Louisiana Cancer Researchers Attend Scientific Retreat  

With more than 200 of the state’s cancer researchers attending in person and online, the 2024 Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC) Annual Scientific Retreat reflected the Center’s expanded reach and research roster.  

“It was exciting to bring together cancer-focused researchers from throughout Louisiana for the first time for a scientific retreat focused on the needs of the people of the state to identify ways to prevent, diagnose, treat, and survive cancer,” said Joe W. Ramos, PhD, Director/CEO of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center and Director, LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center.

A record number of attendees listened as scientists from LCRC partner institutions LSU Health New Orleans and LSU Baton Rouge, Tulane University School of Medicine, Ochsner Health and Xavier University of Louisiana presented work selected by LCRC new program co-leads in the fields of Genes x Environment, Tumor Biology, Therapeutics and Diagnostics, Population Sciences & Health Disparities.   The programs form the core that will guide future development of the LCRC’s shared resources, developmental funds, clinical and behavioral translation, seminars & symposia.

The retreat followed a new format that allowed for a total of 18 presentations plus a keynote speaker.  It began with ten presentations, each five minutes long that related to a poster.  “The program leads selected presentations from submitted abstracts,” Ramos said. “They were brief and to the point.  Instead of having a question-and-answer session for each topic, the presenter was available during the poster session to take questions one-on-one,” explained Ramos. “That way, we were able to have 18 presentations making for a highly informative program.”

Keynote Speaker Dr. Carol Bult, The Jackson Laboratory

Every seat was taken for the lunchtime keynote speech presented virtually by Dr. Carol Bult, Professor, Knowlton Family Endowed Chair, Associate Director, Cancer Center DEI Core, The Jackson Laboratory, who presented “From data to knowledge: why it matters to be FAIR."  The primary theme of Dr. Bult's research program is “bridging the digital biology divide,” reflecting the critical role that informatics and computational biology play in modern biomedical research.

Earlier that day, Xavier University of Louisiana Reynold Verret reminded researchers that their work  impacts Louisiana and beyond. “Your imagination is not just for the city of New Orleans, not just for the state of Louisiana, for the country. It addresses all the unknowns, all the things that we have yet to learn, to serve and to heal,” he said.  

That rang true as a thread that connected all the presentations throughout the day. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive as researchers swapped ideas, creating opportunities for more collaborations to advance cancer discoveries and strategies that will have a positive effect here at home and around the world.

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