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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Mar 05 2009

I spoke too soon

by at 9:25 pm

So it was 13 degrees outside when I left for work yesterday morning. It’s so much fun to live in “semi-tropical” Washington.

Despite the climate, I did have a scientifically interesting week. As I mentioned in my last post, Khaled El-Shami, Carolyn Hurley, and I met last Thursday with investigators from the NCI bone marrow transplant (BMT) program to discuss a really exciting protocol involving the infusion of allogeneic natural killer cells in patients with refractory myeloid malignancies. Key to the protocol will be the prospective haplotyping of natural killer cells by Carolyn; this will help select patients with appropriate mismatches that can drive natural killer cell recognition and attack against myeloid leukemia cells. The protocol is undergoing refinement as a result of our discussions and I’m hopeful to get it started in the very near future.

On Tuesday afternoon I had the pleasure of participating in the annual Spring Convocation in Gaston Hall, and was proud to have the opportunity to congratulate Bob Clarke and Mary Beth Martin for receiving vicentennial medals for 20 years of service to Georgetown. Joseph Neale, professor of biology, gave a thoroughly entertaining review of his life at Georgetown. Following the Convocation, the 1789 Society dinner was held in Riggs Library, celebrating the University’s most generous supporters. It’s reassuring to know that even during these difficult economic times that our core philanthropic support remains strong.

Last night, Harriet and I attended the Friends of Cancer Research annual awards banquet at the Hotel Monaco. It was great to see Ryan Hohman, who now works for Friends of Cancer Research, and we spent the evening with Peter Shields and his wife Leslie. Ellen Sigel, who heads Friends of Cancer Research, is a genuine force in the cancer advocacy world and has focused effectively on legislative remedies including advocacy of the Kennedy-Hutchison bill. Our location in DC and our identity as part of Georgetown University give us many opportunities to be a part of the action and to hopefully play a role in defining our nation’s agenda with respect to cancer research.

Finally, if anyone missed the Town Hall meeting yesterday, I have posted the slides online. I also recommend that everyone peruse the slides from Howard Federoff’s meeting about the stimulus bill.

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