Nobel Laureate Dr. J. Michael Bishop to deliver Daniel Nathans Memorial Lecture

Grand Rapids, Mich. (Nov. 10, 2014) — Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is pleased to announce that Nobel Laureate J. Michael Bishop, M.D., will receive the Daniel Nathans Memorial Award for his contributions to biomedical research and impact on human health. As part of the award, Bishop will give a scientific lecture and a lay lecture during his visit to the Institute on December 1-2.

Bishop was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1989 along with his colleague Dr. Harold Varmus for their discovery of proto-oncogenes, which are genes that can give rise to cancer after incurring genetic damage. Bishop and Varmus also received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the National Medal of Science for their discovery.

Their work has had an extraordinary impact on cancer research, especially in revealing the genetic basis of cancer and the mechanisms that drive tumor progression such as the role of proto-oncogenes.

“Dr. Bishop is an exemplary scientist whose contributions to cancer research cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Peter Jones, VARI’s research director. “His work has had a significant impact on biomedical research and on human health, and aligns perfectly with the spirit of the Daniel Nathans Memorial Award.”

Bishop received his education at Gettysburg College, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He currently serves as a university professor and director of the G.W. Hooper Research Foundation and as chancellor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. He has been elected to numerous prestigious organizations including the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

In honor of Bishop’s visit to VARI, the Institute will host a wine and cheese reception at 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1. Bishop will deliver the Daniel Nathans lay lecture, entitled Uncovering the Deepest Secret of the Cancer Cell, at 5:15 p.m. in Van Andel Institute’s Tomatis Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

At noon on the following day, Dec. 2, Bishop will give the Daniel Nathans scientific lecture, entitled The Cancer Genome and Therapeutics. The scientific lecture also is free and open to the public.

Please register by Nov. 27 by visiting Please contact Beth Resau at or at 616.234.5373 with any questions.

The Daniel Nathans Memorial Lecture was established in 2000 to honor the memory of Dr. Daniel Nathans, a founding member of Van Andel Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors and a distinguished member of the scientific community. Nathans is best known for his work on SV40 virus, which led to the development of recombinant DNA and provided a gateway to the field of genomics, which has transformed science. He, along with colleague Hamilton O. Smith and microbiologist Werner Arber, were awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work. The Daniel Nathans Memorial Award recognizes individuals who, like Nathans, made significant contributions to biomedical research that benefits public health. Past recipients include VARI Founding Director George Vande Woude, Ph.D.; Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Ph.D., and Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D. (on behalf of Genentech, Inc.); Harald zur Hausen, M.D., and Douglas R. Lowry, M.D.; Tony Hunter, Ph.D., and Tony Pawson, Ph.D.; Brian Druker, M.D.; Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D.; Lawrence H. Einhorn, M.D.; Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.; and Richard D. Klausner, M.D.

About Van Andel Research 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. 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. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.