighting disease and pay tribute to those who have

lost their fight against cancer and Parkinson’s.

Every event is a collection of stories — people

coming together to support one another and help

make the world a better, healthier place.

(LEFT TO RIGHT) JENS' FRIENDS & FAMILY;

DAVID & CAROL VAN ANDEL, HOPE COLLEGE FOOTBALL

COACHES & TEAM; HOPE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS WITH

CAROL & DAVID VAN ANDEL.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 37


Sources of Funding

Sources of Funding for Research & Education

7%

Private philanthropy

19%

Grants and contract

revenue (direct)

67%

Endowment income

7%

Other

Sources of Funding for Operating & Overhead Expenses

76%

Endowment income

24%

Grants and contract

revenue

38 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Society of Hope

The Society of Hope recognizes individuals

and couples who have notified us that they

will include Van Andel Institute in their will

or other deferred giving plan. Through our

acknowledgment of and gratitude to these

exceptional people, we hope that their

generosity will inspire others.

PHILANTHROPY

Vivian G. Anderson

Stanley & Blanche Ash

Kevin & Michelle Bassett

Philip & Shirley Battershall

John & Nancy Batts

Fred & Julie Bogaert

Bill & Marilyn Crawford

Barbara Erhards

J. Scott Grill

Joan Hammersmith

Arthur Joseph Jabury

Ms. Maryanna Johnson

Renee Kuipers

Mr. & Mrs. Timothy Long

Jamie Mills & Jim Nichols

LG & Helen Myers

Jone E. Phillips

Ronald Rutkowski

Alan R. Ryan

George Sietsema

Eva Sonneville

Fred L. Tape

Hylda & Alvin Tuuk

John E. VanFossen

In Memoriam — Donald W. Maine

With great sadness, we said farewell to Don Maine in

February 2018. A member of the Van Andel Education

Institute Board of Trustees and chair of the Finance and

Compensation committees for more than 11 years, Don

was a devoted friend and an enthusiastic champion of the

Institute from our beginning.

Don was a fixture on the educational scene in West

Michigan. He was fascinated with entrepreneurial thinking,

and his vision guided Davenport University from a small

college to a fully accredited university. As the former

president and chancellor, he was beloved at Davenport

and throughout our community. A mentor to many, Don

made people feel special in everything he did. He gave

freely of his time and expertise, serving on multiple boards

and receiving numerous accolades along the way.

Don was a great friend personally and of the Institute. He

will be missed dearly.

- David Van Andel

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 39


Signature Special Event Sponsors

We are grateful to have extraordinarily dedicated signature event sponsors.

Thank you for partnering with us and supporting our mission throughout the year.

ADAC Automotive

Adamy Valuation

Ag Business Solutions

Alliance Beverage

Amway

Amway Grand Plaza

AON

Aquinas College

Artistry

ASI Interiors

Atomic Object

Barnes & Thornburg, LLP

B.D.'s BBQ

Belwith Products

Matthew & Shari Berger

BHS Insurance

Franco & Alessandra Bianchi

Dave & Jill Bielema

Bluewater Technologies

Charles & Christine Boelkins

Buist Electric

Calamos

Jerry & Suzanne Callahan

Caminiti Associates Inc.

Scott & Heidi Campbell

Cancer & Hematology Centers

of Western Michigan

Cascade Rentals

Cheeky Strut

Chemical Bank

The Chop House

CityFlatsHotel

Coldwell Banker

Colliers International

Consumers Credit Union

Cornerstone University

Crowe Horwath, LLP

Crystal Clean Auto Detailing

Cumulus Media, Inc.

Tom & Tracy Curran

Currie Foundation

Custer, Inc.

CWD Real Estate Investment

Cygnus 27

Czech Asset Management, L.P.

Davenport University

David & Carol Van Andel Family

Foundation

Brian DeVries & Barbara Pugh

The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family

Foundation

Discovery Financial, LLC

Divani

DK Security

The Douglas & Maria DeVos

Foundation

Eastbrook Homes

Eenhoorn, LLC

Eileen DeVries Family

Foundation

Ellis Parking

Erhardt Construction

Eurest

Extend Your Reach

Ferris Coffee & Nut Co.

Fifth Third Private Bank

First & Main Management

First National Bank

John & Melynda Folkert

FOODesign by Chef Brech

Dan & Lou Ann Gaydou

Goldman Sachs

Good

Grand Rapids Christian Schools

Grand Rapids YMCA

Grand Valley State University

Grand Ventures

Gravity Taphouse Grille

Greenridge Realty

Martin & Peggy Greydanus

Dr. Jana Hall

Fred L. Hansen

Harvey Automotive

Paul & Sheryl Haverkate

Honigman

Hope College

Horwood Marcus & Berk

Chartered

Howard Miller

Huizenga Group

Ben & Molly Hunting

Melissa & Ralph Iannelli

Ice Sculptures Ltd.

The I.C.N. Foundation

iHeartMedia, Inc.

Independent Bank

Iron

i understand

Jandernoa Foundation

Jeffery Roberts Design

John Hancock Retirement Plan

Services, LLC

Dr. Peter & Veronica Jones

Jim & Ginger Jurries

JW Marriott Grand Rapids

Keeler

John & Nancy Kennedy

Kerkstra Precast

Kinney Family

Kitchen 67

Al & Robin Koop

Lake Michigan Credit Union

Ray & Jeannine Lanning

Leigh's

Leo's

Lighthouse Group

Gary & Vicky Ludema

Macatawa Bank

Marsha Veenstra State Farm

Insurance

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation

Hospital

McAlvey Merchant & Associates

McDonnell Investment

Management, LLC

McShane & Bowie, P.L.C.

Media 3 Design

Meijer

Mercy Health

Metro Health

Michigan State University -

College of Human Medicine

Mika Meyers, PLC

Mike Bell, Inc. & Westwater

Patterson

Jamie Mills & Jim Nichols

Mitten CNC

MLive Media Group/The Grand

Rapids Press

Modern Day Events & Floral

Dave & Kim Moorhead

Mike & Rachel Mraz

Norris, Perné & French, LLP

Investment Counsel

Tim & Karen O'Donovan

Orthopaedic Associates of

Michigan

Osteria Rossa

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

Parkinson's Association of

West Michigan

Leland & Alexandra Perez

Peter C. & Emajean Cook

Foundation

Pine Rest Christian Mental

Health Services

Pioneer Construction

Pitsch Companies

Preusser Jewelers

Priority Health

Radius Health, Inc.

Reds at Thousand Oaks

Regal Investment Advisors, LLC

The Richard & Helen DeVos

Foundation

Tom & Brenda Rinks

Rocket Science Creative

Rockford Construction

RoMan Manufacturing

John & Therese Rowerdink

Rowerdink, Inc.

San Chez Bistro

Scott & Jan Spoelhof Foundation

Secchia Family Foundation

SemelSnow Interior Design, Inc.

The Sharpe Collection

Nick & Karen Sherman

six.one.six

Slows Bar BQ

Sobie Meats, LLC

Soils & Structures

Spectrum Health

Square 1 Bank, a division of

Pacific Western Bank

Rob & Susan Stafford

Standard Supply & Lumber Co.

Steelcase

Stephen Klotz Family Foundation

The Steve & Amy Van Andel

Foundation

Thomas & Mary Stuit

Taconic Charitable Foundation

Thomas S. Fox Family

Todd Wenzel Buick GMC

Townsquare Media (Channel

95.7, 100.5 The River

& WFGR 98.7)

Truscott Rossman

U.S. Bank

USA Financial

Sharon Van Dellen

Van Eerden Foodservice

Company

Dave & Beth Van Portfliet

Brian & Lori Vander Baan

The Veldheer, Long, Mackay

& Bernecker Group of

Merrill Lynch

Russ & Chris Visner

Waddell & Reed, Inc.

Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP

Watson Smith, Inc.

Wells Fargo Bank

West Michigan Woman

Wheelhouse

Dr. Bart & Wendy Williams

Williams Kitchen & Bath

Greg & Meg Willit

Bob & Karen Wiltz

Wolverine Worldwide

Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Jim & Jane Zwiers

40 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Institute Leadership Team

LEADERSHIP

“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.”

