June 2019

Welcoming Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS

I’m very pleased to announce that Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS, has joined our team. Dr. Wolmark is an internationally renowned clinical researcher and principal investigator in large-scale breast cancer Fasrsity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Wolmark also currently serves as chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Foundation and chair and contact principal investigator of the NCI-funded NRG Oncology. We look forward to working with him to expand our portfolio of clinical trials, reach more patients with breast and gastrointestinal cancers, and collaborate more closely with our colleagues at the NSABP.

ASCO Highlights

The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting wrapped up in Chicago earlier this month, and I’m proud to share that more than a dozen Hillman investigators presented education sessions, oral abstract sessions, and poster sessions at this year’s event. Several faculty members received awards and honors as well, including:

  • Norman Wolmark received the 2019 Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award, which recognizes an active clinical and/or translational researcher with a distinguished record of accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer and with exceptional mentoring abilities.
  • HemOnc Today honored Timothy Burns, MD, Diwakar Davar, MBBS, M.Sc., Yana Najjar, MD, and Dan Zandberg, MD, as Next Gen Innovators. Now in its second year, the Next Gen Innovators program honors a highly select group of early career professionals who have advanced the fields of hematology and oncology through innovative approaches in the clinical and research settings.
  • Sarah Taylor, MD, received a Career Development Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation. The award provides research funding to clinical investigators in their initial faculty appointment to support the development of their independent cancer research programs over three years. Since its inception, the Career Development Award has provided support to 280 investigators throughout the world.

Dr. Stan Marks, Dr. Ed Chu, and I were glad to see more than 50 guests at our reception on June 1 and enjoyed a great evening catching up with friends and colleagues from around the country. We look forward to hosting another successful event next year.

Retreat Preview

Our 31st Annual Scientific Retreat, which is coming up on June 19-20 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, has set several impressive records. We received more than 180 abstract submissions for this year’s event and have more than 420 registrants, our highest anticipated attendance ever.

For the first time in his more than 20 years with the University of Pittsburgh, Arthur S. Levine, MD, will deliver the Ronald Herberman Lectureship Keynote Address this year. As you know, Dr. Levine—an oncologist and cancer researcher—will step down from his position as senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the coming months to pursue Alzheimer’s disease research.

Our retreat would not be possible without the incredibly hard work of several of our colleagues, including Lin Zhang, PhD, our retreat committee chair; Lisa George and Lola Thompson, our retreat coordinators; Daniel Brabander, Gina Toy-Cuttler, Stacy Fitzsimmons, Jeff Germuska, Alyce Katsur, Jamie Lehneke, Lynette Robinson, Laurice Vance, and Thomas Williams, our retreat volunteers; and Christopher Bakkenist, PhD, Michael Becich, MD, PhD, Leisha Emens, MD, PhD, Deborah L. Galson, PhD, Adrian V. Lee, PhD, Linda Robertson, RN, MSN, DrPH, Margaret Rosenzweig, PhD, and Masahiro Shuda, PhD, our session chairs, as well as our many presenters. Please join me in thanking them for all they’ve done to plan the retreat, from managing logistics to developing the agenda. It is a major undertaking that enables us to get together and discuss critical topics affecting our daily work, and I look forward to seeing you all there.


Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD