Dr. Han-Mo Koo joined Van Andel Research Institute in 1999 as one of its founding investigators. As head of the Laboratory of Cancer Pharmacogenetics, Dr. Koo established, among others, important projects focused on the identification of genetic targets for anti-cancer drug development for melanoma and pancreatic cancer and worked tirelessly to contribute to the Institute’s mission to improve health and enhance lives.
Sadly, in May 2004, Dr. Koo passed away following a six-month battle with cancer. To honor his memory and scientific contributions, the Han-Mo Koo Memorial Award was established in 2010.
Awardees are selected based on scientific achievements and peer recognition and, importantly, that their contributions to human health and research align with the scientific legacy of Han-Mo Koo.
James P. Allison, Ph.D.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
As an immunologist, Dr. James Allison’s fundamental discoveries include the definition of the structure of the T cell antigen receptor, demonstration that the T cell molecule CD28 provides costimulatory signals necessary for full T cells activation, and that the molecule CTLA-4 is an inhibitory checkpoint which inhibits activated T cells. He proposed that immune checkpoint blockade might be a powerful strategy for therapy of many cancer types, and conducted preclinical experiments showing its potential. He was involved in the development of ipilimumab, which was approved by the FDA for treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011. His development of the concept of immune checkpoint blockade has transformed cancer therapy and saved thousands of lives.
Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He has received numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists, the Lloyd J. Old Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Novartis Award for Clinical Immunology, the Economist Magazine Innovation Prize for Biomedicine, the Breakthrough Prize in Biosciences, the Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, and the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award.
Thursday, May 4
Wine and cheese reception
Immune checkpoint blockade in cancer therapy: New insights and prospects for cures
Friday, May 5
Immune checkpoint blockade in cancer therapy: New insights into mechanisms
Complimentary parking will be available at Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Lyon and Bostwick parking ramps. Please note that the GRCC lots are first-come, first-served and typically reach capacity by 8:00 a.m. See the symposium registration desk for parking validation tickets.
The GRCC Lyon Parking Ramp is located one block south of Van Andel Research Institute on Bostwick Ave. NE.
The GRCC Bostwick Parking Ramp is located at the corner of Fountain St. NE and Ransom Ave. NE. From Division Ave., turn east onto Fountain St. NE (this is a one-way street going east up the hill). Continue two blocks east of Division Ave. The GRCC Bostwick Parking Ramp will be on the left (if you cross Ransom Ave. NE, you’ve gone too far).