By Ellie Castano
UMass Medical School Communications
While most won’t arrive on campus until August, many first-year students are already engaged as active members of the UMass Medical School community. Earlier this summer, they were all sent copies of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Emperor of All Maladies: A Biology of Cancer and encouraged to read the book in preparation for a discussion with fellow students from all three schools. They will also have an opportunity to ask questions of author Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, who will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation on Sept. 15.
The Summer Read program, which was launched in 2009, is designed to foster from day one a sense of community among students as well as among other members of the UMMS community. In addition to the opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Mukherjee, students are invited to attend the Dinner and Discussion event on Sept. 14, where Craig Ceol, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine, and Michael Green, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Lambi and Sarah Adams Chair in Genetic Research and professor of molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, will each present brief lectures on their research as it relates to cancer, and Alan Rosmarin, MD, the Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology and professor of medicine, will moderate small-group discussions.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, details the history of cancer from its initial documented appearance thousands of years ago to the current struggle to understand and fight it at the molecular level. In its citation, the Pulitzer Prize board called to the book “an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.” Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher himself, so his perspective is particularly relevant to the UMMS audience. He is currently assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a physician on staff at Columbia University Medical Center.
While the Dinner and Discussion event is intended for students only, Convocation, which takes place the following day, is open to the entire campus. In addition to the presentation of the Chancellor’s Medals, the event will feature a keynote address by Mukherjee, followed by a question-and-answer session. All members of the UMMS community are encouraged to read The Emperor of All Maladies and participate in the Q&A. Copies of the book are available for lending at the Lamar Soutter Library and for purchase a discounted price from the bookstore in the old Medical School lobby.
For additional information about Convocation week events, visit: http://www.umassmed.edu/news/education/2011/convocation-planning-underway.aspx