VARI cancer researcher elected to National Academy of Sciences

Stephen Baylin becomes third VARI-affiliated scientist to attain the distinction

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 15, 2017) — Stephen Baylin, M.D., Director’s Scholar and professor in the Center of Epigenetics at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an independent and nonpartisan advisor to the federal government on matters related to science and technology.

Baylin serves as co-leader of the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer (VARI-SU2C) Epigenetics Dream Team, in collaboration with VARI Chief Scientific Officer Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. The VARI-SU2C team currently is conducting four clinical trials that are investigating potential new therapies for colorectal cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Baylin is also a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine and co-director of the Cancer Biology program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research interests include cell biology and epigenetics—the study of modifications that affect how DNA is expressed. He has examined the mechanisms through which variations in tumor cells develop and cell differentiation in cancers, such as medullary thyroid carcinoma and small-cell lung carcinoma.

Additionally, Baylin served on the American Association for Cancer Research Board of Directors from 2004 through 2007 and is an associate editor of Cancer Research. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications. In April, he was elected to the Association of American Physicians.

Baylin’s election into the National Academy of Sciences is the latest in a string of honors for Van Andel Institute-affiliated scientists. In addition to three members of the Academy, the Institute also is home to:

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly the Institute of Medicine) were founded under the NAS charter in 1964 and 1970, respectively.

The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.

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 Institute or donate by visiting www.vai.org. 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®

Professor, Center for Epigenetics
Director’s Scholar
Co-leader, VARI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team
Primary appointment: Johns Hopkins University




The National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. To read the entire release, click here.