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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 LAX vs. Cancer

8 Van Andel Research Institute's Principal Investigators

14 Challenging Cancer – Beating the Odds 16 Battling Parkinson's – Embracing Advocacy 18 Donor Highlight – Michael Carnevale 19 Foundations for the Future 20 Education 22 Van Andel Institute Graduate School – Personal, Focused and Unique 23 Emily Machiela and Jason Cooper – Life-Changing Graduate School

24 Terra Tarango – Revolutionizing Science Education with Four Simple Words

34 Dr. Hui Shen – Starting a Conversation About Women’s Health

25 Students Performing Real Science – Van Andel Education Institute's Impact on the Classroom

35 Donor Highlight – Joe Rudnick & Tapistry Brewing

26 Donors and Philanthropic Partners 28 Use the Gifts You’re Given – Pat Ringnalda and the Bee Brave 5K

36 Sources of Funding 37 Society of Hope 38 Tributes

29 Bringing it Full Circle at Duncan Lake

40 Memorials

30 Hope on the Hill Photos

44 Signature Special Event Sponsors

31 Donor Highlight – The Boelkins Family

45 Institute Leadership

31 Tim Tebow – Inspiring Through Faith, Hope and Football

46 Board and Council Members

32 Our Angels of Excellence 33 Trina Taylor – A Moment on the Runway VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016

A Letter from David Van Andel Dear Friends, Our story began more than 20 years ago with a bold dream: to impact human health. Why? Because millions of people are affected by diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, and we believed we could make a difference.

impact on people’s health. Partnerships with organizations such as Stand Up To Cancer and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust are helping us accelerate the pace of discovery and begin clinical trials for new cancer and Parkinson’s therapies.

From our founding, early development and growth into a global institute, our most important asset has always been abundantly clear—people. The Institute became a reality because a dedicated group of people decided to write a new narrative for how science is done—to break down barriers, build a world-class research and science education organization, and spark the growth of a health sciences industry in the heart of West Michigan. In the beginning, we sought advice from experts, established partnerships and began laying the foundation for the years to come. As time passed, our story expanded and evolved—the product of many individuals’ expertise, hopes and dreams.

Through the years, hope has always been the heart of the Institute’s story. And today, there is more reason to hope than ever before. We could not have come this far without you—our friends and supporters. Some of you have been touched by cancer, Parkinson’s or other diseases and have decided to take action. Others of you give of your time, treasure and talent to advance scientific discovery and educational enlightenment. Together, we are moving the Institute forward in new and surprising ways.

Today, the Institute employs more than 360 people from 32 different countries, bringing with them unique skills, gifts and abilities that benefit us as an organization and add to our diversity. These incredible scientists, educators and professionals could be working anywhere in the world—but they came here and are helping lead the way into a future filled with opportunities. Opportunities abound because of people and their connections to each other. Van Andel Institute scientists collaborate internally, locally, nationally and internationally with others who are committed to making a profound


This year’s annual report is a celebration of the people and the stories that illuminate who we are, what we do and where we’re going. It is my hope that you will join us for the next chapter in the Institute’s history and add your story to the pages that have yet to be written. Warmly,

David Van Andel Chairman and CEO

“Through the years, hope has always been the heart of the Institute’s story.” David Van Andel


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.



LAX vs. Cancer On a cold, rain-soaked spring day, Dr. Patrick Grohar stood in the middle of the field addressing two high school lacrosse teams. They were playing a game not for glory, victory or personal achievement but in honor of their friends and loved ones who had been affected by cancer. As a physician-scientist, Grohar is well versed in the devastating impact cancer can have on people’s lives. He runs a laboratory at Van Andel Research Institute and works as a pediatric oncologist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When Grohar looked out and saw names of people who had been affected by cancer stitched on the backs of the players’ jerseys, he knew this event was much more than a charity lacrosse game. “It was really a uniquely special day—speaking at the game, seeing the students with names of people they loved who had cancer stitched on their jerseys was inspiring,” Grohar said. “One of the players even honored a patient from the children’s hospital—it was really moving.”

The first Purple Community lacrosse game between Grand Rapids Christian and Rockford High School took place in 2015, but the event has already earned a special place in the hearts of the participants and Grohar—whose lab received more than $6,000 from last year’s event. Dana Stenstrom, who works with the Grand Rapids Christian lacrosse team and is the mother of two players, views the event as a way for young adults to connect to the greater good and an opportunity for scientists to see how much their work means to people who have been affected by cancer. “When Dr. Grohar came out to meet with our players and spoke at the game, he connected all of the dots and helped our kids understand where their donation goes—it goes right into a lab that is focused on cancer research,” Stenstrom said. “We are all connected as a community here in West Michigan, and I think we are becoming aware of how lucky we are to have people like Dr. Grohar and Van Andel Institute right here in our own backyard.”

“We are all connected as a community here in West Michigan, and I think we are becoming aware of how lucky we are to have people like Dr. Grohar and Van Andel Institute right here in our own backyard.” Dana Stenstrom GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN AND ROCKFORD HIGH SCHOOL LACROSSE TEAMS.







Purple Community lacrosse game


The donations collected at the 2016 game will fund the initial stages of a genome-wide SRNA library screen that could lead to the discovery of a new target for cancer therapies. “Any time there is a grassroots effort to raise money, I try to use it for something very specific—something people can point to and say, ‘We did that,’” Grohar said. “If the efforts of these young people can lead to a new cancer drug, perhaps they’ll be inspired to become Ph.D.s. or M.D.s and continue to make a difference in people’s lives.”

people donated at the game

honoring friends and loved ones


We did that! Grohar, an accomplished lacrosse player who served as a team co-captain while attending Villanova University, is inspired by the Rockford and Grand Rapids Christian teams. “I just think it’s really cool that these kids are 100 percent behind this game and the goal of supporting the work we do at the Institute,” Grohar said. “I am very grateful for what they have done, and I hope by interacting with them and showing them where their funds are going, we can give them a tangible sense of accomplishment.”


20 lacrosse players


$6,000 raised at the lacrosse game

A new cancer drug therapy that could benefit millions of people



What does this mean?

The library could identify a new drug therapy target which could lead to...


of donations go to VAI

$6,000 the first stage helps to fund


of Dr. Grohar’s genome-wide SRNA library screen



Meet Van Andel Research Institute’s Principal Investigators Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is composed of three centers and 31 principal investigators, each with their own area of expertise and research projects. VARI Leadership Peter Jones 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. Jones is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is chief scientific officer of Van Andel Research Institute.

Patrik Brundin 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 Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science.


Bart Williams 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 cancer spread to the skeleton. Williams is director of Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.

Scott Jewell 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, small-animal 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 pioneer 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, 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 Hospitals Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center, and the basic science effort in regenerative medicine is performed at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI). He serves as director of the DeVos Cardiovascular Research Program, the name of the overall structure of the program that is a collaboration between Spectrum Health and VARI.

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 is a professor in Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics. He also played a leadership role in The Cancer Genome Atlas, a multi-institutional effort to molecularly map cancers.

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 effect 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 Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics.

Scott Rothbart Scott Rothbart, Ph.D., studies the ways in which cells pack and unpack DNA. This elegant process twists and coils roughly two meters of unwound DNA into a space less than one-tenth 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 Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics.


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 also has shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of other cancer types, including breast, kidney and prostate cancers. She is an assistant professor in Van Andel Research Institute’s 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 Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Epigenetics.


Steven J. Triezenberg 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 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 Van Andel Research Institute, Dr. Triezenberg is the founding dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School.

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, ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s to 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.

Center for Neurodegenerative Science

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 from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases to schizophrenia to healthy aging conditions like lactose intolerance. She has also developed new methods for epigenome analysis. She is an assistant professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science.

Research areas: Parkinson’s disease, depression/suicide, aging, prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington'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.

RESEARCH 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 Van Andel Research Institute, where he focuses on designing preclinical studies and clinical trials to translate these new approaches into meaningful changes for people suffering with movement disorders.

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 comprises five 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 from Moore’s Lab routinely elucidate the faulty molecular interactions that transform healthy, functioning neurons into diseased ones. Moore is an associate professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science.

Jeremy Van Raamsdonk Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, Ph.D., studies the genetics of aging and the mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. He focuses primarily on understanding what causes aging, and how the changes that take place during normal aging contribute to the development of neurodegenerative disease. His work on the relationship between oxidative stress and aging has upended many scientific assumptions about the effect of reactive oxygen species on lifespan. Ultimately, Dr. Van Raamsdonk hopes to leverage the knowledge gained about aging to develop novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. He is an assistant professor in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science.


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.

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 of sarcomas and related conditions. Once 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 Van Andel Research Institute’s 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 cancer based on the chemical fingerprints tumors leave 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 when various cancers, particularly prostate and breast cancer cells, migrate from their original site and spread to the bone. These cells stay dormant and might wake up years later or grow up to bone metastases, cause debilitating pain and are exceedingly difficult to treat. 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.

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.

Jeff MacKeigan Jeff MacKeigan, Ph.D., studies the biological systems that influence cellular metabolism and the cell’s recycling process, known as autophagy. Extensive knowledge of these complex cellular processes helps the MacKeigan Lab understand how tumor cells respond to and resist treatment. The MacKeigan team pairs their cell biology expertise with cutting-edge techniques, such as computational modeling and next-generation sequencing, to identify new therapeutic targets and strategies. MacKeigan is an associate professor in the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.

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.

RESEARCH 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 practicing surgeon at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, he is committed to translating scientific discoveries into treatments that improve patients’ lives.

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.

George Vande Woude George Vande Woude, Ph.D., is a titan in cancer biology. He is the Founding Director of Van Andel Research Institute, 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. His discovery has revolutionized the way scientists view the disease, especially in tumor progression. He is a distinguished scientific fellow in the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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 and other skeletal aging. He 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 also serves as director of VARI-SIMM Research Center in Shanghai, China.


Challenging Cancer - Beating the Odds In 2007, Pat Gavin heard the three words that everyone fears—“You have cancer.”

several months of ups and downs, Gavin’s oncologist shared exciting—and unexpected—news.

