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Scholar Retreat

September 13–16, 2007

Chaired By

 Jan Karlseder, PhD of The Salk Institute

Meeting 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 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.

Meeting Summary

For the third year the Forbeck Foundation’s Scholar Board organized a superb meeting for the Forbeck Scholar awardees at George Williams College in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Members of the Scholar Board worked tirelessly to ensure that the participants had everything they needed for a successful meeting. The efforts of the Scholar Board were matched by the enthusiasm of both senior scientists and scholars attending the Retreat.

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, candidates have to be selected initially to receive the prestigious Foundation’s Scholar Award at the Forum in Hilton Head. The caliber of the scholars that apply for this recognition 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 a senior scientists presenting on their area of expertise. The remainder of each session is devoted to talks from the scholars and discussion. Scholars are invited to come to four Scholar Retreats, held on an annual basis.

The Scholar Retreat builds 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. Breakthroughs often occur when ideas in one field are applied to another. A further benefit is that the scholars 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 outside of their institution and to gain insights into new ideas to progress their studies.

The Trustees and Scientific Advisory Board have endorsed this activity as extremely worthwhile for the Foundation, both in the short and long term. This type of investment in future leaders in cancer research is something that can only bring benefits in fighting this group of diseases.

Forum Participants

James Amatruda, MD, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Edward Attiyeh, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
 Forbeck Scholar

Nabeel Bardeesy, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
 Forbeck Scholar

Carla F. Bender Kim, PhD
Boston Children's Hospital
 Forbeck Scholar

Benjamin L. Ebert, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
 Forbeck Scholar

Elsa Flores, PhD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD
University of California San Diego
 Forbeck Scholar

William G. Kaelin Jr., MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
 Retreat Mentor

Jan Karlseder, PhD
Salk Institute
 Retreat Mentor

Kimberly Kelly, PhD
University of Virginia
 Forbeck Scholar

John Kemshead, PhD
Baxter Cellular Therapies
 Retreat Mentor

Anthony Letai, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
 Forbeck Scholar

Guillermina Loazano
MD Anderson Cancer Center
 Retreat Mentor

Ingo K. Mellinghoff, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Michael Safran, PhD
Sheba Cancer Research Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Jean Wang, PhD
University of California San Diego
 Retreat Mentor

Benjamin B. Williams, PhD
Dartmouth Medical School
 Forbeck Scholar

Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD
Stanford University
 Forbeck Scholar