Press Release

2 Apr 2013

Dr. George Vande Woude named fellow of the AACR Academy

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Grand Rapids, Mich. (April 2, 2013) – George F. Vande Woude, Ph.D., Van Andel Institute Founding Research Director and Distinguished Scientific Fellow, is among the first class selected by the American Association for Cancer Research for its newly formed Fellows of the AACR Academy.

Dr. Vande Woude will be among those inaugurated to the Fellows of the AACR Academy at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, April 6-10 in Washington, D.C. The inaugural class of Fellows consists of 106 individuals, including 31 Nobel laureates, symbolizing the age of the organization upon establishment of the Academy (see complete list here).

The AACR Academy was created to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. These Fellows have been selected through a rigorous peer review process that evaluates individuals on the basis of their stellar scientific achievements in cancer research.

The Fellows of the AACR Academy is a separate entity within the American Association for Cancer Research, and only individuals who have made exceptional contributions to cancer and/or cancer-related biomedical science are eligible for election.

“Our Board of Directors made the decision to establish the AACR Academy as a mechanism for recognizing scientists whose contributions to the cancer field have had an extraordinary impact. Membership in the Fellows of the AACR Academy will be the most prestigious honor bestowed by the American Association for Cancer Research,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR.

Dr. Vande Woude’s research career can be characterized by the uniquely broad scope of his work with the human oncogene MET and its molecular partner hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) —from the original cloning and characterization of the gene, through explaining the role of the HGF/ MET signaling pathway in human cancers, and then to applying that knowledge toward the identification of inhibitors of this important cancer pathway. Because MET and HGF play such an integral role in the process of cell survival, growth, blood vessel formation, and metastasis, they are a significant target in the development of anti-cancer drugs.

Dr. Vande Woude also has forged a legacy of leadership. In addition to serving as Van Andel Institute’s first research director, his many roles at the National Cancer Institute included: Head of the Human Tumor Studies and Virus Tumor Biochemistry Sections; Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology; Director of the Advanced Bioscience Laboratories-Basic Research Program at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland; and Special Advisor to the Director.

Being named a Fellow of the AACR Academy is the latest in a long line of prestigious honors and awards for Dr. Vande Woude, who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the National Institutes of Health Merit Award, the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award for Cancer Research, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Technology Transfer from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The inaugural class of Fellows will be inducted into the AACR Academy on Friday, April 5, 2013, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. at 6:30 p.m. The induction ceremony will be followed by a meeting of the Academy on Saturday, April 6, and special recognition of the inaugural Fellows during the opening plenary session on Sunday, April 7, 2013. These events will be annual occurrences at future AACR Annual Meetings.

Future classes of Fellows shall consist of no more than 11 individuals, in honor of the 11 founding members of the American Association for Cancer Research. These Fellows will be elected by vote of all the Fellows of the AACR Academy.

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About Van Andel Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process.  Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research arm, is dedicated to studying the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of more than 200 researchers in on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting www.vai.org