A week earlier, the father of four daughters had gone to the doctor for a sore throat. Now, his physician was spelling out disastrous news—a tumor in Gavin’s upper throat was coiled tightly around his trachea, spine and major arteries in his neck. Its location made surgery impossible, leaving few options—either see an oncologist for treatment, which had little chance of working, or start palliative care.

“He said we had witnessed a miracle thanks to drugs and radiation treatments that worked, a great attitude and loving family, and lots of prayers,” Gavin said. “My cancer was in complete remission.”

As the news sunk in, Gavin’s wife, Mary, asked what he thought. Gavin answered quickly. “I said, ‘It is what it is,’” he recalled. “Now we deal with it and pray.” Gavin took the referral. He was going to fight. The conversation with his oncologist was stark but offered a slight glimmer of hope: A clinical trial had recently opened nearby and Gavin fit the criteria. There were no guarantees that it would work—in fact, it was unlikely given the advanced stage of his cancer—but it could provide valuable insight that might help others down the line.

Translating experience into impact Nearly a decade has passed since Gavin’s initial diagnosis. Some of the experimental therapy that saved his life is now a standard treatment for head and neck cancers. He’s also beaten cancer twice more—malignant melanoma a year-and-half later and prostate cancer three years ago. And he’s dedicated himself to helping other patients and improving clinical trials, working with numerous organizations locally and nationally.

“The decision to participate was very easy for both me and Mary. We wanted to do whatever we could to fight cancer,” Gavin said. “I didn’t think it would work when I signed up for it, but we did it because we hoped it would make an impact on cancer, so maybe our grandkids would never have to face what we were going through.”

In 2014, Gavin was asked to join an exciting new venture— the Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, a paradigm-shifting, collaborative effort that brings together leading scientists, physicians and pharmaceutical companies to compete against cancer rather than each other. By 2016, the team had launched four clinical trials to investigate potentially life-changing therapies for metastatic colorectal cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. Gavin has been a key part of these efforts by sharing the patient perspective and helping integrate it into trial design.

The experimental approach, which combined radiation and standard chemotherapy with two drugs approved to treat other types of cancer, was grueling. Then, after

“Everything comes back to the patients—they are the driving motivation for all that we do,” said Dr. Peter Jones, Van Andel Research Institute's (VARI) chief scientific officer

and the team’s co-leader. “The team is a connector, a hub for scientific and medical innovation that we hope will lead to new therapies that better treat cancer and give people more years with their families.” Combinations and collaborations Accomplishing this goal will take a team effort, one that is bolstered by the synergy in the team’s collaborative nature and in the types of therapies being studied in its ongoing clinical trials. Called combination therapies, these pairs of drugs have shown promise in laboratory studies by working in tandem to combat cancer on a molecular level. The trials also allow the team to collect critical samples that will inform future studies and therapeutic development. “Pairing drugs together allows us to attack these diseases on multiple fronts, with one drug often priming cancer cells to be more receptive to the other,” said Dr. Stephen Baylin, co-leader of the team and an investigator at Johns Hopkins University and VARI. “These efforts are a direct result of the outstanding collaboration between our team members— each one brings a critical point of view and invaluable resources to the table.” Although much has been accomplished, the team’s work is far from complete. There are new trials being prepared for launch, current trials to enroll and complete, and a mountain of data to analyze, all with the goal of giving patients more and better treatment options. “Cancer is so many different things—there’s no one way of fixing it,” Gavin said. “It’s going to take a concerted and collaborative effort to beat it. Together, we can take on the challenge.”





Battling Parkinson's - Embracing Advocacy “He said, ‘You have Parkinson’s; don’t freak out,’” she recalled. “I decided I could curl up and be miserable, or I could do whatever it takes to make every day the best that I could.” Sheltrown threw herself into helping others who are newly diagnosed with the disease through her social media presence and spreading the word about the benefits of exercise, which has been shown to help people with Parkinson’s maintain muscle control. She’s also a passionate advocate for research and frequently volunteers with Purple Community, Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) grassroots program.


December 18, 2013, is the day Alison Sheltrown’s world changed. For two years, the then 41-year-old had been plagued by stiffness and pain in her right shoulder that eventually began radiating down her arm, interfering with her


intensive martial arts training and everyday tasks like writing. At first, she chalked it up to normal wear and tear, but when surgery for a herniated disk didn’t fix it and new problems cropped up, including a small twitch in her right leg, her doctor referred her to a neurologist. Sheltrown was shocked.

“If MSDC-0160 is as successful in the clinic as it was in lab models, it could be a game-changer for millions of people with Parkinson’s around the world...” Dr. Patrik Brundin “It’s important that we have a place like VAI that is actively researching to find cures, not just treatments,” she said. “Just knowing that it’s happening in my hometown makes me thankful that we have this kind of research here and that we have the opportunity to be a part of it.”

RESEARCH In many ways, Parkinson’s disease is an enigma. Its symptoms, age of onset and progression can vary widely from person to person, although it is typically diagnosed after age 60. With the exception of a small percentage of cases that may be traced genetically through families, there is no firmly established cause. And most problematic, there is no definitive test to diagnose it and no cure. Only a few treatments for symptoms exist, and none that slow or stop it.

Trials initiative, a joint effort between The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and the Institute.

But that may soon change.

Other breakthroughs are on the horizon, fueled by collaborations between scientists at the Institute and their colleagues, both in Grand Rapids and around the world. By teaming with experts in other fields, VARI scientists are making significant inroads in understanding what makes Parkinson’s tick—and how to definitively diagnose and treat it sooner and more effectively. These efforts are taking aim at all facets of the disease, from the underlying molecular cause to disease progression to therapeutic development.

MSDC-0160, a drug originally developed for type II diabetes, has shown exceptional promise in impeding Parkinson’s in laboratory models, preserving critical brain functions that are lost as the disease advances. It was created just down the road in Kalamazoo by Metabolic Development Solutions Company, which is working closely with the Institute and UK-based research charity The Cure Parkinson’s Trust to move it into human clinical trials. “If MSDC-0160 is as successful in the clinic as it was in lab models, it could be a game-changer for millions of people with Parkinson’s around the world,” said Dr. Patrik Brundin, head of the Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science and the senior author of a 2016 paper describing the work. “We know more about Parkinson’s disease than ever before. Thanks largely to the stunning breadth of collaboration in the scientific, medical and patient communities, we have an unprecedented opportunity to have a real, life-changing impact.” MSDC-0160 isn’t alone. Another diabetes drug, exenatide, and a respiratory drug, ambroxol, also have shown promising results in the laboratory and in early human trials for slowing Parkinson’s progression and are already being studied in the clinic as part of the Linked Clinical

“To know that there’s somebody else that’s going to battle for me and that they found something that could potentially just knock this disease in the teeth really makes me proud and happy and excited and thrilled,” Sheltrown said. “It’s one of those crying-tears-of-joy moments, not just for me but for so many people I know.”

It’s these advances that Sheltrown shares with others, along with a message of strength and solidarity.

“To know that there’s somebody else that’s going to battle for me and that they found something that could potentially just knock this disease in the teeth really makes me proud and happy and excited and thrilled...”

Alison Sheltrown “If I have one thing to offer, it’s this—don’t give up hope,” she said. “You have to live your life, love people and love yourself, and stay hopeful.”

What are clinical trials? Clinical trials are a critical step on the road from the laboratory to the clinic. These rigorously designed and managed studies help ensure new therapies are not only safe in humans but also effective. Although VAI does not host trials on-site or treat patients, many of its scientists and physician-scientists participate in trials at collaborating organizations. The Institute also

is proud to support the development of potentially lifechanging therapies through the VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team and the Linked Clinical Trials initiative, multi-institutional collaborations that help move promising drugs into the trial process. For more information on clinical trials, please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.


Donor Highlight - Michael Carnevale Technology strategist Michael Carnevale built his business by pursuing the unknown, sparking the imagination and solving complex business challenges through mobile apps, websites, virtual reality experiences and smart objects. In business for more than a decade, the company works with a diverse client list, including Steelcase, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Amway and Lego, to create next-generation experiences that address their clients' technology needs. A West Michigan native with an innovative mind-set and a generous heart, Carnevale encourages his employees to embrace a spirit of generosity and community action. Over the years, philanthropy has become an important aspect of his company’s culture.

“The scientists at Van Andel Institute are endlessly curious and committed to solving some of the world’s biggest health challenges, like cancer.” Michael Carnevale Carnevale is constantly searching for new ways to connect his professional passion for technology to causes that make a difference in people’s lives. Carnevale actively sought out local nonprofits that could benefit from his company’s expertise and financial support, and began a



philanthropic partnership with the Institute. “Nearly everyone has been affected by cancer in some way,” Carnevale said. “When my mother was diagnosed with a rare and malignant meningioma, it really became a personal mission to do something about it.” Although Carnevale’s mother, a well-loved elementary school teacher in Grand Rapids, passed away in 2010, he thinks she would be proud of the organizations he

supports in her honor. “The scientists at Van Andel Institute are endlessly curious and committed to solving some of the world’s biggest health challenges, like cancer,” Carnevale said. “Everyone who works with me knows that the Institute represents the spirit of hope in West Michigan. As innovators in technology and as community members, we can’t think of a better cause to support.”


Foundations for the Future Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is on the verge of something big. Nowhere is this more evident than in the successes of the last year. In many ways, 2016 was notable not only for being the Institute’s 20th anniversary but also for the many milestones it entailed. VARI scientists published more discoveries than ever before, a metric that helps measure scientific impact and output. The Institute helped launch and support six clinical trials—four in cancer and two in Parkinson’s disease—that are investigating potential lifechanging therapies for millions of people around the world. And it joined the small number of organizations globally to have cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopes (cryo-EM), a revolutionary technology that allows scientists to see crucial molecules 1/10,000th the size of a human hair. “Our cumulative momentum is propelling us toward a horizon of untold discovery and innovation,” said VAI's chairman and CEO David Van Andel. “We will meet the opportunities of the future through a shared ethos of exceptional collaboration and unwavering commitment to improving human health and science education. Our efforts will not be incremental—they will be a giant leap forward.” The foundations for these efforts, built over the last two decades, have positioned VARI for a seismic shift that will see expansion not only of its scientific capabilities but ultimately its impact on human health. Much of this is due to the cultivation of gravitational pull, created by exceptional scientists and outstanding resources, that draws research leaders from around the world to Grand Rapids. These changes are already underway—in the coming years, the number of labs housed within the Institute is slated to nearly double.

