2010 Scholar Retreat – Summary

Senior Investigators
Norman Sharpless, MD, UNC School of Medicine
Michael Caliguiri, MD, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Robert Wechsler Reya, Ph.D., University of California San Diego
Peggy Goodell, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
Joe Desimone, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
Andrew Dillin, Ph.D., The Salk Institute

2006 Forbeck Scholars
Carla F. Bender Kim, Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Boston
Benjamin L. Ebert, MD, Ph.D., Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
Catriona Jamieson, MD, Ph.D., Moores UCSD Cancer Center
Joseph C. Wu, MD, Ph.D., Stanford School of Medicine

2007 Forbeck Scholars
Kristina Cole, MD, Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Jun Lu, Ph.D., Yale University
Carl Novina, MD, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Andrea Ventura, MD, Ph.D., Sloan Kettering Institute

2008 Forbeck Scholars
Joshua Brody, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Lili Yang, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
Russell Jones, Ph.D., McGille Cancer Center
Stefanie Sarantopoulous, MD, Ph.D., Duke University

2009 Forbeck Scholars
Clark C. Chen, Ph.D., University of California San Diego
Oliver Ayrault, Ph.D., Institute Curie
Chang-Hyuk Kwon, Ph.D., Ohio State University
Oren Becher, MD, Duke University

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 requrested 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.