MD-PhD Program 35th Annual Student/Faculty Retreat: September 15-17, 2017


This year the Eva Neer Memorial Lecture will be delivered by David E. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.  Dr. Fisher is the Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, his Clinical Specialty is Dermatology.




David Fisher, MD, PhD

"Pathways of melanoma development: prevention and therapeutic implications"

Department of Dermatology & MGH Cancer Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA USA

Melanocytes produce pigments that may participate actively in UV protection. Their synthesis arises from constitutive and adaptive pigmentation pathways, both of which are regulated by the action of MITF, a signal-responsive transcriptional inducer of the melanogenesis machinery. The pathway through which UV induces MITF has been elucidated, and sheds light on how red pheomelanin and dark eumelanin synthesis are controlled. Animal models of the redhair phenotype have identified carcinogenic roles for pheomelanin, which in addition to its chemical toxicity is challenging to clinically visualize in the epidermis. The use of topically administered small molecules may permit rescue of eumelanin synthesis, thereby potentially providing a novel prevention strategy. A molecular byproduct of the UV-pigment response is beta-endorphin, which has been found to contribute behavioral effects to UV exposure. UV also triggers formation of signature mutations, some of which produce neoantigens that may be recognized and targeted in melanoma cells. The roles of neoantigens in melanoma immunotherapy will be discussed, as well as novel approaches to overcome neoantigen deficiency in melanoma (and other cancer) therapy.


MD-PhD Program 34th Annual Student/Faculty Retreat

South Yarmouth, Cape Cod

Last year the Eva Neer Memorial Lecture was delivered by Pardis Sabeti , M.D., D.Phil.,  Dr. Sabeti is an Associate Professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health; Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and a Howard Hughes Investigator.



Pardis Sabeti, M.D., D.Phil.

"Evolutionary Forces in Humans and Pathogens"

We are in the midst of a revolution in the fields of genomics and public health. The availability of genome-wide sequence and variation data and the ability to rapidly generate new data have created unprecedented opportunities to study human biology, evolution, and disease. These same tools are also making it possible to carry out studies in the microbial pathogens that affect humans. My lab’s research goals are to use the rapidly emerging resources to:  (1) Develop and apply methods to investigate natural selection in the human genome; (2) Study the genomic variation and evolution of the microbial pathogens that affect humans; and (3) Build new computational tools for studies of genomics and public health. The key infectious microbes of my labs’s current studies are Lassa, Ebola, and Zika virus, and Babesia.


Cape Cod, MA

Annual Retreat

The annual fall retreat, organized by the program students and staff, is the most important collegial activity of the academic year. First held in 1983, this retreat takes place at a local New England conference center. This year it will be held on Cape Cod. All MD-PhD students are included, whether or not they have MSTP funding. HMS sponsors the retreat, with financial assistance from industry donors. Faculty members active on program committees are also invited. Typically, more than half of the students and 25-30 faculty members attend, with most faculty presenting posters. The retreat is highly interactive. The program varies from year to year, but usually includes oral presentations and posters by students about their thesis research, and discussions about postgraduate training and career choices. In addition, a prominent physician-scientist is invited to give a keynote lecture, named for Eva Neer, M.D., a strong faculty supporter of the program who died of breast cancer in 2000.

MD-PhD Retreat 2015

MD-PhD Retreat 2014

MD-PhD Retreat 2013

MD-PhD Retreat 2012

MD-PhD Retreat 2011

MD-PhD Retreat 2010

MD-PhD Retreat 2009

MD-PhD Retreat 2008

Past Faculty Keynote Speakers - The Eva Neer Memorial Lecture

Past Retreats

Click to view past retreat group photos:

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1989 | 1986 | 1983



Updated: November 16, 2017