Scholar Retreat

Mentors

Julie-Aurore
Losman
,
MD, PhD
Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Forum Description

The Scholar Retreat held annually invites scholars and mentors to attend a 3-day meeting. This meeting focuses on bringing junior scientists together from various areas of cancer research. The collaborations and innovative ideas that come from this meeting have been numerous and outstanding. The mentors provide great guidance regarding science and career for these junior scientists.

At the Retreat, the Scholars share their research with the other Scholars and Mentors. Each Scholar will participate in four sequential retreats, with all expenses paid by WGFRF. The opportunity for Scholars to connect and form relationships with researchers from completely different areas of cancer research and to have a sort of peer review is one of the most valuable roles of the Retreat. Through Mentors, the Retreat offers Scholar's guidance on practical career issues such as writing grants and preparing successful scientific publications.

Each year, the Scholar Retreat coincides with the Foundation’s annual ‘Blue Jean Ball’ fundraiser. All Scholars attend this event, providing them an opportunity to meet with families whose lives have been directly affected by cancer. This experience resonates particularly with scientists who, unlike clinicians, do not have contact with patients, by putting a human face on cancer.

Forum Summary

This meeting was a Scholars’ Retreat that was attended by scholars from four previous forums as well as five mentors who run the gamut from recently-appointed assistant professors to well-established full professors. Each of the attendees presented their work-in-progress, which was discussed in detail by the entire group. The research topics that were covered included cancer invasion and metastasis; cancer immunotherapy; chromosomal instability and aneuploidy; and targeting MYC and RAS.

All four of the topics covered at this meeting are areas of intense on-going research at the basic science, translational and clinical levels. The Forbeck Scholars who attended this meeting are among the best and brightest young investigators in their respective fields and they are certain to make important scientific contributions in the coming years. The opportunity for them to discuss their work and career development in the intimate setting of the Forbeck Scholars Retreat is an invaluable experience that will help to propel their independent research careers. As a former scholar, I can personally attest to the benefit of this meeting when one is setting up their own lab, hiring people and applying for major grants for the first time.

The scholars who attended this meeting hail from a diverse set of academic institutions in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chapel Hill, Dallas, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon. As such, this meeting was the first time that many of them had met one another. At the meeting, thanks to its format that emphasizes intense discussion, they had the opportunity to start establishing personal connections that are sure to lead to future collaborations.

One of the most lively discussions during the meeting was about the future of cancer immunotherapy. There is concern in the field that immunotherapy has ‘peaked’ and that there is not much room for the field to advance in cancer types that are not responsive to current immunotherapy drugs. This concern was independently broached by several attendees, which led to an in-depth discussion that was both provocative and highly informative. Although immunotherapy is not my field, I suspect that the attendees who do work in immunotherapy left the meeting with renewed enthusiasm and less skepticism about the therapeutic potential of immunotherapy than when they arrived.

The clinical and translational importance of the topics discussed at this meeting cannot be overstated. Cancer invasion and metastasis is the step at which many tumors go from curable by surgical resection to incurable even with intensive therapy. As such, understanding how invasion and metastasis happen is absolutely essential to targeting this step in cancer progression and improving patient outcomes. Cancer immunotherapy has achieved extraordinary clinical responses in a subset of patients with incredibly aggressive tumor types with very high mortality, including melanoma and lung cancer. However, most patients either do not respond or have only brief responses before relapsing. Understanding why some tumor types respond and others don’t, and why some patients respond and others don’t, will lead to improved immunotherapy strategies that are efficacious in a greater number of patients. Chromosomal instability and aneuploidy is a poorly understood phenomenon wherein certain cancers ‘reshuffled’ their DNA into abnormal and potentially unstable conformations. This has the potential to induce novel vulnerabilities that may represent new cancer cell-specific therapeutic targets. Finally, MYC and RAS are two of the most common genes that are mutated in cancer and that drive tumorigenesis. Researchers have been trying for decades to target these oncoproteins, with minimal success. However, recent molecular biology advances have inspired investigators to revisit this question which, if successful, would represent a revolution in treating a wide range of different cancers.

