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Feb. 9, 2016

Research leader embodies Spartan spirit

What makes a Spartan?

Is it drive, motivation and determination? Is it vision, excellence and talent?

Meet Jack Lipton, chairperson and professor of translational science and molecular medicine.

Beneath a jet black lab coat is a researcher who is a Spartan in every sense. Lipton embodies the spirit of relentlessly pursuing solutions to problems — neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s — which affect millions of people. 

Real people like our relatives, neighbors and friends.

Translating research from the lab into the clinic is something Lipton admits can be motivating and humbling. 

“When you meet people with the disease and they tell you what their problems are on a daily basis, you're a little bit less concerned about your status in the world as a scientist,” Lipton said. “You're a little bit less worried about whether you're going to get that next grant, and more concerned with solving the problem that people have.”

Slowing the progression of neurological disease is at the heart of the research conducted in Lipton’s lab, but as the team has grown, so has the need for appropriate lab space. The team, who roll up their sleeves in the heart of Downtown Grand Rapids, need workspaces — spaces that match the pursuit of their big ideas.

Recruiting talented graduate students and top faculty is essential to the growth of the college, and there are plans for continued expansion of its research programs. And in true Spartan form, Lipton is leading the charge.

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Reprinted with permission from Empower Extraordinary: The Campaign for Michigan State University

By: Sarah Wardell