Archive for December, 2011


Dec 16 2011

Pre-holiday Rush of Activity

by at 6:30 pm

With the holidays rushing toward us, I have been in full sprint mode for the past two weeks. Last Monday I was a guest on The Diane Rehm Show on WAMU (88.5 FM), talking about cancer survivorship. I really enjoy communicating with the public about the issues that we all live on a daily basis.

Later that same day I gave a brief talk at a GU-based sing-a-long of Handel’s Messiah. Having sung the piece in high school I can still recite every note of the Bass 2 line of the Hallelujah Chorus! It is a thrilling piece of music and I was grateful that all proceeds of the performance were directed towards Georgetown Lombardi.

Later that week I flew out to San Diego for a brief appearance at the annual Antibody Engineering meetings: I chaired a session and gave a talk, and came back with a proposal for a collaboration to use RNAi library screening to evaluate the mechanisms of action of a new EGFR family targeting antibody.

After a fairly quiet weekend, I have had a string of wall-to-wall meetings all week here at Georgetown. Some of them have been a lot of fun, such as Monday’s thesis committee meeting for one of my MD/PhD students. Others have been genuinely interesting, such as a dinner meeting with Craig Shriver, who heads the cancer center at Walter Reed; we met to discuss possible collaborations. We had a nearly day-long meeting on Thursday regarding the Center for Systems Biology U54 led by Bob Clarke. We had a chance to present some of our work there, and the level of scientific discourse was fabulous and incredibly helpful.

Wednesday night’s holiday party in the Lombardi Atrium was really wonderful. For me, it was symbolic, as the recent tradition around here has been to have separate parties for the clinical and scientific faculty and staff. That does not represent the best of what we can be, and having everyone together was deeply gratifying to me. I hope this is the start of a new tradition that can expand into other shared activities in the coming months and years.

And, in a similar vein, I was delighted to be part of the MedStar Health Cancer Network Strategic Planning group’s dinner on Thursday evening, where we reviewed the nearly completed strategic plan for rolling out a comprehensive, DC-area-based cancer care plan that intimately connects with research priorities. There is still much to do, but we certainly have come a long way!

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Dec 09 2011

Georgetown Meet Santa (GMS) (aka Georgetown Management System)

by at 5:29 pm

As we prepare for the holidays I would like to thank everyone for their dedication to defeating cancer.  I hope to see everyone next Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 5 pm at our holiday party in the Lombardi Atrium and wish you all a very happy and safe holiday.

Along with season’s greetings, this month marks the beginning of a long awaited upgrade to our university systems, beginning with payroll and human resources.  Our system was already a bit dated when I started working here in 1996 so it is exciting to see a new web-based system—along with less paper. 

The new system, known as the Georgetown Management System (GMS) goes live on January 3 right when we return from the holiday recess and will replace Genesys and Employee Access+.  The system will enable all employees to better manage, access and view pay, benefits and financial information.

Lombardi’s Human Resources Administrator Annie Alston (ext. 7-1615; email has been preparing for this transition for the past several months and is our internal resource in addition to the team manning the help lines (ext. 7-4949) for University Information Services (UIS).

Details about GMS can be found here. There is also a central Q & A email address at gmsinfo@georgetown.eduThe Medical Center contact is Deborah Bassard (; ext. 7-8226).  For information about how GMS will affect you, please be on the lookout for upcoming email correspondence from Annie.

Best wishes for a happy holiday!

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Dec 04 2011

Shining the Spotlight on Gastrointestinal Cancers

by at 8:16 pm

Without a doubt, the highlight of the week was the Ruesch Symposium, “Fighting a Smarter War Against Cancer: Linking Policy to the Patient.” This three-day symposium was the brainchild of John Marshall, and many people worked with John to turn his idea into a genuinely transformative experience.

As many of you know, the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers was established in 2009 to focus attention on this deadly set of diseases. This Center includes new mechanisms to support clinical care, clinical research and basic research. More importantly, it extends beyond these critical components to consider policy, ethics and law as they relate to gastrointestinal cancers. As a result, this Center really resides at an intersection of disciplines that captures so much of what is wonderful and unique about Georgetown.

And this symposium really captured the essence of these elements. Each day had a unique focus and location, and attracted an exceptional and extraordinarily diverse group of speakers. The talks were terrific, thought provoking and generated a number of useful ideas and action items for making a serious dent in these diseases. I hope we can continue to explore the intersections of patient care, research, law and policy in these and other cancers. Please join me in congratulating and thanking John for his vision and leadership.

Otherwise, the week was business as usual. We continue to move forward in our discussions to create a bone marrow transplant program at Georgetown, and I remain cautiously optimistic that we are headed in the right direction in those talks.

I was pleased to be able to attend, albeit briefly, the Georgetown Women in Medicine Reception in the Lombardi Cancer Center Atrium on Thursday evening; I had to leave in order to attend a dinner downtown for the Ruesch Symposium participants.

Finally, on Saturday, Harriet and I attended the basketball game between Georgetown and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) at the Verizon Center. The game wasa bit of a laugher, as NJIT was way outclassed. I am glad we all weren’t too obnoxious in the stands; near the end of the game, both teams had their deep reserves on the floor. One of the NJIT players scored on a layup, and a man sitting in front of me stood up, yelled and pumped hisarms furiously in celebration. His son had just scored his first points ofthe game (and I think, in his career).

It was a sweet moment, and I was doubly glad we hadn’t engaged in smug commentary about the opponent because I had just seen one happy set of parents. It was just like being on the sidelines at a youth soccer game, except that the players had to shave.

Have a wonderful week.


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