Two Van Andel Institute scientists named to elite Highly Cited Researchers list

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Nov. 15, 2022) — Van Andel Institute scientists Russell Jones, Ph.D., and Peter W. Laird, Ph.D., have been included in this year’s Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers list, a distinction marking them as leaders in their fields.

The greatly anticipated annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen area or areas of study through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science™ citation index.

Citations, or references, to a scientist’s published work by other researchers is universally considered to be a measure of influence and impact in the scientific community. Laird and Jones also were included on the 2021 list.

“Research fuels the race for knowledge and it is important that nations and institutions celebrate the individuals who drive the wheel of innovation. The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at Van Andel Institute who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers. These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs — and it is an honor to celebrate their achievements,” said David Pendlebury, Head of Research Analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate.

Russell Jones, Ph.D.

Russell Jones, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming, Van Andel Institute
Russell Jones, Ph.D., investigates metabolism at the cellular level to understand how it affects cell behavior and health, with a specific eye on cancer and the immune system. By revealing how cancer cells use metabolic processes to fuel their growth and spread, he hopes to develop new treatments that help patients by changing the standard of care for cancer. He is an elected member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and an Allen Distinguished Investigator in Immunometabolism.


Peter W. Laird, Ph.D.

Peter W. Laird, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Epigenetics, Van Andel Institute
Peter W. Laird, Ph.D., is an expert in epigenetics, a field that explores when and how the instructions in our genetic code are carried out. Epigenetic mistakes play major roles in cancer and, as such, serve as important targets for new treatments. Laird has developed several cutting-edge technologies, which he leverages to identify crucial epigenetic alterations that convert otherwise healthy cells into cancer cells. He is a principal investigator for the National Cancer Institute’s Genome Data Analysis Network and served in a leadership role for The Cancer Genome Atlas, a now-completed multi-institutional effort to molecularly map 33 different types of cancer.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 500 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology.