David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude to be honored at Research!America advocacy award dinner

Recipients of Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 10, 2015)–David Van Andel, Chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute and Dr. George Vande Woude will receive Research!America’s 2015 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for work at the Van Andel Institute which encompasses basic as well as translational research, fueling developments in treatments for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s. The Van Andel Institute is a major contributor to science with the recruitment of top scientists and funding support.

The award will be presented to David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude at the 19th Annual Advocacy Awards at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The awards dinner, to be held on March 11, brings more than 400 leaders from government, industry, academia and health advocacy organizations to recognize top medical and health research advocates, who have made an impact in advancing the nation’s commitment toward research.

“Research!America is honored to recognize Mr. David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude for their steadfast commitment to research and advocacy for research,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO Research!America. “Mr. Van Andel and Dr. Vande Woude have made an important contribution to the health and economic prosperity of our nation and we encourage them to continue to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

“George and I are honored to receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award,” said David Van Andel. “Van Andel Institute is becoming known for innovation in biomedical research and science education. We are accelerating the pace of research and discovery, and working to translate those findings into treatments that directly impact patients with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.”

David Van Andel is an entrepreneur involved in several business interests in the natural and life science products industries. His father, Jay Van Andel, was a co-founder of Amway. The Van Andel family has been exceptionally generous to the Grand Rapids community. An endowment from Jay and Betty Van Andel covers the Institute’s operating costs, which enables 100 percent of all donations to go directly to research and education.

Dr. Vande Woude is among the pioneers who laid the foundation for our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer. As the director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Basic Research Program in Frederick, Maryland, he recruited world class researchers and implemented a vital research review process. From 1995 to 1998 he served as special adviser to the director of the National Cancer Institute, helping streamline intramural basic science at NCI. In 1999, he was selected to be the first director of the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) where, in concert with David Van Andel, he built an exceptional cancer research program from the ground up.
Other 2015 Research!America Advocacy Award winners are Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.); ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts; Michael Milken, founder of the Milken Institute and FasterCures; Dr. Kenneth Olden, director, National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. EPA; and the Society for Neuroscience.

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The 2015 Advocacy Awards represent Research!America’s 19th year of recognizing the accomplishments of leading advocates for medical and health research. For more information, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.