Archive for January, 2010


Jan 21 2010

Fighting breast cancer – in the lab and on the walking trail

by at 6:20 pm

Greetings from the “Breast Cancer Think Tank 20,” which is co-organized by former Lombardi Director Marc Lippman. There are many other former Lombardi people here, including Vered Stearns, Dan Hayes, Jimmy Rae, Shaomeng Wang and Doug Yee. All of them view Lombardi with great affection, and it is good to know that over the years we have generated so many wonderful sparks that have ignited important research at many distinguished institutions. And, we are well-represented at the meeting by an equally distinguished group of current Lombardi faculty, so we must be doing something right. I must say that this is one of the very best meetings I have attended in many years. It has the feeling of a Gordon Conference, but with an amazing amount of world-class give-and-take with every presentation. Naturally, when I spoke I stayed away from the talons of the ER signaling mavens and tried to convince the audience that the answer to breast cancer is in the field of immunology. Perhaps I am a little biased? However, I have come away with a bunch of new ideas for experiments, and that is always a sign of a good meeting.

It’s time for me to sign up for this year’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Yes, I am walking this year! I look forward to being a part of the Lombardi team, and hope that this commitment will stimulate an even higher level of support for our efforts to raise money for this wonderful cause. Last year, our Lombardi team raised over $48,000 and our successful fundraising, large team of walkers and supportive cheering section let everyone at the event know that Lombardi is clearly on the move. As you know, our very own Capital Breast Care Center has benefited greatly from Avon’s support and this is a wonderful (if blister-inducing) way for me to do my part for the cause. I think I’ll need some great walking shoes, so if anybody has a favorite brand, please let me know.

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Jan 19 2010

Learning more about informatics than I thought possible

by at 7:21 pm

Since this is my first blog of the year, I’d like to wish everybody a happy and healthy new year. I believe this will be a productive and highly successful new year. I hope everybody enjoyed the University-wide break during the week between Christmas and New Year and had a chance to spend the holidays with their families. Harriet and I had the unusual chance to be together with all of our grown children during that week and it was especially sweet. However, my son-in-law developed a brief but serious case of food poisoning that sent me in search of an all night pharmacy. Fortunately, I found one.

Thank you to Drs. Pishvaian, Dawson, Harter, Liu, Isaacs, Kessler, Cocilovo, Liang, Bright-Gbebry, Nancy Morgan and Jennifer Sween for generously giving up time this past weekend to participate in Lombardi’s booth at the NBC4 Health Expo (January 15th & 16th at the Washington Convention Center). As many of you know, Giant Foods invited Lombardi to be a part of their pavilion at the Health Expo, and we are excited by this opportunity to continue to reach out to the community in a number of ways to both do good and do well. Thank you to all of you who stopped by our booth to say hi.

One of the highlights of my week last week was a day-long meeting of a group that focuses on the signaling and bioinformatics of breast cancer. The meeting was organized by Bob Clarke and was held here in the E501 Conference Room and included a number of Lombardi scientists, two researchers from Fox Chase, and a group from the Virginia Tech Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. We identified a number of exciting collaborative directions and I learned more about informatics than I thought was possible.

Finally, I hope everybody will make time on their calendars to attend the first event sponsored by the Ruesch Center. John Marshall has poured his heart and soul into putting together a symposium on February 17th titled, “Fighting a Smarter War Against Cancer: Personalized Medicine & the Cure for Cancer.” John has put together a wonderful program which includes a handful of Lombardi scientists and a several high profile speakers from the cancer world. Mace Rothenberg the Senior Vice President of Pfizer Oncology will be giving the Thomas R. Schafer Memorial Lecture on the topic of “From Bench to Bedside to Pfizer.”

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