Archive for March, 2018


Mar 26 2018

March Madness

by at 11:47 am

(March 25, 2018) — The past week was a bit odd, as it was punctuated for me by a very long day trip to Manhattan for a grant review panel on Monday, and then the Wednesday storm that kept me home. Curiously, the long train rides and a full day without meetings allowed me to get an awful lot of important work done.

Without a doubt the highlights of the week were on Thursday. Following a late opening of the Medical Center following the snowstorm, the Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program hosted a wonderful symposium featuring international experts on the healing power of music. I was sad to have to miss the early parts of it since my schedule required me to be at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center for a meeting in the mid-morning, but what I saw was terrific. Kudos to Julia Langley for exemplifying and extending Lombardi’s commitment to cura personalis! After an afternoon clinic, I met up with Harriet and we went to the Intercontinental Hotel on the Wharf for the annual Hope Connection Gala. As many of you know, John and Liza Marshall have been long-time leading advocates and supporters of this wonderful program, which also exemplifies the concept of cura personalis. The event was lovely and moving, the venue was terrific and the Wharf is a wonderful addition to the DC scene. We’ll be back, for sure.

The rest of the week was devoted to – guess what? – the CCSG. As of today, we have exactly two months before the grant submission deadline. I reviewed and edited three of the four programs over the weekend, with one more to go on Sunday evening. Then, after just a tiny bit of polishing those sections, the rest of the grant will be off to the editors for formatting and to our EAC reviewers for their comments. This is my personal version of March Madness; I did have a chance to half-watch the Villanova – Texas Tech game on TV while I worked on Sunday afternoon and was pleased to see ‘Nova (a fellow Big East member) win to move into the Final Four.

I have pretty much suspended all other activities as we change from running to sprinting to the CCSG submission deadline, though I look forward to my student Dalal Aldeghaither’s PhD defense this coming Tuesday afternoon. She has worked very hard and certainly has a lot of good work to present! I predict she will do well.

And, like her, I hope you have a good week.

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Mar 19 2018

A week of planes, trains and automobiles

by at 9:27 am

(March 18, 2018) — I hope you are looking forward to the Nor’Easter rumored to be on our way on Tuesday night and Wednesday (with apocalyptic – for Washington – snow accumulations of 1-3 inches predicted). I am fortunate to have made it through last week without travel difficulties!

First – the automobiles. I drove up to Bethesda on Tuesday to chair the NCI BSC for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology meeting. My next meeting in July will be my last as a member of that committee; it is hard to believe that five years have passed since I joined the Board. It is a true privilege to help guide the NCI intramural program science, and to have learned a huge amount in the process.

I then drove to Union Station and caught a train to Philadelphia for a meeting of the Fox Chase Cancer Center External Advisory Board. It’s hard to believe I left more than 10 years ago for my current job, but reality has a way of overcoming belief – when I walked through the halls there, a few people recognized me, but the vast majority walked by without a flicker of recognition. Nonetheless, it was wonderful to catch up with some old friends and colleagues, and again to learn about how a peer institution organizes its CCSG-related science. I trained back to DC late on Wednesday afternoon, and met Harriet in town so we could have a bite to eat with my brother who (ironically) had driven down to DC earlier that day for some meetings.

I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of my busy week, filled with lots of meetings, many of them focused on the CCSG renewal application. But the work week ended when Harriet and I flew to Houston to attend the wedding of our daughter-in-law Kelly’s sister. We had a wonderful time and got home on Sunday night.

The coming week promises to be a bit less hectic, though I do have one last grant review meeting to attend in New York on Monday. I am looking forward to being done with travel for a bit.

Have a great week.

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Mar 12 2018


by at 10:24 am

(March 11, 2018) — The past week was unusual in that I was supposed to be very busy on Thursday, with a trip up to Hackensack, NJ for a meeting of the John Theurer Cancer Center (JTCC) Advisory Board, followed by a fundraising event for the JTCC-Lombardi collaboration at the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. I had planned to take a 12:00 p.m. train up to New Jersey, but as I literally was pulling into the Union Station garage, I got a call from JTCC’s Andre Goy, telling me that the Advisory Board meeting had to be canceled due to the blizzard that had hit the New York area the day before. You may recall that Wednesday was basically a weather non-event here in DC, but the Philly –  New England corridor got slammed. So, I backed out of the ticket lane, and drove back, stopping for lunch with Harriet, Ken, Sarah and our new granddaughter Isabelle (who is an exceptionally fine dining companion as long as she sleeps!) before heading home to work on the CCSG, a bunch of grant reviews, two manuscripts and a bunch of other obligations. Having received the unexpected gift of time without scheduled meetings, I made good use of the opportunity.

The work continued through the weekend, but I found time to get some good family time on Saturday and Sunday. The coming week promises to have trips that are not going to be canceled due to weather. I chair the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors meeting on Tuesday, and head straight to Union Station to take a train up to Philadelphia so I can participate in the Fox Chase Cancer Center External Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday evening and Wednesday. One nice thing about train rides is that I’ll have some time to get work done while traveling, and I certainly need the time!

Have a good week.

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Mar 05 2018

Variety is the Spice of Life

by at 10:32 am

(March 4, 2018) — Good evening on a chilly Sunday evening. Harriet and I are watching the Oscars, having managed to squeeze in all but two best picture nominees (Dunkirk and Ladybird) for this year’s awards. There certainly were many good movies to watch this year! Thankfully, the weekend was quiet, as we spent Saturday evening with friends (Rose’s Luxury is an awesome restaurant) and had dinner with Ken, Sarah and their kids this evening. I also got a lot of work done this past week. As I reviewed my past week in preparation for writing this blog, I found a grand total of 3 “free” hours not consumed by meetings, calls or clinic.

Thursday was especially rigorous, starting with a trip to the gym for an hour, followed by a meeting at 8:30 to discuss new initiatives to enhance clinical trials access for all people with cancer. I then interviewed a speaker interested in cytokine biology, followed by an hour-long conference call to discuss a recruitment being led out of the O’Neill Institute. Following that, I walked over to Building D for a GUMC Sector Leaders lunch meeting, and then decamped to clinic where I saw a new patient and some follow-up patients. I returned to the office just a few minutes before 5 pm, and then attended the first half of a seminar given by the person I had interviewed earlier that day. I then grabbed an Uber to Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue for a meeting and reception for the organizing committee of our annual Men’s Event, leaving that get-together at about 7:45 pm to catch a cab over to Rasika West, where I joined Harriet, Dave and Kelly to celebrate Kelly’s birthday. We got home at about 10 pm, and I caught up with emails before falling asleep (or perhaps it was lapsing into a coma). Somehow, during the day I edited two papers coming out of my lab, as well as an upcoming grant submission. It was a very busy but interesting and rewarding day.

Next week promises to be a bit less hectic. Monday will be highlighted by my regular visit to the infusion unit to thank patients for putting their trust in Lombardi. Tuesday will include a GUMC “Partners in Research” lunch and tour of my lab, followed by a lab meeting. Wednesday will include a NCI Clinical Trials Advisory Committee (CTAC) webinar based meeting, followed that evening by a recruitment dinner for the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute Gynecologic Oncology program. On Thursday I will travel up to Hackensack to participate as a member of the John Theurer Cancer Center Oversight Committee, and then hustle over to Madison Square Garden for the second round of the Big East basketball tournament, where I will be joining GUMC and Hackensack colleagues for a fundraising event. I will catch the last train out of Penn Station back to DC that night.

Oh, did I mention the CCSG? Needless to say that has been and continues to be a top priority as we head into the homestretch in advance of the application deadline.

Have a good week.

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