Jul 07 2013

Independence Day Special

by at 3:37 pm under Uncategorized

I am sitting on our son Ken’s couch, watching the Phillies on a Sunday afternoon while trying to explain the fine points of baseball to our three month old granddaughter. She is far more interested in the status of her diaper (i.e., wet vs. dry) than in anything I have to say. But, I hope that some of my pithy analyses will sink in.

We have had a terrific Independence Day weekend. We hung around DC on Thursday, and went to the Kennedy Center on Thursday night with David and his girlfriend to watch the fireworks and enjoy some great picnic fare.  On Friday we drove up to Philly and spent two nights with my father. All of our kids joined us, and on Friday we had a large family picnic where I got to man the grill. Despite that, the food was good and the company was incomparable.

On Saturday, I played golf with our son Ken (Ella’s dad) and a friend. I shot my best score in three years – 83 – on a tough course, and I actually believe I have never played a better round of golf. If I were smart, I would quit the game now, showing the good sense to go out “on top.” However, I doubt that will happen. We went for some sushi that evening and ran into an old colleague from my days at Fox Chase. Mel Bosma, now retired, is well known for having discovered the SCID mouse, which has become a workhorse animal model for biomedical research. Mel is a great guy who traded in his laboratory for a woodworking shop and he has never seemed happier. It was wonderful to see him.

One event of note during the past week was Joe Murray’s successful defense of his PhD dissertation on Monday. Joe has done a remarkable job and his presentation, defense and paper (currently under review) are testimony to the quality of his work. Joe is now back in medical school, slaving away as a newly minted third year student. Congratulations, Joe, and well done!

I hear a lot about the brain drain as young would-be scientists are driven from the field by hard economic times. However, Joe and his mates in my lab and in the tumor biology program are reminders that all is not lost – there are plenty of bright, highly motivated young people looking to follow in our footsteps. So, I worry, but remain hopeful and inspired by what I see.

Another highlight was my visit to Hackensack University Medical Center to participate in an event honoring Governor Chris Christie. He is a dynamic speaker and a true ‘people-person’ who effortlessly and emphatically connects with his constituents. Governor Christie is also very taken with the Georgetown association – our magical name certainly travels well up I-95! I gave a short speech where I acknowledged my own Jersey roots and celebrated the affiliation of our cancer centers – you can read it by clicking on the link below.  It was truly a lovely event.

Today we are at Ken and Sarah’s house, and will spend the night here, with plans to babysit for Ella on Monday before heading back to DC. And I sure have plenty of work waiting for me! I have a meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors on Tuesday, and have to review some of the intramural program evaluations prior to the meeting. And on Wednesday, we have our first rehearsal for the CCSG site visit in the morning, following a strategic planning session. Both of these activities have required a significant amount of preparation. The Director’s Overview is complete, and I am nearly done with the six Essential Characteristics of Cancer Centers. I still have a few other presentations to finalize. Then, I have a series of grants to review for a study section that meets the following week. So much for the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!

Remember to stay hydrated and use sunscreen. Have a great week.


Speech given by director Louis M. Weiner, MD at Hackensack UMC 7.2.13

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