Jul 16 2009

Army generals and handprints

by at 12:45 pm

After a week of vacation and our Town Hall Meeting, I’m back to the blog.

As you know, we launched the new Lombardi website on July 1st. You can read about the changes we’ve made on the new Lombardi Magazine website. There are a number of improvements to the new site, but I want you to know that there is still more to come. The next projects under development by Mark Goetz and Allison Whitney are the capability to provide individual faculty with laboratory pages that they can update and an internal website to help Lombardi faculty and staff access the various resources at their disposal. We’d love to hear your comments on the site. Feel free to leave a note here, or email Mark or Allison.

Over the past two weeks we’ve also been in increasingly regular communication with NCI regarding the upcoming site visit. Things are on track as we proceed with our rehearsals for the presentations and the associated preparations. If you happen to run into Ellen McLaughlin or any members of her team please thank them for all that they’re doing in their work for the Cancer Center.

I was excited to meet with a representative from Springer, the publisher, on July 6th about an Encyclopedia of Cancer Therapeutic Targets. John Marshall will be the chief editor of the volume, and other editors include me, Anton Wellstein, our old friend Ed Gelmann, and Howard Kaufman at Mount Sinai Medical School. We’re going to be creating a novel and easy to use compendium of cancer-related molecular targets that can be used for quick reference, but with links to deeper annotation. This is an exciting project and I look forward to being involved in it.

On July 8th, a delegation of Lombardi faculty traveled to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to meet with John Potter and his colleagues to discuss possible collaborations. We identified a number of areas of potential interest and we will be following up on many of these. In case anybody is ever dismayed by what they perceive to be excessive bureaucracy at Georgetown, we arrived at Walter Reed in 2 vehicles and after going through security (where my poor car was strip-searched) we proceeded to the parking spots which had been assigned to us. When we got there, we found that each of them was occupied by cars that were traveling with a general. Apparently generals get priority treatment in the army. So we circled Walter Reed for a half hour and I ended up doing the next logical thing – I parked in a Colonel’s spot. Despite the late start, the Lombardi delegation was intrigued by the remarkable clinical and laboratory resources available through collaboration with Walter Reed. But the next time I go, I’m either getting a taxi or hitching a ride with a general.

Best of all, yesterday morning I had the great pleasure of receiving a $40,000 check along with Aziza Shad and David Nelson from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels event. This is a terrific partnership between all of the Hyundai dealers in the country. At the event, children from the pediatric heme/onc clinic dipped their hands in paint and put their handprints on a new Santa Fe Hyundai, and the handprinted car tours the thirty different pediatric cancer centers that receive funds from Hope on Wheels. The check to Lombardi will go to fund the pediatric survivorship program run by Aziza.

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Mar 20 2009

Mentoring our junior faculty

by at 11:05 am

We had Program Leader and Associate Director meetings in the past week. After obsessing for the requisite period of time about the core grant submission, we discussed ways to improve program-based mentoring for junior investigators. The goal of these discussions was to find ways to provide support to junior faculty and ensure all of their research ideas are given the advantage of review with a view to identifying more avenues for collaboration and refinement of research strategies.

While we are still working out the details of how this will be implemented, each set of Program Leaders has been encouraged to incorporate research proposal reviews into their regular program meeting structures. Of course, more senior investigators who are looking either for validation or a reality check will be encouraged to take advantage of this new interactive resource as well. Stay tuned for more on these efforts.

One of the highlights of last week was a visit I paid to the Walter Reed Hospital where I met with Colonel Craig Shriver, Director of the Clinical Breast Care Project. He has organized a remarkably comprehensive breast cancer tumor enterprise. There are many opportunities for potential collaborations and Col. Shriver will be leading a delegation that will visit Lombardi in May. I also had a chance to visit John Potter while at Walter Reed. His office is in the original main building, which has enough photographs and paintings to qualify as a major museum in many cities. It’s quite striking.

On Sunday, Harriet hosted many members of the Lombardi/CBCC Avon Walk team at our house. After they met and strategized about ways to raise more money for the team, I had the wonderful opportunity to clean up while the team went out for a soggy and chilly walk. I think I got the better end of the deal.

Monday morning I visited the CBCC and met with Beth Beck and her crew to learn more about the work they do and their future plans. It is a really wonderful facility and provides such an important service to underserved women in the District and in our region. I was excited to learn that a van will shortly be in operation to pick up patients from the community to be transported to the Center for both mammography and patient education. I’m proud that Lombardi has been the driving force behind this wonderful enterprise.

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