Venue & Travel Information

Geneva National Resort

1221 Geneva National Avenue, South

Lake Geneva, WI 53147

262-245-7000

Travel Forms

Travel forms are due 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to allow enough time to plan transportation.

Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is the preferred airport as it is only 45 minutes from the meeting location.

  • Arrivals - Thursday around 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM
  • Departures - Sunday around 10 AM and 12 PM

Chicago's O'Hare Airport (ORD) is 1 1/2 hours from the meeting location without traffic. The Foundation tries to prioritize International Flights and situations where flying into ORD is significantly cheaper than connecting to MKE. The times below are for guidance only, and depending on the volume of travelers, we may add an additional shuttle to and from the airport.

  • Arrivals - Thursday around 3 PM
  • Departures - Sunday around 10 AM
TRAVEL FORMS DUE:
September 11, 2018
submit travel form

Travel Policy

Please familiarize yourself with our policies and procedures for travel. We truly appreciate you taking the time to participate in this meeting. As you make your plans, please remember that we are a nonprofit organization dependent on donations and volunteers. We do NOT pay for upgrades, change fees, incurred costs resulting from a flight change, transportation to or from your local (home side) airport, meals or other incidentals.

  • Travel Confirmation will be sent out within 1 week of the meeting. This will include a hotel confirmation number, if there is one, and airport transfer details. We have to wait until we receive almost everyone’s travel to book airport transfer. Due to frequent airline changes, we wait until the week of the meeting to send this out.
  • Airport transfer is provided by Foundation staff, volunteers or arranged shuttle at specific times. If you opt to utilize Foundation airport transportation on your travel form, please be patient in receiving this information. We will send it to the week of the meeting.
  • Speaker agenda is not sent out prior to the meeting. It will be provided upon arrival in the meeting packet. We do not tell people when they are speaking because we expect everyone to attend all sessions. Sessions are all day Friday and Saturday.
  • REMINDER: We do not reimburse for home side airport transfer or incidentals while traveling. We will not honor miscellaneous receipts sent for these expenses.
  • Spouses are welcome to come with you at their own cost but are not allowed to attend the meeting. Please no children.

What the Foundation Pays

Accommodations and meals are provided by the foundation during the meeting. Airfare will be covered only if booked through our travel agent. The Foundation will also cover airport transportation on the meeting side at the designated shuttle times. You can select not to utilize Foundation arranged transportation at your own expense when completing the travel form. Once your travel form is received your accommodations and airport transfer will be confirmed. Please let us know of any food allergies or other information we should be aware of on the travel forms.

  • If you would like your airfare covered by the Foundation, you must book with our travel agent. Note we do not cover upgrades, changes, late bookings, etc.
  • Flights must be booked at least 30 days prior to the meeting to confirm your accommodations and airport transfer.
  • As a nonprofit we utilize volunteers and other methods to maximize our efforts (or our donor support) when making accommodations and arranging ground transportation. Ground transportation will be provided upon your arrival either by a foundation volunteer or arranged shuttle. You will be provided airport transportation information the week of the meeting. We do not reimburse for home side airport transfer or incidentals while traveling.

Abstracts

Abstracts are due 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to allow enough time to prepare the meeting book.

The abstracts should be only one or two paragraphs outlining the theme of your presentation and should reflect the objective and spirit of the meeting (see above). Abstracts will be circulated about one week before the meeting. The meeting organizer will start requesting them a month before the meeting.

abstracts DUE:
September 11, 2018
submit abstract

Meeting Structure

The meeting structure has been developed over years of experience.