“Our cumulative momentum is propelling us toward a horizon of untold discovery and innovation.” David Van Andel At the same time, VARI also is a connector that brings together people and organizations that otherwise may not have had the opportunity to collaborate, strengthening scientific endeavors and increasing the likelihood of making life-changing discoveries. All of these efforts are driven by a laser focus on human impact. The leap comes at a crucial juncture. With a burgeoning and aging world population, the incidence of diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s is expected to grow. New and more precise ways to diagnose and treat these devastating diseases are critical in reducing this burden and giving people longer, healthier lives. “Individual discoveries are not a destination, they’re a stepping stone to something bigger and better,” said Dr. Peter Jones, the Institute’s chief scientific officer. “For us, that endpoint is revolutionizing the way cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases are diagnosed and treated. Our ultimate success will come on the day that these conditions are no longer feared, when the words ‘you have cancer’ or ‘you have Parkinson’s’ have lost their power.” VAI’S CRYO-ELECTRON MICROSCOPES (CRYO-EM) AND CRYO-EM CORE MANAGER DR. GONGPU ZHAO.


Van Andel Education Institute

is leading a national revolution in science education by uniquely empowering teachers to engage students to think and act like scientists.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School

develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense problem-focused Ph.D. degree in cellular, molecular and genetic biology.



Van Andel Institute Graduate School - Personal, Focused and Unique Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s (VAIGS) curriculum and philosophy are directly connected to the research taking place in Van Andel Research Institute’s labs. This interconnected relationship, which encourages graduate students to think and act like scientists, makes for a learning experience that is personal, focused and unique. Ph.D. candidate Nikki Thellman, a licensed veterinarian who decided to work in biomedical research, sees a noticeable difference between VAIGS and other doctoral programs. “I compared VAIGS to larger programs where a student can feel like just another number, and I decided to attend VAIGS because the faculty here are truly invested, collaborative, and provide direct input and mentorship in a way that is really incredible,” Thellman said. This direct collaboration between students and professors is due to VAIGS’s relatively small size and a program that gives students the opportunity to become immersed in scientific discovery early in the process. “The inquiry-based curriculum gets you thinking in new ways and really trains you not just to do science but to think like a scientist,” Thellman said. “VAIGS prepares you to be independent with your learning and to apply your knowledge to real scientific problems.” No roadblocks During the first year of core curriculum, VAIGS students work collaboratively with peers and mentors in lab rotations and then in the second semester choose a lab for their dissertation work. Thellman believes VAIGS’s program is special because it supports students and gives them the freedom to be completely immersed in their work.



“...the faculty here are truly invested, collaborative, and provide direct input and mentorship...”

Nikki Thellman “The program at VAIGS is different from other schools where you have a teaching requirement, have to fight for mentorship or resources and have to pick a lab depending on who has funding,” she said. “VAIGS pays your stipend, benefits, tuition, and provides research funds and travel expenses. You get to pick a mentor and lab based on a good fit, so when you’re prepared to do research and get down to doing science, there are no roadblocks in your way here.” The supportive, close-knit community gives scientists like Thellman the chance to get a rich educational experience that prepares them for the challenges of 21st-century

scientific careers. “The way the program is designed teaches you how to think and be open to new ideas, which is very important in our information-rich world,” Thellman said. “You can’t just memorize things anymore. Because scientific information changes at such a rapid pace, you have to be able to continuously learn and solve problems.” After graduation, Thellman plans to use her experience at VAIGS to launch a scientific career in the public health sector, investigating emerging infectious diseases at an agency like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health. “My experience here taught me that science is a continuous, dynamic process of learning,” Thellman said. “VAIGS is small enough to encourage collaboration but big enough that we can make great science happen­—it’s really been a perfect fit.”

Emily Machiela and Jason Cooper – Life-Changing Graduate School Jason Cooper and Emily Machiela work in Dr. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk’s lab in the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. Their research is demanding and difficult, but it is the most purposeful, important work of their lives. Students in Van Andel Institute’s Graduate School (VAIGS) all have different stories, individual paths and distinct backgrounds, and it’s this diversity of experience that allows for incredible collaboration and radical ideas to occur. Machiela, who aims to graduate in 2017, discovered her love of medicine and science as a high school student working for various health-focused organizations in the African country of Zambia. Cooper, who is also a fifthyear graduate student, discovered his love for science as a student attending the University of Texas. Both scientists were drawn to the Graduate School’s small size, its supportive culture and its mission to improve human health, set in place by the Van Andel family more than 20 years ago. “I really love the fact that the Van Andel family is still active in supporting the Institute,” Machiela said. “It’s powerful to know that the people who built this Institute are real people, not just names on a wall, and that they are still looking after it today.” Nothing’s traditional As VAIGS graduate students, Cooper and Machiela feel free to embrace their adventurousness and curiosity to build a foundation for their careers. Through the Institute’s inquiry-based curriculum, students are given the chance to develop their own research projects and jump right into developing their professional skills. The first years of the program focus on seminar-style courses, but in years two through five, students have the freedom to focus on research, professional development and their dissertation.


“I really love the fact that the Van Andel family is still active in supporting the Institute. It’s powerful to know that the people who built this Institute are real people, not just names on a wall, and that they are still looking after it today.”

Emily Machiela In this culture of independence and respect, students feel more connected professionally to their peers and more assertive in their work.

responsible for your research and work in a way that you would never get to do in a typical Ph.D. program,” Cooper said.

“We’re treated like colleagues by our fellow scientists, and that makes us more focused and accountable,” Machiela said. “The freedom to get into research right away is really unique for a graduate program.”

You’re a student and a scientist While attending VAIGS, Cooper and Machiela have created lasting collaborative partnerships inside the Institute and with external partners. These relationships create a web of support that is instrumental for scientists at the beginning of their careers.

VAIGS students are encouraged to build relationships and work collaboratively, both internally and externally, on research projects. Cooper believes the Institute’s program is purposefully designed to be a space where young scientists can be aggressive in their pursuits and use their time to become immersed in the world of science. “The curriculum here is much different than at other programs, and you’re really given the opportunity to be

“The support you receive, both financially and professionally, allows you to foster collaborations both inside and outside the Institute,” Machiela said. “VAIGS students plan meetings and symposiums where we meet top scientists from all over the country, and through these interactions, we can begin to build important professional relationships.” Cooper and Machiela both credit the Institute with giving them the ability to be fearless in their work, be passionately curious, and view learning as a continuous process of growth.


“Going through this program has really helped me grow professionally and made me unafraid to ask questions and be bold when working with my peers,” Machiela said. “What’s really special about being a graduate student at VAIGS is that you’re not in a higher-education space, you’re both a student and a scientist working at a biomedical research institute—and that’s an incredible opportunity.”


Terra Tarango – Revolutionizing Science Education with Four Simple Words Van Andel Education Institute’s (VAEI) director and chief education officer is focused on four simple words— curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. By using these words as guidelines, Terra Tarango hopes to increase the reach of the Institute’s inquiry-based methods that promote discussions, creative problem-solving and collaborative student engagement.

workshops have made it clear that in order to meet the Next Generation Science Standards, new tools and new methods are needed. VAEI’s holistic approach to supporting these teachers includes teacher professional development, on-site student programs in Grand Rapids, as well as online science education tools, such as NexGen Inquiry®. “A decade ago, teachers weren’t as interested in new ways of teaching, but that’s not the case now,” Tarango said. “When we ask teachers what defines an exemplary classroom, they say a place where students are learning through questioning, collaboration and challenging themselves. They know what the classroom should look like, and they want to make it happen.”

“I think if we stay focused on what makes VAEI’s inquirybased instruction unique, we will have a national impact,” Tarango said. “And to be honest, I have never felt more able to make a difference than I do here.” Tarango’s lifelong love of learning began by listening to her mother, a special education teacher in San Marcos, Texas. “My mother was a teacher, so I got an early look at what teaching is like, and I always wanted to be a teacher,” Tarango said. “When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, and in college, I wanted to be a professor. My mother inspired me to work in the education field more than anything I found in a textbook.” This passion for learning led Tarango to pursue a career that spans education, writing, curriculum development and publishing, and she considers her past experience as the perfect foundation for taking VAEI to a new, exciting and uncharted space. Student focused and student driven A common sight in many classrooms is a teacher lecturing to a group of students. Through VAEI’s methods, programs and tools, Tarango wants to help teachers create an environment where students drive the discussion and facilitate their own path for discovery.



“I have never felt more able to make a difference than I do here.” Terra Tarango “We want to encourage classrooms where students are leading discussions, designing experiments, are actively engaged and the teacher is more of a guide for the process of discovery,” Tarango said. “I have always been a fierce teacher advocate, and what I am hearing from educators is that they want to empower their students to think critically, work independently and be creative problem-solvers.” No longer satisfied with the status quo, educators who attend VAEI’s teacher professional development

Looking ahead Tarango is confident that VAEI’s methods, programs and tools are exactly what science educators are looking for to prepare today’s students as the next generation of innovative problem-solvers. Looking ahead, VAEI will continue to reach teachers and students across the United States—empowering them to embrace innovative ways to learn science and setting the stage for a lifelong love of discovery. “In the years to come, I have no doubt that VAEI will play a driving role in how we teach science education in this country and beyond,” Tarango said. “I love looking into a classroom and seeing the students passionately engaged in doing science and enthusiastically working as hard as the teacher. If that can happen more often, we can truly revolutionize science education. And until it is happening nationally on a regular basis, we have a job to do.”

Students Performing Real Science –


Van Andel Education Institute’s Impact in the Classroom Tim Renz has worked as a science teacher in Washington state for more than 25 years. He’s taught everything from grade school to high school honors classes. Always on the lookout for new and innovative teaching methods, in 2013 Renz began using Van Andel Education Institute’s (VAEI) inquiry-based Community of Practice methods, QPOE2® model and web-based online tools in his classroom. The results have been nothing less than extraordinary.

