Archive for April, 2009


Apr 29 2009

Welcoming a new member of the National Academy of Sciences

by at 3:00 pm

I was extraordinarily pleased to learn that our incoming Scientific Director, V. Craig Jordan, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday. As further proof that timing is everything, Craig was previously scheduled to deliver Grand Rounds this Friday at noon in the Research Auditorium. I hope everyone will want to hear his talk, and to meet him and congratulate him on this recognition of his outstanding accomplishments at a brief reception that will follow in the podium Lobby of the Research Building.

Speaking of presentations, I enjoyed Insoo Bae’s talk today at the Wednesday Research Seminar. However, I felt badly that Insoo spoke before such a sparse audience. Like all our speakers, he worked hard to prepare his seminar, and he deserved more support from his colleagues in the cancer center. Let me reiterate my commitment to this series and my expectation that it is a priority on everyone’s weekly schedules.

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Apr 23 2009

Greetings from Denver

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Greetings from Denver where I am attending the annual AACR meeting. This is always busy – as I try to absorb as much new information as possible in between various organization-related meetings.

I was pleased that Lombardi’s profile was reflected by the publication of 25 abstracts. Many of you will remember that when I first arrived at Lombardi, I underscored my belief, which is still firmly held, that for Lombardi to be appreciated for its excellence, we have to share our work at major meetings like AACR and ASCO. While 25 abstracts makes a nice showing, let’s not forget that we have 106 full members, an additional 60 associate members, and many trainees. The AACR provides an excellent venue to share the exciting research we have going on here.

I’d like to congratulate two members of our community who received the recognition of “highly-rated abstract” for their research posters at AACR: Zhangzhi Hu, PhD, and Ramona Dumitrescu, PhD. You can view all of the coverage of Lombardi’s activities at AACR on the Lombardi Spotlight, including the opening ceremony video which featured three of our scientists, and a press conference moderated by Peter Shields.

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Apr 16 2009

The Schroeder/Lombardi Cancer Control Consortium

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When I first though of taking the position as Director of Lombardi, I was struck by the remarkably wide range of opportunities for Lombardi to connect with research enterprises within the Washington, DC area. Many of these enterprises are truly world class and it is important for Lombardi to take advantage of these opportunities.

The American Legacy Foundation and its Schroeder Institute represent one remarkable opportunity in that regard. The Legacy Foundation was formed as a result of the tobacco settlement and has played a major role in educating the public about the risks of tobacco smoking and nicotine addiction. The Schroeder Institute has become a remarkably impactful research enterprise at the Legacy Foundation. Led by Dave Abrams, a well-known tobacco control expert, the Schroeder Institute has a range of tobacco control research activities that fit extraordinarily well with Lombardi’s focus in both the Cancer Control and Carcinogenesis, Biomarkers, and Epidemiology programs.

This is a truly complementary collaboration in that the Schroeder Institute will provide Lombardi with the opportunities to expand more actively into prevention and other interventional studies, while Lombardi provides the Schroeder Institute with a clinical outlet for its efforts. I expect in the years to follow that many additional points of research collaboration will evolve.

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Apr 16 2009

Lombardi Welcomes Craig Jordan as Scientific Director

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V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc

V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc

By now you’ll have seen the announcement that Craig Jordan will be joining us effective this July. I’m delighted to welcome him to Lombardi. He’s an old friend and colleague and I have witnessed firsthand his remarkable capacity to pull together diverse investigators in shared research enterprises. As Scientific Director, Craig will take a leading role in helping me to shape the research portfolio of the Cancer Center. He will be part of my senior operational leadership team, which will consist of Peter Shields in his role as Deputy Director, Michael Vander Hoek as Administrative Director, Craig as Scientific Director, and John Marshall as Clinical Director.

One of Craig’s most important tasks will be to identify opportunities for multi-investigator research programs and to help those programs coalesce and develop so they can be supported by traditional multi-investigator mechanisms such as P01s and SPOREs. I know that he is very excited about putting together a breast cancer SPORE effort working with our outstanding breast cancer investigators at Lombardi.

I was pleased when Claudine Isaacs and Bob Clarke initially approached me about trying to recruit Craig to Lombardi to take on a senior leadership role. They recognized his excellent fit with the breast cancer program at Lombardi. In his new role, Craig will have no specific programmatic leadership responsibilities, although his presence will certainly strengthen our breast cancer efforts here.

Craig will also have an important role in supporting fund raising efforts. His energy, charm, and wide experience will certainly prove to be great assets to Lombardi in that regard.

He will be visiting Lombardi to give a Visiting Professor Seminar in May. This will be a great opportunity for those of who you have not met him to learn more about his science. In the coming months there will be many additional opportunities for you to meet with Craig and learn more about his vision for his role as Scientific Director here at Lombardi.

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Apr 07 2009

The importance of teaching (and the core grant)

by at 3:58 pm

Congratulations to Aykut √úren for receiving the Geza M. Illes Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Georgetown University School of Medicine’s 31st Annual Golden Apple Awards Ceremony. The award honors an outstanding first-year teacher “who serves as an inspirational role model in the field of gross anatomy.” This is a real testimony to his dedication and effectiveness as a teacher. It’s wonderful to know that a fine researcher such as Aykut is able to find the time and energy to make a contribution to training medical students. Speaking of Aykut’s research, he is hosting the Wnt 2009 Conference to be held on June 11-14 here at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall.¬† Clearly he is able to do more than one thing well at a time!

I’ve been feeling a bit jet-lagged. I was in Whistler, British Columbia, co-chairing a Keystone Symposium on Antibodies as Drugs. The meeting was co-located with the Targeted Cancer Therapies Keystone Meeting so I had the wonderful opportunity to go to two meetings in areas of great interest to me. I am told that the skiing was great though all I remember of my down time was staring into a laptop screen editing core grant program write-ups. At least I didn’t break an ankle while using track changes.

Last Thursday afternoon, I chaired the Systems Medicine task force for the GUMC strategic planning initiative. We’re making good progress in understanding how to roll out systems medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center using G-DOC as a template. However we still have a lot of work to do.

I also chatted with Joe Teague and Elena Jeannotte about the upcoming Lombardi Celebration on November 7th. I am pleased to announce Tanya Potter Adler and her husband, Howard Adler, will be our co-chairs. Tanya is the daughter of Dr. John Potter, the founding director of Lombardi, and she is embracing her role with enthusiasm. We are grateful to her for taking on this responsibility.

On the media front, kudos to Todd Waldman for his remarkable appearance on CNN. In contrast to my interview on Fox 5 last Wednesday (only one sentence was picked up), Todd really had a chance to share his ideas, and to an international audience.

Finally, I plan to spend the weekend (when I’m not reviewing core grant write-ups) preparing responses to the various ARRA initiatives. I hope everyone is taking advantage of this remarkable funding mechanism. It is a great way to add depth and strength to our respective research programs.If you want to know more about the opportunities, please refer to the following links:

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