  • Participants have approximately 45 minutes, depending on the number of participants, for their presentation and discussion. The presentation is meant as a conversation start and should last about twenty minutes briefly covering background information and areas that are new or need further input. This should be structured in such a way as to lead to a lively discussion. Participants are encouraged to interrupt to ask questions or start discussions.
  • A MAXIMUM of 5 slide equivalents per presentation is allowed (Power point slides should not contain more than one graph or gel per slide and no more than 5 bullet points to stress the points being made by the presenter.) We appreciate cooperation with the spirit of this guideline. Handouts are welcome but should be distributed before sessions.
  • Everyone is expected to actively participate in every session and discussions.
  • The time spent at the meeting is relatively short, so please be familiar with papers received prior to the meeting.
  • It is very important that you commit to all sessions of the 2 days of meetings.

Forbeck Scholars Participation

Scholars are selected for each Forbeck Forum. These are outstanding junior clinical or post-doctoral fellows selected based on the quality and relevance of science.

  • Scholars present for 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of participants
  • The same presentation rules apply for scholars
  • After the Forum you are selected to attend, you will attend three years of Scholar Retreats held in Lake Geneva, WI. If you attend a Fall Forum, you will attend the Spring Retreat. If you attend a Spring Forum you will attend a Fall Retreat.
  • Scholars are selected by the Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and peer reviewers selected from past Forbeck Scholars.

General Program

The outline below illustrates a typical program schedule. You will receive a complete schedule, including speaking times, the Thursday the meeting starts.

Thursday
1:00 PM Arrivals
6:00 PM Cocktails (opt'l)
7:00 PM Dinner
Friday
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Scientific Sessions
12:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Scientific Sessions
6:00 PM Cocktails & Dinner
Saturday
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Scientific Sessions
12:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Scientific Sessions
6:00 PM Cocktails & Dinner
Sunday
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM Departures

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you have something new to ask, please feel free to contact us.

  • Travel Confirmation will be sent out within 1 week of the meeting. This will include a hotel confirmation number, if there is one, and airport transfer details. We have to wait until we receive almost everyone’s travel to book airport transfer. Due to frequent airline changes, we wait until the week of the meeting to send this out.
  • Airport transfer is provided by Foundation staff, volunteers or arranged shuttle at specific times. If you opt to utilize Foundation airport transportation on your travel form, please be patient in receiving this information. We will send it to the week of the meeting.
  • Speaker agenda is not sent out prior to the meeting. It will be provided upon arrival in the meeting packet. We do not tell people when they are speaking because we expect everyone to attend all sessions. Sessions are all day Friday and Saturday.
  • Frequently airport transfer is provided by volunteers. Please be patient on receiving this information. Airport transfer will be sent out prior to arrival.
  • REMINDER: We do not reimburse for home side airport transfer or incidentals while traveling. We will not honor miscellaneous receipts sent for these expenses.

Forum Participants

Clark C.
Chen
,
MD, PhD
University of Minnesota
Daniel
Foltz
,
PhD
Northwestern University
Doug
Green
,
PhD
St Jude's Research Hospital
John T.
Kemshead
,
MD
BioMagnetic Solutions
Kay
MacLeod
,
PhD
University of Chicago
Michael C.
Mayo
,
Shire Pharmaceuticals
Erica Lyn
Stone
,
PhD
Wistar Institute
Jean
Wang
,
PhD
University of California San Diego

Forum Scholars

Esra Akbay, PhD
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Uri Ben-David, PhD
Broad Institute
Donita Brady, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
W. Clay Gustafson, MD, PhD
University of California San Francisco
Lilian Kabeche, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Annette Kunkele, MD
University Hospital Berlin
Mia Levine, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Shannon Maude, MD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Chad Pecot, MD
University of North Carolina
Stefano Santaguida, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jason Sheltzer, PhD
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Mara Sherman, PhD
Oregon Health & Sciences University
Mario Shields, PhD
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Neil Umbreit, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Louise van der Weyden, PhD
Sanger Institute