“The support and professional

development I received from VAEI gave me what I needed to have the most significant, transformative impact on my classroom in my entire career.”

Tim Renz “A lot of other programs say they are about doing inquirybased, student-centered learning in science education, but it wasn’t until I came across VAEI’s models and techniques that I found a model that actually works in the classroom and reflects what 'real' scientists do on a daily basis,” Renz said. “The support and professional development I received from VAEI gave me what I needed to have the most significant, transformative impact on my classroom in my entire career.” The Institute’s QPOE2 model emphasizes the scientific method of asking a question, making a prediction, collecting data through observation, developing an explanation and ongoing evaluation to refine and improve the process. In addition to the QPOE2 materials, the Institute provides teachers with the online science education platform, NexGen Inquiry®, as well as techniques that can be used to create a classroom that encourages inquiry-based learning.

Doing real science After working with the Institute’s methods, Renz noticed that students were approaching their work differently. Students who had not been interested in science suddenly became focused and started developing creative experiments and working collaboratively. “A group of girls in one of my classes who hadn’t been very engaged in class designed an experiment to solve a problem that was affecting them in their daily lives—water bottles breaking when you store them in the freezer,” Renz said. “It was great to see the students develop experiments that studied the scientific properties of water and used the scientific method to problem-solve in such a creative way.”

students thinking critically, working collaboratively and doing real science.” VAEI’s student programs, teacher professional development and inquiry-based instruction tools help teachers like Renz transform their classrooms and create an environment where students have the freedom to think like scientists and develop a lifelong love of discovery.

Through these new techniques, the students in Renz’s class started working in an independent, self-motivated, creative way—and in the process, they developed a love for scientific discovery. “When students feel empowered to ask their own questions, they become engaged in the process of learning and can use their knowledge to solve problems and find solutions,” Renz said. “It’s great to see so many of my TIM RENZ WITH HIS STUDENTS.

2016 by the numbers In the last year, VAEI worked with 800 students and more than 1,200 teachers in West Michigan. NexGen Inquiry® Since its launch in 2015, 3,000 teachers have signed up to use NexGen Inquiry, the Institute’s online, inquiry-based

science education platform. The interactive resource serves as a digital science journal where teachers and students can conduct experiments, record and analyze data and share hypotheses. To date, more than 70,000 teacher assignments have been issued through this innovative platform.


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.



Use the Gifts You’re Given – Pat Ringnalda and the Bee Brave 5K Pat Ringnalda, founder of the Bee Brave 5K, gets emotional when she talks about her work with Van Andel Institute’s Purple Community. For Ringnalda, the 5K she organizes to benefit breast cancer research at Van Andel Institute is more than philanthropy—it’s a way to share her gifts and give back. In 2016, she helped raise more than $60,000 for the Institute.

“Within 24 hours, Purple Community reached out to me, and we got to work.” The personal touch is important to Ringnalda, who works with her husband, children and friends to organize the 5K. She enjoys the opportunity to meet the Institute’s scientists and learn about how Bee Brave’s funds are used and credits these unique experiences with bringing everything full circle.

Ringnalda worked for years as a leading salesperson for Mary Kay cosmetics and had an innate ability to connect with people and personalize her sales. She loved her work but had a strong desire to use her talents in support of causes she felt passionately about.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet Dr. Hui Shen and Dr. Peter Laird, two amazing scientists who are investigating cancers that affect women,” Ringnalda said. “After talking with them, I know exactly how our support will help find new treatments for cancer. Jay and Betty Van Andel must have been two amazing people to build this Institute in our community.”

“I’ve always thought that I had a responsibility as an individual to use the abilities I’ve been given to help other people,” Ringnalda said. “If you’re lucky enough to realize what you’re good at, you should use it to make the world a better place.” A life-changing event After supporting national philanthropic efforts that funded domestic abuse awareness and women’s cancer charities, Ringnalda wanted the 5K to benefit a cancer research organization that was part of her West Michigan community. “I contacted all the Grand Rapids–based cancer research organizations, and I told them about my event, and that I was looking for a home in West Michigan," Ringnalda said.

Hosting an event the size of the Bee Brave 5K requires many hours of work for Ringnalda, and when the days grow long, there’s one bit of wisdom that keeps her going.


“Every year, when I get weary and I start to question why I’m doing this, I remind myself that it’s not about me—it’s about the women in my community and communities everywhere who have been touched by cancer, and the scientists like Dr. Laird and Dr. Shen who have dedicated their lives to this fight,” Ringnalda said. “If we keep going, I know that one day we could help them save lives.”

“Jay and Betty Van Andel must have been two amazing people to build this Institute in our community.” Pat Ringnalda 28 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2016

Bringing It Full Circle at Duncan Lake Abbey Solitro, a doctoral candidate in Van Andel Institute’s Graduate School, spends long hours working in a laboratory. Solitro usually doesn’t have time to meet with anyone or do anything that isn’t strictly focused on her lab work. But there is a group of students from a small middle school, tucked away in the West Michigan town of Caledonia, who will always have her attention. Over the course of three years, Solitro, her mentor Dr. Jeff MacKeigan and other scientists from the Institute have worked with a group of eager fundraisers at Duncan Lake Middle School who plan an annual cancer walk to benefit research at Van Andel Institute. Impressed by the students’ initiative, Solitro invited them to the Institute for a tour and spoke at their all-school assembly, where she expressed deep gratitude for all of their effort. “Meeting the students and being involved with community events keeps me very grounded in the work that I do," Solitro said. “It is also important that we let these students and staff know how grateful we are. We can’t do this work alone.” Ryan Graham, Duncan Lake’s principal, views the event as a way for students to learn organizational skills, work together to help others and interact directly with leaders in the scientific field. “We have always wanted to empower and encourage our students’ generosity and genuine desire to help,” Graham said. “And in turn, Dr. MacKeigan, Abbey and others from the Institute have brought us in and helped our students think about their futures in new and wonderful ways. To our students, these scientists are rock stars.”


“Dr. MacKeigan, Abbey and others from the Institute have brought us in and helped our students think about their futures in new and wonderful ways. To our students, these scientists are rock stars.”

Ryan Graham

Pushing passion further Partnering with Duncan Lake has also inspired MacKeigan and his team to stay focused and inspired in their work in cancer research. “Interactions with the students push our passion and efforts further­—and it can be really transformative to work with that many kids who are so focused on making a difference,” MacKeigan said. “What we are doing together is really inspiring—the energy, passion and successful engagement shared by my team and the students makes it more than just a typical walk or event—it’s a perfect model of community action and collaboration.”



Hope on the Hill – A Celebration of VAI's 20th Anniversary



Donor Highlight

Tim Tebow

Chuck and Christine Boelkins grew up in Grand Rapids. It’s a place that is near and dear to them—a place where they made a life and raised a family. They feel blessed to have Van Andel Institute as part of their community and are proud supporters of the Institute’s research into cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

When athletes use their fame to touch people’s lives through faith and goodwill, wonderful things can happen. Tim Tebow, a world-renowned quarterback, athlete, author and public speaker is not shy about what motivates him—and it isn’t a first down. It’s living a spiritual life. In September 2016, Tebow took time out of his busy schedule to tour VAI and visit with David and Carol Van Andel, Associate Director of Research Dr. Patrik Brundin and members of the Institute. Tebow also gave the keynote speech at the 10th annual Van Andel Institute Golf Outing, and the day proved to be an inspirational experience for the Heisman Trophy winner.

The Boelkins Family

“Having been a part of the Grand Rapids community for our entire lives, we have seen the amazing growth in medical services and technology that was instigated by the formation of Van Andel Institute,” Christine Boelkins said. Chuck’s father struggled with Parkinson’s disease, and recently, many friends and family members have been diagnosed with cancer. Giving of their time as members of the Institute’s Board of Governors, volunteering and donating to fund cancer and Parkinson’s research help the Boelkins stay connected to the great work taking place in their city—a place of immense innovation and ingenuity.

Inspiring Through Faith, Hope and Football

“It was extremely inspiring to visit with David and Carol Van Andel and Dr. Brundin,” Tebow said. “After meeting with everyone, and hearing about Dr. Brundin’s incredible approach to Parkinson’s disease research, I was filled with a sense of hope and optimism.”


Tebow’s speech highlighted his unwavering commitment to his faith and how it has guided him throughout his life. He also touched on the work of the Institute and the importance of giving back. “I have always believed that you can do well and do good in life, and the generosity of the Van Andels and the dedication of the people working at the Institute are something I am very proud to support,” Tebow said. “I believe that faith guides us, and I can tell that the Institute’s mission is guided by a deep and significant belief in a power greater than us all.”

“We feel blessed to have such a world-renowned research institute in our community. We have supported the Institute financially and through volunteer service for 15 years, and we feel great knowing that our efforts and donations go directly to research," Chuck Boelkins said. “Our hope is that one day soon, Van Andel Institute will find a way to fight back against diseases like Parkinson’s and make a significant impact toward the eradication of cancer.” In 2013, Christine Boelkins was presented with the Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award—an honor given to people who have demonstrated excellence and significant contributions to Van Andel Institute’s mission through volunteer service and commitment.




Our Angels of Excellence Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation, is always looking for new ways to spotlight the generosity of Van Andel Institute’s volunteers, advocates and donors. In 2013, she created the Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award to celebrate the efforts of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service on behalf of Van Andel Institute’s mission. Van Andel created an event that is focused on gratitude and celebrating the rich and diverse Van Andel Institute community. “This event is close to my heart,” Van Andel said. “Our Angel of Excellence recipients bring such joy, creativity and purpose to our leadership boards and planning committees. Because of their work, we are able to support research that benefits the millions of people living with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and science education programs that inspire thousands of students.” In April 2016, the award was given to Peggy Greydanus, Debbie Kinney, Jamie Mills and Rachel Mraz, four women who organize and sponsor impactful fundraising events and helped build important relationships between young professionals and the Institute. Greydanus and Kinney both serve on the Hope on the Hill Gala planning committee and help organize the Institute’s signature annual event that raises funds to benefit the Institute’s biomedical research and science education programs. For more than 10 years, the two incredibly dedicated volunteers worked directly with Van Andel to create and support some of the most spectacular fundraising galas in West Michigan.


