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Scholar Retreat

September 16–19, 2010

Chaired By

 Norman Sharpless, MD of University of North Carolina

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

The 6th annual Forbeck Scholar retreat took place from September 16th to 19th in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and was an unqualified success. The meeting was attended by scholars honored with the award at the Hilton Head meetings from the years 2006-2009. Meeting participants adhered to the familiar 5-slide-rule, ensuring a lively give and-take between the presenters and the audience.

A variety of cancer-related topics were discussed motivated by the interests of the scholars and mentors. There were lively talks about cancer stem cells, genomic technologies, nanotechnology, microRNAs and novel cancer therapeutics.

The meeting was organized by 2003 scholar, Ned Sharpless. Five outstanding mentors participated in the meeting, describing their cutting-edge cancer work. Drs. Margaret Goodell and Rob Wechsler-Reya discussed the role of stem cells in leukemia and medulloblastoma respectively. Dr. Andy Dillin talked about his work in proteomics and its commercialization. Dr. Joe DeSimone introduced the group to the use of nano-materials for cancer therapy, and Dr. Michael Caligiuri discussed leukemia biology. A particular focus of this year’s meeting was the commercialization of promising intellectual property in an effort to develop new cancer treatments. This topic was requested by prior scholar, and a few of the mentors were able to describe in detail their experiences of taking a new idea into commercial development.

An important feature of the scholar retreat is the mixing of young scientists at various stages of their careers. Therefore, the chance of these young scientists to interact with accomplished research leaders to receive career advice is one of the most important features of the retreat. This year’s trip included a lovely cruise on Lake Geneva and ended with the Blue Jean Ball. Several scholars and mentors remarked that a highlight of this year’s meeting was the chance to meet neuroblastoma survivors at the Blue Jean Ball, helping the scientists put a human face on cancer research.

Forum Participants

Oliver Ayrault, PhD
Institute Curie
 Forbeck Scholar

Oren Becher, MD
Duke University
 Forbeck Scholar

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

Joshua Brody, MD
Mount Sinai Hospital
 Forbeck Scholar

Michael A. Caliguiri, MD
The Ohio State University
 Retreat Mentor

Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD
University of California San Diego
 Forbeck Scholar

Kristina Cole, MD, PhD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
 Forbeck Scholar

Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD
University of North Carolina
 Retreat Mentor

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

Peggy Goodell, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine
 Retreat Mentor

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

Russell Jones, PhD
McGill University
 Forbeck Scholar

Chang-Hyuk Kwon, PhD
The Ohio State University
 Forbeck Scholar

Jun Lu, PhD
Yale School of Medicine
 Forbeck Scholar

Carl Novina, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
 Forbeck Scholar

Stefanie Sarantopoulos, MD, PhD
Duke University
 Forbeck Scholar

Norman E. Sharpless, MD
University of North Carolina
 Retreat Mentor

Andrea Ventura, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
 Forbeck Scholar

Robert Wechsler-Reya, PhD
Duke University
 Retreat Mentor

Andrew Willin, PhD
Salk Institute
 Retreat Mentor

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

Lili Yang, PhD
University of California Los Angeles
 Forbeck Scholar