David Van Andel

David Van Andel

Van Andel Institute Chairman & CEO

David Van Andel is Chairman and CEO of Van Andel

Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also an

entrepreneur involved in several other business interests

in the natural and life science products industries.

The son of Jay Van Andel, founder of Van Andel Institute

and co-founder of Amway Corporation, David is currently

a member of Amway’s Board of Directors and serves on

its Executive, Governance and Audit committees. Before

leading Van Andel Institute, he had held various positions

at Amway since 1977, including chief operating officer of

Amway’s Pyxis Innovations Business Unit, and was senior

vice president–Americas and Europe, overseeing Amway

business activities in North America and 22 European and

11 Latin American affiliates.

Jerry Callahan, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Vice President, Innovation & Collaboration Officer

Jana Hall, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Chief Operations Officer

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Chief Scientific Officer,

Van Andel Research Institute

Timothy Myers

Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Terra Tarango

Director & Education Officer,

Van Andel Education Institute

Steven J. Triezenberg, Ph.D.

President & Dean,

Van Andel Institute Graduate School

Linda Zarzecki

Vice President of Human Resources

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 41


Board & Council Members

Van Andel Institute Trustees

David Van Andel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

John Kennedy

President & Chief Executive Officer, Autocam Medical

Mark Meijer

President, Life E.M.S. Ambulance

Van Andel Research Institute Trustees

David Van Andel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

Tom R. DeMeester, M.D.

Professor & Chairman Emeritus, Department

of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of

Southern California

James B. Fahner, M.D.

Chief of Hematology & Oncology, Helen DeVos

Children’s Hospital

(LEFT TO RIGHT) MARK MEIJER, JOHN KENNEDY &

DAVID VAN ANDEL.

42 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017

Michelle Le Beau, Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology;

Director, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer

Center; Director, Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory,

University of Chicago

George Vande Woude, Ph.D.

Distinguished Scientific Fellow, Founding Research Director,

Van Andel Research Institute

Ralph Weichselbaum, M.D.

Chairman, Department of Radiation; Head, Ludwig Center

for Metastasis Research, University of Chicago

Max S. Wicha, M.D.

Distinguished Professor of Oncology; Professor,

Department of Internal Medicine; Founding Director,

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

(LEFT TO RIGHT) JUAN OLIVAREZ, DAVID VAN ANDEL,

GORDON VAN HARN & JAMES BULTMAN.

(NOT PICTURED) DONALD MAINE.

Van Andel Education Institute Trustees

David Van Andel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

James E. Bultman, Ed.D.

Former President, Hope College

Donald W. Maine

Former President, Davenport University

Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D.

President, Aquinas College

Gordon L. Van Harn, Ph.D.

Emeritus Provost & Professor of Biology, Calvin College


Van Andel Research Institute

Board of Scientific Advisors

Michael Brown, M.D.

(Chair) Paul J. Thomas Professor of Genetics & Director

of the Jonsson Center of Molecular Genetics, University of

Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Richard Axel, M.D.

Professor of Neurosciences, Columbia University

Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D.

Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics,

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Tony Hunter, Ph.D.

Professor, Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory; American

Cancer Society Professor; Renato Dulbecco Chair; Director,

Salk Institute Cancer Center

Philip A. Sharp, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology & Head of the Cancer Center,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Van Andel Research Institute

External Scientific Advisory Board

Tony Hunter, Ph.D.

(Chair) Professor, Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory;

American Cancer Society Professor; Renato Dulbecco

Chair; Director, Salk Institute Cancer Center

Marie-Francois Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D.

Charles H. Markham Professor of Neurology; Distinguished

Professor of Neurology and of Neurobiology, Reed

Neurological Research Center

Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs; Dean of Medicine,

University of California Irvine

Theresa Guise, M.D.

Professor of Medicine; Jerry W. & Peg S. Throgmartin

Professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Division

of Endocrinology, Indiana University

Kristian Helin, Ph.D.