Van Andel is consistently impressed by the dedication and spirit of the Angel of Excellence Award recipients, and for her, they serve as a reminder of what is possible when talent and generosity are paired with action. “Every day, I am touched by the impact of these women,” Van Andel said. “They are community leaders who are choosing to give of themselves, and in the process, they are making a real difference for others. It’s an absolute honor to work alongside them.”


Mills worked directly with Van Andel to co-create A Conversation About Breast Cancer, the first in a series of community-minded, health advocacy events held at the Institute. In addition to her health advocacy efforts, Mills is a top sponsor of events such as Hope on the Hill, the Van Andel Institute Golf Outing and Couture for a Cure and is a tireless ambassador on behalf of the Institute. Rachel Mraz is a West Michigan business leader with a passion for philanthropy. Her connections to the Grand Rapids business community and enthusiasm for the Institute’s mission inspired her to create the Van Andel Institute JBoard Ambassadors in 2009. The JBoard hosts events, engages the West Michigan community and provides philanthropic support for the Institute’s initiatives. Under Mraz’s leadership, the JBoard continues to be a significant community engagement force and a meaningful way for young people to partner with the Institute.

“Our Angel of Excellence recipients bring such joy, creativity and purpose to our leadership boards and planning committees. Because of their work, we are able to support research that benefits the millions of people living with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, and science education programs that inspire thousands of students.”

Carol Van Andel

Trina Taylor - A Moment on the Runway


Trina Taylor’s life is filled with passion, positivity and hope. A mother, working professional, model and cancer patient advocate, she lives by her own personal motto, “make memories on purpose.” In 2012, Taylor was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer—a disease that affects 200,000 new people in the United States every year. The news was devastating, but Taylor, determined to not let her diagnosis define her, has been fighting ever since. Her willingness to fight gave her the strength to work with her physician and enroll in a clinical trial at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University supported by the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team. Agreeing to participate in the trial, which uses a combination treatment to reprogram cancer cells to better respond to chemotherapy, was a gamble, but it was also an act that would change the course of her life. “The importance of a clinical trial is that it gives so many people like me hope—hope for what’s next,” Taylor said. To honor Trina’s indomitable spirit, grace and work as an outspoken advocate for cancer patients, she was invited by Carol Van Andel to walk the runway at the 11th annual Couture for a Cure—a significant fundraiser for Van Andel Institute and the premier fashion event in West Michigan. On a fall night, with hundreds of eyes focused on her every step, Taylor walked out on the runway filled with bright lights and dazzling color. When the spotlight hit her, she did something unusual for any model­—she paused and

“The importance of a clinical trial is that it gives so many people like me hope—hope for what’s next.” Trina Taylor looked out into the audience. She couldn’t help it. Five hundred people were giving her a standing ovation, and it was a moment she wanted to cherish. “I always take in a deep breath right before I take my first step. In my mind, I’m carrying all of these women who are dealing with the same things I am—being bald, living with cancer. For me, it’s empowering,” Taylor said. “That night, instead of walking the runway, I was taking a bow—and in that bow, I was saying, ‘Thank you!’”



Dr. Hui Shen – Starting a Conversation About Women’s Health Hundreds of people gathered in Van Andel Institute’s Cook-Hauenstein Hall in November 2016, to hear from scientists who have dedicated their lives to fighting cancers that affect women. A Conversation About Women’s Health, hosted by Carol Van Andel, gave those in attendance a chance to hear from leaders in cancer research and learn about advancements in cancers affecting women. The event highlighted the work of Dr. Hui Shen, a young, vibrant scientist who joined Van Andel Research Institute in 2014. Dr. Shen uses leading-edge technology to investigate the molecular background of ovarian cancer. In November 2015, she received the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s Liz Tilberis Early Career Award, which is given to junior faculty with a strong commitment to an investigative career in ovarian cancer research. Shen also participates in the Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team and is a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas, a multi-institutional effort to better understand the molecular basis of cancer through genomic analysis.

“The fact that scientists like Dr. Shen are using every technology and resource available to take on cancers that affect women is something that should give all of us a great deal of hope.” Carol Van Andel

Dr. Shen’s presentation during A Conversation About Women’s Health focused on her work in epigenetics—a groundbreaking new area of cancer research, and where she sees new avenues for improved diagnostics and therapies. Van Andel believes the Institute’s community health-focused events provide a lasting resource for patients, caregivers and people who want to take a proactive role in their own healthcare.




Donor Highlight


Joe Rudnick & Tapistry Brewing Joe Rudnick brews craft beer with heart. After a 20-year career as an engineer with Pfizer, he decided to follow his passion and opened Tapistry Brewing Company in 2013. In addition to brewing great beer, Rudnick feels very strongly about community engagement and living life with a generous spirit. After his father passed away from a long battle with cancer, Rudnick found Van Andel Institute’s website while doing some web browsing, and was impressed by the Institute’s mission and fundraising philosophy. “I found the Institute when I was searching online after cancer took my father’s life at 59—and when I learned that the Institute applies every dime to research and doesn’t waste it, I knew I wanted to partner with them," Rudnick said.

Rudnick and Tapistry Brewing Company are active partners in Purple Community’s Hops for Hope fundraising initiative. During the yearlong annual event, breweries, restaurants and pubs donate a portion of specialty beer sales to support the Institute’s cancer and neurodegenerative disease research. An active community member, and a dedicated craftsman, Rudnick is proud to partner with a Michigan-based organization that values donor dollars and uses funds to impact human health. “I have a great amount of respect for the Van Andel family and everyone at Van Andel Institute, and I really appreciate their determination to help those affected by cancer and disease,” Rudnick said. “Cancer has affected my life in multiple ways, and I think it’s important to help scientists discover new ways to fight this disease and give people a ray of hope.”

“I was searching online after cancer took my father’s life at 59—and when I learned that the Institute applies every dime to research and doesn’t waste it, I knew I wanted to partner with them.” Joe Rudnick



Sources of Funding Sources of Funding for Research & Education

Sources of Funding for Operating & Overhead Expenses


Private philanthropy


Grants and contract revenue (direct)


Endowment income





Grants and contract revenue (direct)


Endowment income and other revenue

Society of Hope


The Society of Hope recognizes individuals and couples who have notified us that they have included 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. Vivian G. Anderson Stanley & Blanche Ash Kevin & Michelle Bassett John & Nancy Batts Philip & Shirley Battershall Fred & Julie Bogaert J. Scott Grill Joan Hammersmith Arthur Joseph Jabury Ms. Maryanna Johnson

Mr. & Mrs. Timothy Long Jamie Mills & Jim Nichols LG & Helen Myers Jone E. Phillips Alan R. Ryan George Sietsema Eva Sonneville Fred L. Tape John E. VanFossen


Tributes Gary R. Aarup Lawrence & Mary Lou Hicks

Chuck Boelkins Pat & Julie Greene

Maurice J. Clark David & Deborah Clark

Lee W. Formwalt Sanders Foundation

Chad Henke Peter & Lisa Foy

Paul Leonard Jeff & Sue Swain

Raja Achanta Peter & Lisa Foy

Gerald Bovenkamp Chris Bovenkamp

Fabiola Crettaz Peter & Lisa Foy

Marcy Gates Stephen Klotz

Kathy Heyboer Member First Mortgage, LLC

Rob Leonard Jeff & Sue Swain

Mark Ameel Peter & Lisa Foy

Peg Bowen Susan Formsma

Rob & Allison DeVilbiss Ed & Carol DeVilbiss

Rahmon W. Gharajanloo Peter & Lisa Foy

Nancy Hickey Jeff & Sue Swain

Ken Lewis Peter & Lisa Foy

The Anderson Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Dan Braak Peter & Lisa Foy

Deb Diemer Member First Mortgage, LLC

Georgia Gibbs Thomas Lamoreaux

Bart Huisman Kenneth & Ann Steenwyk

Sandra Likic Peter & Lisa Foy

Bruce Applebach Clinton & Joanne Hop

Barbara S. Bradley Douglas & Michele Bradley

Ann Durham Peter & Lisa Foy

Laura Gifford William & Kathryne Bussey Marcy Engelmann

Robert R. Israels Clinton & Joanne Hop

John Littleton Dr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Klein

Alyssa Arends John & Susan Nelson

Florence Brower Martin & Melissa Weerstra

Robert Duvall Gail Bowers

John Kailunas Lea Knight

Kathy Lloyd Jeff & Sue Swain

Susan Armstrong Jeff & Sue Swain

Anita Buckowing Denise Hart

Zsolt Eichinger Peter & Lisa Foy

William R. King Richard King

Philip Longstreet Donna Tolan

Zhaohui Bao Peter & Lisa Foy

Sara L. Butcher Donald Butcher

Kerry Ellis Peter & Lisa Foy

Melinda Krei Jeff & Sue Swain

Ariane Lopez Peter & Lisa Foy

Peter Baranovic Peter & Lisa Foy

Mark Bylenga William & Jackie Bylenga

Julio Escalera Peter & Lisa Foy

Tamara Kroll Marie Creger

The MacIntosh Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Reinhard Behringer Peter & Lisa Foy

Hongxia Chen Peter & Lisa Foy

July Estrada Peter & Lisa Foy

Mary Lou LaClaire Todd & Hester Hendricks

Al Mahieu Ryan & Lisa Volkers

Eugene Bleiler Marty Faasse

Curtis B. Christie Peter & Lisa Foy

Shirley Evans Anonymous

Timmy Lamse Pat Campau

Al & Barb Masselink Darin Masselink

Patricia Bloemendaal Dirk & Jill Bloemendaal

Tomáš Čičák Peter & Lisa Foy

Francis Fan Peter & Lisa Foy

Nicole Langewender Peter & Lisa Foy

Benny Mathew Peter & Lisa Foy


Mark G. Gilmore Peter & Lisa Foy Sherry Grimard Peter & Lisa Foy Debbie Gris Daniel & Deborah Goris Diane Hansen Marlene Stoops Bruce Hari Peter & Lisa Foy Henry Hemond HR Services Auto Owners Insurance

