Ed Harlow, PhD of Harvard Medical School
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 the Mentors, the Retreat offers Scholars 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.
For the second year running the Forbeck Foundation’s Junior Board organized a superb meeting for the Forbeck Scholar awardees. The venue for the meeting was, once again, George Williams College, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Jamie Forbeck and members of the Junior Board worked tirelessly to ensure that the participants had everything they needed for a successful meeting. The efforts of the Junior Board were matched by the enthusiasm of both the senior scientists and the scholars attending the Forum.
The concept behind these meetings is to provide a basis for scientific collaboration and the exchange of ideas to further the field of cancer research. To attend the scholars meeting the candidates have to be selected initially to attend the prestigious Foundation’s meeting in Hilton Head. The caliber of the scholars that apply to attend this meeting is beyond reproach and each year it becomes more difficult for the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board to select four scholars out of the applicants.
The two-day meeting is split into four sessions, each mentored by one of the senior scientists presenting on their area of expertise. The remainder of each session is devoted to talks from the scholars. Each scholar attending the main Forbeck meeting has the opportunity to come to four of the scholar meetings, which are held on an annual basis.
In organizing the scholar meeting in Lake Geneva, the Foundation is building a base for the best up and coming scientists to get to know each other and form relationships and collaborations that likely would never occur without their attending the forum. As in many areas of science, cancer research has become highly specialized and researchers tend to remain focused in their particular areas of interest. Whilst this is natural, if one looks at progress in science, this often occurs through the application of ideas in one field that are applied to another. A further benefit for the attendees is that, throughout their tenure the scholars get to interact with today’s senior scientists who have built considerable reputations in the field of cancer research. This is again a wonderful opportunity for the scholars to discuss their work in a form outside of their institution and to gain insights into new ideas to progress their studies.
The enthusiasm of the scholars to attend the meeting, present their work and interact with each other is simply wonderful to see. The scholars have requested that the Trustees of the Foundation extend their tenure for attending the program from three years to four and through the support of the Scientific Advisory Board this will take effect from 2007 onwards.
I cannot think of any activity that is more worthwhile for the Foundation, both in the short and long term. This type of investment in the scholars who will become leaders in the field of cancer research in the future is something that can only bring benefits in fighting a group of diseases that we all want to see eliminated.
As we move from 2006 into 2007, on behalf of the scholars, I would like to thank our Retreat chairperson Ed Harlow and the other 2006 mentors who willingly gave their time to attend the Forum and look forward to this year's meeting that will be chaired by Jean Wang from the Dept of Medicine, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, La Jolla, California.
James Amatruda, MD, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Edward Attiyeh, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Christopher Bakkenist, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Nabeel Bardeesy, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Alison Bertuch, MD, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine
Gerard Evan, PhD
University of California San Francisco
Elsa Flores, PhD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Ed Harlow, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Jan Karlseder, PhD
Kimberly Kelly, PhD
University of Virginia
John Kemshead, PhD
Baxter Cellular Therapies
Anthony Letai, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Ingo K. Mellinghoff, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Masashi Narita, MD, PhD
UK Cambridge Institute
Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Michael Safran, PhD
Sheba Cancer Research Center
Norman Sharpless, MD
University of North Carolina
Jean Wang, PhD
University of California San Diego
Benjamin B. Williams, PhD
Dartmouth Medical School