20 facts for 20 years

In honor of Van Andel Institute’s 20th anniversary, we’re sharing 20 facts about the Institute. We hope you learn something new!

  1. VAI is home to over 360 employees representing over 29 countries.
  2. Since Van Andel Institute broke ground in 1998, it has spurred a vital economic growth in Grand Rapids and more than $2 billion worth of research and heath care infrastructure along the city’s Medical Mile.
  3. Dale Chihuly’s sculpture, Life, was unveiled in 2005 and hangs in the Institute’s lobby. The sculpture was commissioned by Jay Van Andel in 2004 in memory of Betty Van Andel.
  4. Three of Van Andel Research Institute’s (VARI) principal investigators are fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy:
  5. The Institute’s Founding Research Director Dr. George Vande Woude and current Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones are both members of the National Academy of Sciences.
  6. VARI is home to three fellows of the American Association for the Advancements of Science:
  7. VARI’s Biorepository is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and provides biospecimen and biobanking services for several National Institutes of Health-funded projects.
  8. All five members of the Research Institute’s first Board of Scientific Advisors were esteemed scientists who were or became Nobel Laureates.
  9. VARI currently has 33 principal investigators.
  10. VARI scientists Drs. Peter Jones, Stephen Baylin and Stefan Jovinge played key roles in discoveries that were hailed as notable advances of 2015 by Nature Medicine.
    Students at the Education Institute.
    Students at the Education Institute.
  11. Since its founding, VARI investigators have published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles.
  12. VARI is part of two large, international collaborations aimed at moving promising therapies into clinical trials—the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team and the VARI-Cure Parkinson’s Trust Linked Clinical Trials initiative.
  13. 100% of Van Andel Institute Graduate School graduates have gone into postdoctoral fellowships or industry positions, as of October 2016.
  14. Since 2001, the Institute has provided more than 300 students with summer internships. This year, VAI hosted 38 interns who represent 19 different educational institutions during the two summer sessions.
  15. Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) has worked with more than 3,600 students and 2,500 teachers since 1996.
  16. The Education Institute’s staff of 15 share their space with more 65 organisms such as bearded dragons, geckos, turtles and salamanders.
  17. From 2011 to 2016, VAEI has increased the number of teachers participating in face-to-face professional development by 2,240%, reaching more than 1,100 so far in 2016!
    2016 Purple Community 5K
    2016 Purple Community 5K
  18. This year, 750 students (and counting) have participated in a VAEI program, compared to 275 in 2011.
  19. The staff at VAEI has a combined total of 244 years of professional experience in the education industry.
  20. Purple Community hosts over 120 events per year ranging from individuals, schools, teams and organizations who raise over $300,000 annually for Van Andel Institute.