MacKale McGuire Renata Olson

Debra Schultz Schut Clinton & Joanne Hop

Sherry Singer Jeff & Sue Swain

Tim & Cyndy Swain Jeff & Sue Swain

The Walters/Patullo Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Kate McNamara Jeff & Sue Swain

Serenity Salon Valerie Burns

Bill Slicker Peter & Lisa Foy

Christy A. Tape Denise Nise Monica Skinner

The Walters/VanLandingham Family Jeff & Sue Swain

The Metsker Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Alfonso Sernas Peter & Lisa Foy

Keith Smith Carol Smith

Rolf-Guenter Teichmann Peter & Lisa Foy

Mary Weglicki Jim & Kathy Weglicki

Erika Mikusova Peter & Lisa Foy

Bobbie Sethuraman Peter & Lisa Foy

Jeyapraba Srinivassan Peter & Lisa Foy

Aruna Thota Peter & Lisa Foy

Herbert White Nathan & Gail Perton

Cecilia Neuman Member First Mortgage, LLC

Dave & Lynn Setsma Joanne Arnoys Ellen Fowler Ken & Beverly Nyenhuis Grace Nyenhuis Jacob & Leona Nyenhuis Ronald & Carole Nyenhuis Laura Schnyders Carolyn Setsma Donald & Barb Setsma Betty Tymes

Dr. Mathew Steensma James & Judith Czanko

Jesus Alfredo Rodriguez Tolosa Peter & Lisa Foy

The Wilder Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Philip "Pop Pop" Nicely Michael & Sally Murdock Terry Nienhuis Peter & Lisa Foy Wolfgang Passoke Peter & Lisa Foy Manali Phatak Peter & Lisa Foy Tom & Greta Rickmeyer Paul & Charlene Fitzpatrick Pete Rowe Amy Charles Thomas Schindler Peter & Lisa Foy

The Shapiro Family Jeff & Sue Swain Tricia Shaw Peter & Lisa Foy Lisha Shekar Peter & Lisa Foy Leigh J. Shutes Peter & Lisa Foy

Charles & Hannah Steinhardt George & Julia Steinhardt George Steinhardt George & Julia Steinhardt Irene Stewart William & Adeline Gipson Juergen Stoverock Peter & Lisa Foy Jack Swain Jeff & Sue Swain Sally Swain Jeff & Sue Swain The Swain Family Jeff & Sue Swain

Madge Torrey Michael & Kathleen Torrey David & Carol Van Andel Czech Holdings LLC Kim Van Stee Alvin & Joyce Docter George F. Vande Woude Ray Loeschner Dan Vasilauskas Peter & Lisa Foy Maria Walsh Jeff & Sue Swain

Debbie Wittenbach Stephen & Debra Wittenbach David Wohns, M.D. Jeff & Sue Swain Wendy Wohns Jeff & Sue Swain Sally Yang Peter & Lisa Foy The Zack Family Jeff & Sue Swain Mary Zimmer Larry & Joyce Zimmer



For our friends who have lost a loved one, we mourn with you. We appreciate your trust in us to fight disease in memory of your family and friends—with the hope for a healthier tomorrow.

Allison Aardema Steven & Julie Aardema

Frank L. Archer Timothy & Marcye Van Dyke

Shirley Baumgardner Dwane & Joyce Baumgardner

Pamela Boomer Russell & Sara Tiller

James Ackley Stephen Haarman

Alyssa Arends Dean & Beth Havens

Harlan Berens Verl & Vicky Bleeker

Donna Boorstein Dr. William M. Boorstein

Art Alberts, Ph.D. William Alberts Wynston Alberts Jason & Cindy Dawes Dr. Kathryn M. Eisenmann Peterson Haak Carole Howard Dwight Lakey Brad Long Betsy Salzman

Lynda Armstrong Mark Press

Nicole Beuschel Sue Baar

Jim Bos Grace Bouwman

Allan L. Arnoys Rob Arnoys

Ernest Bevins David Bevins

Lorraine Boyd Frieda & James Jaynes

Mary Badanek Katherine Sanders

Joe Blaskis Sharon Blaskis

Phyllis Brown Jacqueline Kozal

John Bambini Kim & Christopher Engle

Mary Boerema Jean Swaney

Robert A. Brown G. Michael & Mary Minton

Keith Bassett Regena Bassett

Glenn Bonkosky Gerald & Tracy Kneeshaw

Robert J. Brown Anonymous

John H. Batts Lester & Vivian Hoogland

Bob Bonney George LaPlante

Robert C. Anderson David & Lynne Robinson Vivian G. Anderson David & Lynne Robinson

William Buis American Legion W. G. Leenhouts Squadron 6 SAL Anonymous Mitchell & Kristyn Arends Lori Barkel Rick & Janice Berens Robert & Valerie Bernecker Judith Borough Jack & Lois Brott Joyce Buis Gary & Judith Bylsma Thomas & Julie Carey Whitney Carnahan James & Dorothy Chamness Wayne & Laura Debruyn Victor & Ruth Dejonge Debra DeLeeuw Lawrence & Linda Denuyl Douglas & Sharen Dinkins Kenneth & Gladys Dozeman Daniel & Jannis Ebels Carolynne Etheridge

William & Barbara Lawton Suzanne Linn Medtronic, Inc. Jacquelyn Pullen Judith Rabbai Jack & Ardith Shultz Benjamin & Judith Smith Harlan & Cheryl Sprik Bernard & Jacqulin Stack Rodney Truttman Robert & Barbara Turner Douglas & Kathleen VanLente John & Claudia Watson West Michigan Health Information Management Association Gary & Phila White Kenneth & Marcia Wierda Bob Burgers Jason & Kimberly Jerke

In Memoriam – Dr. Art Alberts | July 23, 1964 – December 4, 2016

remembers Alberts as a significant force in the early days of the Institute and a leader in his field. PHOTO CAPTION

With great sadness, we said farewell in December to our friend and colleague Dr. Art Alberts after his courageous several-year battle with brain cancer.

“Those of us who knew Art would agree that he was a true original—a passionate, deeply inquisitive soul who was committed to the purity of science,” Van Andel said. “Art’s insight and genuine, uncompromising love for his work was evident in everything he did. His legacy lives on in the work we do today and the many people who were lucky enough to have known him.”

Alberts was one of Founding Research Director Dr. George Vande Woude’s first recruits to Van Andel Institute in 2000. A dedicated and passionate scientist, Alberts was a lead investigator in the Center for Cancer and Cell Biology who was instrumental in establishing the Institute’s prestige in the world of biomedical research. His research focused on cell motility and mDIA2 regulation.


A proud mentor, Alberts served as a Van Andel Institute Graduate School professor and trained several students and postdoctoral scientists who have gone on to successful careers in academia. He was known for his forthright nature, intensity, humor and iconic wardrobe. Whether helping a graduate student consider a new perspective or asking challenging questions of a prominent scientist during a seminar or lecture, Alberts could be counted on for his impassioned commentaries. David Van Andel, Chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute,

Alberts was a devoted and loving husband and father, and is survived by his wife, Lisa and their two children, Corrinne and Isobel.

Peter G. Bylsma Carol Bylsma Frank Campbell Paul & Lynn Getzin Jack Chatfield Lee Formwalt

Nancy Hazle Richard Hazle Mary Hutchinson Larry & Karen Mayberry Marian Siegle Richard & Mary Stevens Lynda Weston Berg

Mary Couch Kathleen Couch

Robert DeVos Marv & O'Linda Anderson Bonnie Butler Arla Mae DeVos Betty DeVos Robert Johnson Lavern & Lenora Lanning Marcia Martin Eric Pipenger Bernard & Delores Rollston Donald & Janice Stockhill Cynthia Watson

Bonnie Crabb-Tremblay Dan Rogers

Kaye Doherty Melissa Bachman

Suzanne E. Cummings Jacqueline Kozal

Allen Doorn Phil de Haan

Daniel G. Cusack Jacqueline Kozal

Donald Downham Paul & Charlene Fitzpatrick

Karl Daniels Dr. & Mrs. Joel Vanderiet

Kathleen Drennan Patrick & Kristine Brady

Aaron De Lange Sharon Blaskis

Loy L. Dykstra Baskin Livestock, Inc. Byron Center Baptist Church Matt Ellis Greenstone Farm Credit Services Arnold & Marlene Groeneveld David & Barbara Miller David & Coralie Miller Richard & Laura Miller Laurie Schwartz Donald & Lorraine Thome

Sherriel Coates Brent Coates Harold E. Cook Marilyn K. Cook Darryl Couch Kathleen Couch

Jay A. DeBoe Michael DeBoe Elaine DeHaan Leonard & Leonora Smit Susan DeRoos Lyle & Roberta Brockway Marsha Burgess Steven & Linda DeRoos

Edward Dzwonkowski Arline Dzwonkowski

Betty J. Frederick Raymond Frederick

Jean B. Eagleson Lily Beck Stephen & Betty Beck Faye Buckingham June Glisan James & Elizabeth Lieberman Loretta Miles Bud & Ruth Elve Mark & Anne Elve Gloria Ender Dr. & Mrs. Steven C. Ender Jon C. Forslund Jean Swaney Butch Forystek James Johnson John P. Foxworthy Jean Swaney Terrie Frank Roy & Maureen Warren Diane Frede Walter & Mary Ann Andersen William & Carol Betts Al Budnick Elwood Staffing Services, Inc. Andrew Evans Harley & Rosemary Huffman Larry & Jan Jewell Joanne Marshall Carl & Anne Newberg Robert & Cathleen Newberg Deborah Pitsch Gayle Platte Sharon Sydloski Mark Zacha

Martha Jackson Dr. Bruce A. Jackson II

Jean Frick Allan & Barbara Lowe

Robert Hawley Gregory & Patricia Hohs Robert & Carol Peters Michael & Brenda Radlinski Don & Susie Thomas

Lorraine Futrell Ronald & Helen Colburn

Marilyn M. Hefferan Jacqueline Kozal

Mary M. Johnson Paul & Betsy Greenwald

Harold Gantt Barry & Mary Gantt

Henry Hemond Rebecca Christopherson

Ondrea M. Kamps William Stewart

Helen Ganzhorn Robert & Andrea Rander

Steven M. Hertel Antoinette Hertel

Mary Jane & Jay Kanipe Daniel & Karen Mott

Norma J. Girod Beverly & John Scranton

Jim Hickey Catherine Amodeo

Mark L. Kastner Brenda Kastner

Josephine Granzo Donald & Kathleen Brockriede Brian Fitzpatrick Neil Fitzpatrick Lighthouse Assembly of God Michael Ludwig

Dee Hickmott Sid Hickmott

Marian Katzenstein Dorothy Armstrong

James W. Hoerner Anne Rossi

Ron Kitchen Maple Hill Golf Course, Inc.

