Archive for April, 2011


Apr 21 2011

A Reminder to Support Our Team in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

by at 3:59 pm

It’s a short week – I was in Philadelphia to celebrate Passover with my family,
and the office is closed for Good Friday. So, I want to wish everybody
joyous holidays, and also want to remind you that we are in the
homestretch of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s not too late to
support the Georgetown Lombardi/CBCC team, which is currently in third place, with more than $65,000 raised.

Remember, you can help by donating to the team, or by volunteering to cheer or serve in the medical tent.  Cheerleaders are especially welcome at this stage to help guide the team to the finish line after two long, hard days of walking.

However you help, it is a wonderful cause. I am very grateful to Jeanne Mandelblatt and all of the walkers for sacrificing their time and effort—and for enduring blisters—for a most worthy cause!

Contact Jeanne for more information on how to help.

Have a wonderful weekend.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Apr 15 2011

Touting Our Amazing Student , Postdoc and Faculty Research

by at 2:35 pm

It finally feels a bit like spring around here! It sure did not feel that way on Wednesday night, when Harriet and I went to see the Phillies play the Nationals at Nationals Park. We saw Roy Halladay pitch and win an exciting game. The park was only half full, and most of the fans wore Phillies gear, so we felt as if we were home—if home is in the Twilight Zone.

I want to use this week’s blog to celebrate some of the research accomplishments of our trainees and faculty. First of all, I thought that last week’s Research Day was an absolutely spectacular success. I wasn’t able to see all of the posters, but the ones I reviewed were really terrific.

We are lucky to have so many talented students and postdoctoral fellows here. One of the wonderful attributes of Georgetown Lombardi is the wealth of talent at the student and postdoc level. When I worked in Philadelphia at a freestanding cancer center, we relied solely on postdocs, and I didn’t know what I was missing by not having students in the lab.

Congratulations to the award winners: Anne Deslattes Mays; Tytus Mak;  Tiernan Mulrooney;  Elspeth Beauchamp;  Antoinette Cordova;  Rebecca Nakles;  Jordan Woodrick;  Maram Al-Otaiby;  Tabari Baker; Christopher Chien;  Tejaswita Karve;  Katherine Cook;  Edgar Diaz Cruz;  Geeta Upadhyay;  Joseph Murray;  David Solomon;  Rishi Surana.

I can assure you that they were most deserving, but all of the work was outstanding.

For those of you who want to explore the wonderful work being done in more depth, Tabari Baker has led the charge to organize several mini-Research Day sessions, where we can go over the posters with the presenters, and enjoy some refreshments to boot.

These sessions are scheduled for:  April 25 at 5 pm (posters on the 5th floor); May 2 at 5 pm (posters on the 4th floor) and May 17 at 5 pm (posters on the 3rd floor). Contact Tabari at for more information.

Just today, Peter Shields announced the names and projects of Georgetown Lombardi scientists who have been awarded CCSB U54, CCSG and ACS seed grants to support their research. These include: Roxanne Jensen, Lixin Mi, Ayesha Shajahan; Aykut Uren; John Deeken; Kristi Graves; Arnold Potosky; Ryan McAllister; Anna Riegel; Rabindra Roy; Siva Dakshanamurthy; Yun-Ling Zheng; Xuefeng Liu; Mary Beth Martin; and Ronit Yarden.

More information about the winners and their projects can be found here.

We had a wonderful response to the RFA, and I look forward to exciting results from these scientists over the next year (and much future peer-reviewed funding too!).

Remember, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is on April 30-May 1. The Georgetown Lombardi/CBCC team has raised nearly $62,000 and is now in third place among all teams that are participating (still beating Hopkins!). The team still needs help raising funds to meet its goal.

If you can, and have not yet contributed to the cause, please do so – every small donation is welcome. Donations can be made to the team using this link and the team still needs cheerers, medical volunteers and any other support you can provide.

Please help!

