Blogging will be light the next few days, and I certainly won't have time to respond to comments before late tonight. I'm in Philadelphia (along with a couple thousand other investigators) attending the Era of Hope Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Meeting
. Unfortunately, I'm not giving a talk
, just presenting a poster
. Many of you probably don't realize that the Army actually funds
a fair amount of cancer research and research into other diseases. The amount of funding isn't what it used to be during the flush years when Congress mandated that the Army fund this research, given the war and all. However, it used to be a nice, relatively easily obtainable source of funding for young investigators just getting started. I wouldn't be where I am now, nor would I have succeeded in competing for and winning my NIH grant were it not for the start I got in funding through an Army breast cancer grant. In a way, it's rather sad to see how difficult it's become to get these grants the last couple of years, but, given that the primary purpose of the Army is to fight wars and we are presently at war, it's perfectly understandable that this funding source isn't what it used to be. It wouldn't be so bad, except that, thanks to our massive budget deficit, all discretionary programs are getting squeezed, including the NIH. Funding for biomedical research through the NIH and for scientific research through the National Science Foundation are going to be really tight the next couple of years, at least. I have to hope fervently that the situation improves within four years, because that's when I will have to try to renew my NIH grant.
In any case, as you may recall from my previous trips to meetings, it could go one of two ways with the blog. If I end up sitting in my hotel room a lot at night bored, there's little better to pass the time than blogging. If, on the other hand, I find some colleagues and/or friends to hang out with, then blogging may be very light or nonexistent. (There's only one way to find out which wins out, of course. Check back here. Often. And don't forget that I always
have odds and ends lying around already written that can be posted in a pinch.) There's also the time factor to consider. This is the Army
, after all. First sessions start at 7 AM and the final sessions don't finish until 8:30-9:00 PM every night. It would take an act of superhuman will to go to every session for 13-14 hours a day, but I probably will make it to 10 hours worth. But there are some really interesting-looking sessions that I will definitely check out. Maybe they'll even give me some ideas for topics to write about next week. I've been meaning to write about breast cancer therapies for a long time now. Time to get cracking...