Van Andel Institute Graduate School student Maggie Chassé earns prestigious National Cancer Institute award

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Sept. 17, 2020) — Van Andel Institute Graduate School student Maggie Chassé has earned a Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. It is the second consecutive year a Graduate School student has received one of the prestigious awards.

The award, also known as the F99/K00, provides up to two years of financial support for Ph.D. candidates to complete their dissertation research, and up to four years of support for postdoctoral training. Chassé’s research focuses on better understanding a rare, aggressive form of pediatric tumors called rhabdoid tumors, and how to make them more responsive to treatment.

“It is an honor to receive this award, which will be a tremendous help as I complete my studies with the Graduate School and transition to a professional setting,” Chassé said. “I am grateful to the National Cancer Institute for supporting the work of students and early career scientists like me.”

Chassé is the second Graduate School student to earn the award. In 2019, Graduate School student Robert Vaughan, a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of VAI’s Dr. Scott Rothbart, was a recipient; it was the first time a Graduate School student earned an F99/K00.

“We are thrilled to have one of our students recognized in this way by the National Cancer Institute for a second straight year,” said Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg, dean of Van Andel Institute Graduate School. “This is a testament to the hard work of our bright students and the exceptional mentorship of our world-class faculty.”

Chassé is completing her Graduate School studies at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick J. Grohar, a former VAI faculty member who departed the Institute in 2019 to accept the position of director of translational research within the hospital’s Center for Childhood Cancer Research.

Research reported in this publication is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award no. F99CA253749. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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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 400 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. Learn more at vai.org.