Director, Biotech Research & Innovation Centre

(BRIC); Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University

of Copenhagen

Sharon Y.R. Dent, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Epigenetics and

Molecular Carcinogenesis; Director, Science Part;

Director, Center for Cancer Epigenetics, MD Anderson

Cancer Center

Max S. Wicha, M.D.

Distinguished Professor of Oncology; Professor,

Department of Internal Medicine; Founding Director,

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Van Andel Education Institute

Advisory Council

David Van Andel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

Nancy Ayres

Former General Manager, Flexco

Stephen Best

Education Consultant, Michigan Department of Education

James Boelkins, Ph.D.

Former Provost, Hope College

LEADERSHIP

Joseph Krajcik, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Teacher Education at Michigan

State University

Carol Van Andel, B.A.

Executive Director, David & Carol Van Andel

Family Foundation

Van Andel Institute Graduate School

Board of Directors

James Fahner, M.D.

Chief of Hematology & Oncology, Helen DeVos Children’s

Hospital

Michael J. Imperiale, Ph.D.

Director, Doctoral Program in Cancer Biology; Associate

Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology,

University of Michigan

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Research Institute

Pamela Kidd, M.D.

Hematopathologist & Medical Director of the Hematology

& Flow Cytometry Laboratories, Spectrum Health & Helen

DeVos Children’s Hospital

Gordon Van Harn, Ph.D.

Emeritus Provost & Professor of Biology, Calvin College

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 43


Board & Council Members (continued)

Van Andel Institute Board of Governors

CO-CHAIRS: TIM LONG & VICKY LUDEMA

Cynthia Afendoulis

Martin & Sue Allen

Kurt Arvidson

Tony & Kathleen Asselta

James & Shirley Balk

Jeffrey & Stephanie Battershall

Stacie Behler

Gregory & Rajene Betz

Franco & Alessandra Bianchi

David & Jill Bielema

Chuck & Christine Boelkins

Carrie Boer

Patrick Brady

Charles & Pam Brickey

Drs. Patrik & Lena Brundin

James & Martha Bultman

Jerry & Suzanne Callahan

Scott & Heidi Campbell

John & Marie Canepa

Matthew Cook

Sam & Janene Cummings

Dave & Karen Custer

Stephen Czech

Mark & Mary Jane de Waal

Jerry & Karen DeBlaay

Thomas DeJong

Robert DeVilbiss

Doug & Maria DeVos

Richard DeVos

John Dykema & Michele

Maly-Dykema

David Eisler

Michael & Lynette Ellis

Tim Emmitt

Jim & Gail Fahner

John & Melynda Folkert

David & Judy Frey

Dan & Lou Ann Gaydou

Gary & Pam Granger

Martin & Margaret Greydanus

Jefra Groendyk

Ronald Haan

Dr. Thomas J. Haas

James & Kathy Hackett

Dr. Jana Hall

David & Joyce Hecht

Paul & Rosemary Heule

John & Gwen Hibbard

Bradley & Liz Hilton

Dirk Hoffius

Robert Hooker

J.C. Huizenga & Dr. Tammy L.

Born-Huizenga

Allen & Helen Hunting

Ben & Molly Hunting

Douglas Hutchings

Jose & Sue Infante

Earle & Kyle Irwin

Mike & Sue Jandernoa

Lynne Jarman-Johnson

Dr. Peter & Veronica Jones

John & Deb Kailunas

David & Nancy Kammeraad

John & Nancy Kennedy

James King & Stephanie Rubie

Craig & Debra Kinney

Stephen Klotz

John Knapp

Diane Kniowski

Al & Robin Koop

Raymond & Jeannine Lanning

Ken Larm

Wilbur & Sharon Lettinga

Ray Loeschner

Timothy & Kimberly Long

Gary & Vicky Ludema

Donald & Kathleen Maine

Linda Martin

Hendrik & Liesel Meijer

Mark & Mary Beth Meijer

Rusty & Jennifer Merchant

Jamie Mills & Jim Nichols

Louis Moran

Mike & Rachel Mraz

Mark & Elizabeth Murray

John & Gail Nowak

Juan & Mary Olivarez

Richard Pappas

Donald & Ann Parfet

Lewis Pitsch & Teresa

Hendricks-Pitsch

Pat Ringnalda

Jeffery Roberts

Eve Rogus

Carol Rottman

Doug Rottman

John & Therese Rowerdink

Michael & Cindy Schaap

Peter & Joan Secchia

George & Linda Sharpe

George & Missy Sharpe

Budge & Marilyn Sherwood

Brent & Diane Slay

Kasie Smith

John & Judy Spoelhof

Robert & Susan Stafford

Thomas & Mary Stuit

Duke Suwyn

Renee Tabben

Dr. Steven & Laura Triezenberg

David & Carol Van Andel

Steve & Amy Van Andel

Michael & Michelle Van Dyke

Daniel & Ann Marie

Van Eerden

Gordon & Mary Van Harn

Maria Van Til

Drs. Gordon & Margaret

Van Wylen

Brian & Lori Vander Baan

Stuart & Nelleke Vander Heide

Allen & Nancy VanderLaan

Michael VanGessel

David & Beth VanPortfliet

Chris & Dana Vinton

Russell & Christine Visner

Phillip & Kathleen Vogelsang

Geoffrey & LeeAnne Widlak

Scott & Rebecca Wierda

James & Sue Williams

Greg Willit & Meg M.

Miller Willit

James & Jane Zwiers

Thank you, Board of Governors.

As members of the Van Andel Institute Board of Governors, you serve as ambassadors who help advance the Institute’s mission and vision in the local community.

Thank you for being our partners and contributing significantly to our success.

44 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017


LEADERSHIP

JBoard Ambassadors

CO-CHAIRS: RACHEL MRAZ & CHAD BASSETT

Dr. Dorothy C. Armstrong

Troy & Jill Austin

Jon & Jennifer Baldini

Chad Bassett

Scott & Heidi Campbell

Natalie Cleary

Paige Cornetet

Blake Crabb

Aaron & Afton DeVos

Samuel DeVries

William Dion

Lindsey Dubis

Bo & Jennifer Fowler

Kevin Gardenier

Linsey Gleason

David Granger

Crissy Hughes

Jason & Brandi Huyser

Jack Iott

Eric Jones

Allison Keutgen

Kevin & Kathryn Kileen

Michael Kooistra

Eric & Caitlin Kovalak

Michael & Jaimie Lomonaco

Erica Lonn

Kimberly Loomis

Geoff Ludema

Matthew McDonald

Peter & Kim Medema

Kate Meyer

Elizabeth Mines

Phillip & Amy Mitchell

Evan & Caitlin Mlynarek

Mike & Rachel Mraz

Christopher & Alyssa Nance

Kyle & Kendra Osowski

Matt Osterhaven

Gregory & Allyson Paplawsky

Erin Paquet

Leland & Alexandra Perez

Laurie Placinski

Elizabeth Pohl

Nikki Probst

Jeff & Deidre Remtema

Adam & Liz Rhoda

Charlie & Tanya Rowerdink

Lindsay & Scott Slagboom

Jon & Allison Sleight

Meriden Smucker

Steve Steketee

Tim Streit

Paul & Libby Stuit

Charity Taatjes

William Templin

Elizabeth Terhorst

Jane Tomaszewski

Bob Tsironis

Aaron & Hailey Van Andel

Chris Van Andel

Jesse Van Andel

Kyle Van Andel

Daniel VandenBosch

David & Sarah Vanderveen

Marc & Ashley Veenstra

Alison & Bill Waske Sutter

Amanda Whowell

MeiLi Wieringa

Charlie Wondergem

Aaron & Amanda Wong

Scott & Megan Zubrickas

Thank you, JBoard members.

As JBoard members, you are leaders who exhibit the power of young professionals to make a difference. We appreciate the energy and dedication you bring to the Institute.

Thank you for your vision and your friendship in our efforts to improve the health and enhance the lives of current and future generations.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2017 | 45


333 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | P 616.234.5000 | vai.org

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