Have a great weekend.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Apr 08 2011

Playing Catch Up After the AACR

by at 1:47 pm

This past week has been very hectic, since I was attending the AACR annual meeting from Saturday to Wednesday. The meeting was very large and I attended many interesting talks. The Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando is absolutely huge, and it seemed as if I had to walk a mile to go from one meeting or session to the next one. It’s always a bit frustrating to have to mix meetings with attendance at the scientific sessions, but I guess that’s part of the territory.

I ceded leadership of the AACR’s Cancer Immunology Working Group to Olivera (Olja) Finn after completing a three-year term as the working group’s founding leader. Starting from scratch as a task force about six years ago, the working group now has more than 3,000 members, and has had a major role in organizing symposia and immunology content at the annual meeting. Moreover, we organized a biennial tumor immunology meeting that has rapidly evolved into a “can’t miss” event on the calendar. I actually received a nice little plaque at our Town Hall meeting on Sunday night, and it is now on a shelf in my office. I will remain on the steering committee of the working group for another year to facilitate the transition and to help Olja.

After returning to the office, I had to play catch up, and had a fairly busy clinic on Thursday afternoon. I am reviewing posters for Research Day, and then look forward to a weekend where I can recharge my batteries a bit.

By the way, the Georgetown Lombardi/CBCC Avon Walk team is up to 40 walkers and has raised over $50,000 so far. We are gaining on the second-place team! Please remember to donate, to volunteer as best you can, and to support the walkers as they represent Lombardi. It is a great cause. Contact Jeanne Mandelblatt for more information.

Have a great weekend.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Apr 01 2011

The Bright Lights of Broadway

by at 3:26 pm

Well, I had quite an interesting trip to New York on Tuesday. We hosted an event called “Lombardi on Broadway” for about 40 GU alumni and guests. Following a reception at the Palm restaurant, we trooped across the street to the Circle in the Square Theater for a performance of the play, ‘Lombardi’. This play is based on the book, “When Pride Still Mattered,” by David Maranis, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, about the life of Vince Lombardi. I have read the book and it is marvelous.

The play, which is also wonderful, is based on fictional interaction between Lombardi and a young sports journalist writing a story about him during the week before a big game with the Chicago Bears in 1965. The great cast, which includes the well-known actors Dan Lauria and Judith Light, gets it just right, and Lauria captures Lombardi’s intensity, passion and all-consuming drive for excellence so vividly that it seems like an out-of-body experience. I shudder to imagine how Lombardi would have dealt with a manuscript rejection.

The highlight of the evening was a specially arranged “talk back” session between the cast and the GU audience members. I was asked to join them on the stage for a minute or two (me, on a Broadway stage!) during which I told them that Lombardi’s legacy inspires our work here, and that the emphasis on individuals pulling together towards a common goal is exactly what we strive for every day.

I am pleased to report I had the good sense to not break into song, disappointing nobody.

Then we had the chance to pepper the cast with questions and got some fascinating answers. I purchased a signed ‘Lombardi’ poster and am having it framed to hang in my office. It will be a fabulous memento of a memorable evening. It is especially poignant for me because I come from a “Broadway family.”  My brother Steve is a composer, and has several shows playing right now around the country, with at least one on its way to New York; we’ve all been listening to Broadway musicals since I was very young. Moreover, Steve’s oldest daughter, Marla, has a featured role in the upcoming Broadway production of “Sister Act,” which opens in April. I feel as if I have finally joined the family business!

If you find yourself in New York and are looking for a great evening of entertainment, I highly recommend that you catch “Lombardi.” People affiliated with Georgetown are offered discounted tickets.  You can find more information here.

By the way, things are really humming as the Georgetown Lombardi/CBCC team ramps up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer April 30-May 1. The team has “walked” its way into third place, just ahead of the Johns Hopkins team, having recruited 38 walkers and raised nearly $45,000 as of this posting. However, the team needs your help! They still need walkers, cheerleaders and medical staff to help care for our team throughout the weekend. And, many of the walkers really need help in order to raise the $1800 required to participate in the walk. You can find more information on the Avon Walk web site or right at the team’s Avon page.

Or email Jeanne Mandelblatt at for more information.

Enjoy your weekend!

Dr. Weiner with the cast and producer of "Lombardi"

No responses yet | Categories: Events,Outreach