Van Andel Research Institute expands cancer research program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 8, 2018) — As part of its efforts to reveal the complex molecular causes of cancer, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) announced today the recruitment of scientists Xiaobing Shi, Ph.D., and Hong Wen, Ph.D. to its Center for Epigenetics. Their hire will significantly broaden the Institute’s efforts to develop strategies to better predict, prevent, diagnose and treat these devastating diseases.

“Drs. Shi and Wen are outstanding additions to our growing team of talented scientists,” said Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon), VARI chief scientific officer. “They both have a demonstrated history of cutting-edge, impactful research that has shed new light on many of the underlying processes that contribute to cancer. We’re thrilled to welcome them to Grand Rapids’ burgeoning research community.”

Both Shi and Wen are experts in epigenetics, a set of processes that regulate how the instructions in the DNA are read and acted upon. As such, epigenetics play a key role in cancer risk, development and progression, and can be leveraged to develop new, more effective treatments.

Prior to joining the Institute, Shi and Wen conducted research at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. While there, Shi served as associate professor and co-director of the Center for Cancer Epigenetics, and Wen served as associate research professor in the Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis.

More information about Dr. Shi and his work may be found at shilab.vai.org; more information about Dr. Wen and her work may be found at wenlab.vai.org.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI has grown into a premier research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 360 scientists, educators and staff. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research division, is dedicated to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies. The Institute’s scientists work in onsite laboratories and participate in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Learn more about Van Andel Research Institute by visiting vari.vai.org. 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®