Marvin Hollemans Shirley Roskam

Norman Klein Dr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Klein

Julie L. Holtrop Philip & Marie Holtrop

Larry Kneeshaw Gerald & Tracy Kneeshaw

Arthur T. Howson Grace Bouwman Carolyn Calcutti

Charles Knop Jacqueline Kozal

Abby Greer Mike & Sandy Waller Randee Grossa Sally Shumway Carol A. Haarman Stephen Haarman Dean Hanson Sara Taylor Chuck Harger Ronald & Frances McKellar James Hass Richard Hillman & Barbara Burby Hillman

Kay L. Hurt William & Brenda Davidson Charles Huffman M. Terry & Joan Hurt Pauline Mitchell Robin Stiyer Lyle R. Irish Bernadine Aidif Jason & Cindy Dawes Randy & Betsy Smith

Robert Jarchow Daniel Jarchow

David Kosten Michael DeBoer Donald R. Kozal Karen Best Anne Kozal Patricia R. Kozal Karen Best


Memorials (continued) Alida P. Kuipers Edmund & Ann Anderson Christopher & Sandra Bajema John Boom David Carlson & Elizabeth VanBeek Carlson Mark & Margaret Christensen Larry & Barb Langshaw Rose Mulder Elsa Slomp Harold & Fran Soper Phyllis Van Andel Paul & Crystal VanBeek Michael & Peggy Vanhamersveld Bruce D. Langlois Joanne K. Langlois Norma Leopold Lawrence & Mary Lou Hicks Wes & Roxanne Lake Allan C. Lowe Allan & Barbara Lowe

Shirley Meyer Thomas & Barbara Jackoboice James Mieras Daniel Terry Thaddeus Misiak Greg & Debra Misiak Jean R. Murphy Jacqueline Kozal Eleanore L. Nicolette Anne Benson Gary & Bev Brouwer Loretta Cahill Jerry & Suzanne Callahan Paul & Constance Ceton Jane Hondelink Charles & Carole Johnson Judson Lynch Dawn McCotter Steve & Laura Triezenberg Gregory & Ingrid Vander Lende Richard & Jill Zuker

Donna Doyle Alfredo Eijan Frank Franone Debbie Grimm Patti Janus Viola Janus Giacomino Mannarino Virginia Marzec Mario Naccarato Diane Novak Christine Pepino Sal Provenzano Nina Rizzo Gina Sicoli James Sicoli Ortenzia Sicoli Josephine Szczygiel Gary Turner Glen & Tracey Turner Loraine Turner Raymond Volpacki Curtis Whitmore Ernie Popiel Joseph Popiel

Wade Mackay Jean Swaney Thomas & Susan Swaney

Mary Nolan Timothy Nolan

Jessica Marcellino Dean & Michelle Snow

Tom Piazza Joseph & Margaret Biersack

Robert McDowell Michael Hillman Richard & Barbara Hillman Burby Hillman

Denise Picardat Bethany Mulligan

David Raab Diana Wales

Frank Pinto Anonymous Paula Birlen Edda Bossio Luigi Bossio

Florence Rauser Daniel & Elizabeth Alt Leon & Diane Brechting A. Christopher Engle Kathleen Leavell

Leah Meldrum Warren & Deborah Westerhuis


Victoria Purgiel Larry & Barbara Adamski Patricia Cybert James & Frieda Jaynes Patrick Purgiel

Florence Rauser Dietrich & Betty Lou Roth Louis Seguin

Grandpa & Grandma Schermer David DeJonge

Kyle Razmus Ivy Razmus

Papa R. Schewe Angie Adkin

Glenn Rick Brad & Julie Rick

Rick Schewe Suzanne Brown Amy Martin Kathy Sturm

Clarence Slomp Jean Garehan Fox Shawmut Hills Gary & Ruth Kuipers Meily Kuperus Wayne & Marilyn Rietberg Elsa Slomp Terri Vanden Bos

James R. Schmalz Leslie Schmalz

Carolyn A. Smith Kim Chrisman

Amy L. Schneider Richard & Carol Briggs James & Kathryn Coombs Juniper Shores Association Alonzo Keathley Dorothy Schneider

Richard Stoops Marlene Stoops

Pauline Roskam Shirley Roskam Cynthia Santarelli Arline Dzwonkowski Margaret Saunier Thea Scholten Kimberly Wyngarden Sharon Wynkoop Dwight W. Sawyer Jacquolyn Sawyer Anita Scavelli James Wright Kathleen M. Schafer Patrick & Angela Farrell Alan & Dorothy Gould Kehoe Family Protection Trust Lake Michigan Insurance Agency Jim & Norma Peterson William & Linda Schafer Dick & Carol Schermer Lyn Cooper

Chester Schut Clinton & Joanne Hop Leon Schutter Carol Schutter Steve Sedlacek Jessi Sedlacek Carrie Shaver Steven Ender & Karen Gislason Ender Chris Shaw Tom & Barb Shaw Wendy Simpson Carole Yost

Don Slager Kenneth & Judith Slager

Madge Strikwerda Dr. James L. Strikwerda Billy Swaney Thomas & Susan Swaney Russel B. Swaney Thomas & Susan Swaney Daryl Ter Haar Patricia Ter Haar James R. Teunis Kathleen Teunis Larry Urban Yvonne Urban Jay Van Andel Nancy Van Andel

Lois Van Dyke West Michigan Tag & Label, Inc.

Marlene Vis Lonnie Vis

Hank Van Ee Stephen Haarman

Marilyn Vos Matthew & Shari Berger

Dorothy Vande Woude David & Susan Birdsall Chris & Susan Braithwaite David & Elaine Cain David & Carol Van Andel Family Foundation Jim & Gail Fahner Ronald & Mary Frick Steven & Brenda Heacock Kelly Himelright-Nemzek Stephen Hughes Ramesh Kumar Ray Loeschner The Lowy-Mock Family Charitable Fund Gerilyn & Jamie May Marianne K. Melnik, M.D. Pamela Murray Sara & Jay O'Neal Ellen Pesto Patrick & Alana Placzkowski Research!America Kim Spolarich Mark Stetter The Right Place, Inc. Carleton Woods Yount, Hyde & Barbour, P.C. Liam Sullivan & Linda Zarzecki

Joanne K. Wallin James & Frieda Jaynes

Martin Vanden Berg Dr. James L. Strikwerda Carl L. VanderZee The Family of Carl VanderZee

Lloyd B. Webb Alice Antczak Jean Henk Fred Johnson Michele Kladder Dennis Malone Moiron, Inc. Steven & Sheila Paavo Yvonne Webb

Debbie Wittenbach Anonymous Drs. David & Heather May Jeffery & Brenda Pouliot Terry Pulling Carl & Kimberly Rossi James & Randi Wilson Craig A. Wood Ronald & Frances McKellar Herb Zeitter Shirley Zeitter Henry F. Zeman Paul & Julie Carufel Jerome Ziomkowski Jacqueline Kozal

William Webber Stephen Haarman Rosalie Wila Jacqueline Kozal Jerome M. Willim Hope Willim Jane E. Wilson Nancy Porter Randy Winchester Monica Dolce Nona Wirt Howard Wirt Doc Withey Jean Swaney

Merle & Maxine Varty Robert Varty


Signature Special Event Sponsors A Charmed Life Nail Salon Alliance Beverage Distributing Amway Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Aon Risk Services ARTISTRY Steve & Kathryn Bandstra Bank of America Charitable Foundation Barnes & Thornburg LLP Barracks 616 BDO USA, LLP BD's BBQ Belwith Products, LLC Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance Agency Inc. Matt & Sheri Berger David & Jill Bielema Blacklamb Blank Rome LLP Bluewater Technologies Chuck & Christine Boelkins Bowers Harbor Vineyards Brothers Leather Supply Co. Bruce Heys Builders, Inc. Brush Studio Mark & Jennifer Bugge Buist Electric Allison Burr Jerry & Suzanne Callahan Calvin College Scott & Heidi Campbell Cancer & Hematology Centers of Western MI, PC Cascade Rental Center Chemical Bank The Chop House CitySén Lounge Natalie Cleary

Colliers International CrossFit Luminary The Crown Jewel Spa & Salon Crystal Clean Auto Detailing Crystal Mountain Resort Cumulus Broadcasting Custer, Inc. CWD Real Estate Investment Cygnus27 Cynthia Kay & Company Czech Assest Management Davenport University David & Carol Van Andel Family Foundation Dear Prudence Deloitte Design 1 Salon Day Spa Aaron & Afton DeVos Dick's Sporting Goods Divani Jeffrey & Mary Dixon DK Security The Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation Droscha Sugarbush Eastbrook Homes Eenhoorn, LLC Eileen DeVries Family Foundation Ellis Parking Eurest Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. Ferris State University Fifth Third Private Bank FireKeepers Casino Hotel First National Bank of Michigan FOODesign by Chef Brech Foot & Ankle Specialists of West Michigan


We are fortunate to have extraordinarily dedicated signature event sponsors. Thank you for partnering with us and supporting our mission throughout the year.

Fred L. Hansen Corporation Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Dan & Lou Ann Gaydou The Gilmore Collection Golf Galaxy Goodwill Industries Dan & Magee Gordon Wes Gordon Gordon Food Service Inc. Grand Rapids Christian Schools Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids Symphony Grand Valley State University Granger Group Grey Skies Distillery Martin & Peggy Greydanus Jana Hall Harvey Automotive Paul & Sheryl Haverkate Honigman Hotel Walloon Howard Miller The H.T. Hackney Co. Huizenga Group Ice Sculptures, Ltd. The I.C.N. Foundation Michael & Susan Jandernoa Jandernoa Foundation Jeffery Roberts Design Kathi A. Wilson, DDS Keeler Andy & Christina Keller Kendall College of Art & Design John & Nancy Kennedy Craig & Debra Kinney The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

Al & Robin Koop Lacks Enterprises, Inc. Lake Michigan Credit Union Ray & Jeannine Lanning Joe & Amanda Lanser Leigh's Leo's Life EMS Lighthouse Insurance Group, Inc. Little River Casino Resort Long Road Distillers Love's Ice Cream Gary & Vicky Ludema Luxeire Macatawa Bank Maple Hill Golf Course, Inc. McAlvey, Merchants & Associates M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza McShane & Bowie, PLC Meijer Mark & Mary Beth Meijer Merrill Lynch - Bank of America Corporation Metro Health Hospital Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Mika Meyers, Beckett & Jones, PLC Jamie Mills & Jim Nichols The Mitten State MLive Media Group Modern Day Floral Mike & Rachel Mraz My Auto Import Center National Christian Foundation West Michigan Neiman Marcus

New Holland Brewing Co. Norris Perne & French Northern Cross Foundation Northstar Commercial Lee & Alexandra Perez Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services Pioneer Construction Pitsch Companies Posh Petals Preusser Jewelers Priority Health RE/MAX of Grand Rapids, Inc. Regal Financial Group LLC Deidre & Jeff Remtema Reserve Wine & Food The Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation Brenda & Tom Rinks Rockford Construction Sarah & Todd Rollman John & Therese Rowerdink Rowerdink, Inc. Saint Mary's Health Care SecurAlarm Systems The Sharpe Collection Sip Organic Juice Bar Six.One.Six Slows BarBQ Sobie Meats Spectrum Health Rob & Susan Stafford Standard Lumber Steelcase Inc. Stephen Klotz Family Foundation The Steve & Amy Van Andel Foundation

Tom & Mary Stuit Sweetie-licious Bakery Café Taconic Charitable Foundation Steve & Cheryl Timyan Todd Wenzel Automotive Townsquare Media Tre Cugini Truscott Rossman Twisted Rooster Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts U.S. Bank Van Eerden Food Service Dave & Beth Van Portfliet Brian & Lori Vander Baan Marsha & Larry Veenstra The Veldheer, Long, Mackay & Bernecker Group of Merrill Lynch Russell & Christine Visner Waddell & Reed - Aaron DeVos Wallinwood Springs Golf Course Warner Norcross & Judd LLP Wells Fargo West Michigan Women Magazine Wheelhouse Scott & Rebecca Wierda Williams Kitchen & Bath Greg & Meg Willit Bob & Karen Wiltz Wolverine Power Systems Wolverine Worldwide Women's Lifestyle Aaron & Amanda Wong Wuskowhan Players Club XS Energy Drink Your Shower Door Jim & Jane Zwiers

Institute Leadership Team “From our founding, early development and growth into a global institute, our most important asset has always been abundantly clear—people.” David Van Andel

David Van Andel Van Andel Institute Chairman & CEO

Jerry Callahan, M.B.A., Ph.D. Vice President, Innovations & Collaborations

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.

Jana Hall Chief Operations Officer

The son of Jay Van Andel, founder of the Van Andel Institute and co-founder of Amway Corporation, he is currently a member of Amway’s Board of Directors and serves on its Executive, Governance and Audit committees. Prior to leading Van Andel Institute, he had been in various positions at Amway since 1977, including chief operating officer of Amway’s Pyxis Innovations Business Unit and he was senior vice president–Americas and Europe, overseeing Amway business activities in North America and 22 European and 11 Latin American affiliates.

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


Board and Council Members Van Andel Institute Trustees

Van Andel Research Institute Trustees

David Van Andel Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

David Van Andel Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

John Kennedy President & Chief Executive Officer, Autocam Medical

Tom R. DeMeester, M.D. Professor & Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Mark Meijer President, Life E.M.S. Ambulance

James B. Fahner, M.D. Chief of Hematology and Oncology, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital 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 Wicha, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine; Founding Director, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center


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

Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D. Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs; Dean of Medicine, University of California Irvine

Michael Brown, M.D. Paul J. Thomas Professor of Genetics & Director of the Jonsson Center of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas

Theresa Guise, M.D. Professor of Medicine; Jerry W. & Peg S. Throgmartin Professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Indiana University

Richard Axel, M.D. Professor of Neurosciences, Columbia University

Rudolph Jaenisch, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT

Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D. Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas 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. 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

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

Van Andel Institute Graduate School Board of Directors James Fahner, M.D. Chief of Hematology & Oncology, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Thomas Haas, Ph.D. President, Grand Valley State University Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Research Institute Michael J. Imperiale, Ph.D. Director, Doctoral Program in Cancer Biology; Associate Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Michigan Pamela Kidd, M.D. Hematopathologist & Medical Director of the Hematology & Flow Cytometry Laboratories, Spectrum Health & Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

David Van Andel Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D. Vice President, Scientific and Medical Affairs, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Nancy Ayres Former General Manager, Flexco

Gordon Van Harn, Ph.D. Emeritus Provost & Professor of Biology, Calvin College

James Boelkins, Ph.D. Former Provost, Hope College 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


Board and Council Members Van Andel Institute Board of Governors


Thank you, Board of Governors. As members of the Van Andel Institute Board of Governors, your support of the Institute helps advance our efforts to improve the health and enhance the lives of current and future generations. Thank you for being our partners, serving as our ambassadors and contributing significantly to our success.


Alice Andrews R. Tony & Kathleen Asselta Nancy Batts Paul Becker & Eve Rogus David & Jill Bielema Charles & Christine Boelkins James & Martha Bultman Jerry & Suzanne Callahan John & Marie Canepa Mike & Kim Carnevale Ron & Lori Cook Dave & Karen Custer Stephen C. Czech Mark & Mary Jane de Waal Robert & Allison DeVilbiss Douglas & Maria DeVos Richard & Helen DeVos Daniel & Pamella DeVos Dick & Betsy DeVos Eileen DeVries Randall & Terri Disselkoen Michael & Lynette Ellis Jim & Gail Fahner David & Judy Frey Dan & Lou Ann Gaydou Gene & Tubie Gilmore Gary & Pam Granger Martin & Margaret (Peggy) Greydanus Jim & Kathy Hackett Jana Hall Lewis & Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch

Paul & Rose Heule Dirk Hoffius J.C. & Tammy Huizenga Allen & Helen Hunting Bea Idema JosĂŠ & Sue Infante Earle & Kyle Irwin Michael & Sue Jandernoa Sidney & Cate Jansma Peter & Veronica Jones John & Deb Kailunas David & Nancy Kammeraad John & Nancy Kennedy Craig & Debra Kinney John Knapp Diane Kniowski Tim & Kimberly Long Gary & Vicky Ludema Don & Peg Luy Donald W. & Kathleen Maine Hank & Liesel Meijer Lena Meijer Mark & Mary Beth Meijer Rusty & Jenn Merchant R. George Mickel Jack H. Miller Jamie Mills & James Nichols Louis & Nancy Moran Mark & Elizabeth Murray William & Sandi Nicholson Juan & Mary Olivarez

Richard Pappas Dale & Sonja Robertson John & Therese Rowerdink Martin D. Sass Mike & Cindy Schaap Peter & Joan Secchia Blair & Michelle Sharpe George & Linda Sharpe George & Missy Sharpe Budge & Marilyn Sherwood Brent & Diane Slay Peter Stamos & Soonmee Cha Robert & Susan Stafford Tom & Mary Stuit Duke & Sue Suwyn Renee Tabben Steve & Laura Triezenberg David & Carol Van Andel Steve & Amy Van Andel Michael & Michelle Van Dyke Dan & Ann Van Eerden George & Dot Vande Woude Gordon & Mary Van Harn Brian & Lori VanderBaan Stuart & Nelleke Vander Heide Michael & Gayle VanGessel Dave & Beth Van Portfliet John Veleris Geoff & LeeAnne Widlak Greg & Meg Willit

JBoard Ambassadors


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 fight disease and advance our mission.

Natalia Alejos Zeke Alejos Lisa Alles Timothy Alles Jennifer Baldini Charles Bassett Lindsay Benedict Angie Bissell Brandon Bissell Brian Blodgett Heidi Campbell Scott Campbell Don Carlson Heather Carlson Heather Christmann Natalie Cleary Matthew Cook Paige Cornetet Blake Crabb Aaron DeVos Afton DeVos Samuel DeVries Christa Disselkoen Stephen Disselkoen Kaitlyn Disselkoen Swan Lindsey Dubis Bo Fowler Jennifer Fowler Kevin Gardenier Linsey Gleason Andrew Grashuis

Nicole Haglund Hailey Harold Brandi Huyser Eric Jones Katie Kileen Kevin Kileen Eric Kovalak Michael Lomonaco Erica Lonn Kimberly Loomis Jack Lott Geoff Ludema Kate Meyer Phillip Mitchell Caitlin Mlynarek Evan Mlynarek Mike Mraz Rachel Mraz Alyssa Nance Chris Nance Kendra Osowski Matt Osterhaven Gregory Paplawsky Alexandra Perez Leland Perez Laurie Placinski Nicole Probst Deidre Remtema Jeff Remtema Charlie Rowerdink Tanya Rowerdink

Lindsay Slagboom Meriden Smucker Timothy Streit Libby Stuit Paul Stuit Amber Sturrus Hoover Justin Swan Charity Taatjes William Templin Trevor TenBrink Jane Tomaszewski Sarah Tupper Aaron Van Andel Chris Van Andel Jesse Van Andel Kyle Van Andel Daniel VandenBosch David Vanderveen Sarah Vanderveen Marc Veenstra Alison Waske Sutter Amanda Whowell MeiLi Wieringa Lisa Wolf Nathaniel Wolf Charlie Wondergem Brian Yarch Courtney Yarch Lisa Zigterman Megan Zubrickas


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Profile for Van Andel Institute

2016 Annual Report  

A year-in-review that features updates on Van Andel Institute, stories of collaboration, discovery and hope.

2016 Annual Report  

A year-in-review that features updates on Van Andel Institute, stories of collaboration, discovery and hope.