Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Bringing great minds together

A cancer center is, in many ways, defined by its researchers. Their education, their ideas, their expertise, their drive to discover and understand the science of the disease in order to find ways to combat it. But more and more, it is not enough just to have a team of great minds, but imperative to have a team of the right great minds. Minds with complementary interests, areas of expertise and knowledge. Minds that when combined produce even more innovation, more ingenuity, more results.

“The key to successful research is collaboration,” says Gordon Ginder, MD. “When we recruit new researchers, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. We are looking at how an individual can fit into the whole of our program—we want to maximize expertise and opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Considering this jigsaw puzzle, recruiting new, high-caliber researchers can be a long and arduous process…but one with exciting reward. In fiscal year 2013, Massey successfully added 11 new key researchers to its ranks, making enormous strides in goals laid out in its strategic plan.

One such recruit is Charles Geyer, MD, who joined Massey in June as associate director for clinical research and the Harrigan, Haw, Luck Families Chair in Cancer Research. Geyer brings not only valuable experience as an international leader in breast cancer clinical research, but crucial perspective about the role philanthropy must play in Massey’s realization of its goal to achieve NCI’s coveted “Comprehensive” designation.

“Success in obtaining grant funding is essential, but it is insufficient for the development of a top-tier cancer program,” says Geyer. “The generosity of donors provides critical leverage and flexibility in advancing key programs and research projects. The fact that Massey’s institutional commitment to success was matched by incredibly invested philanthropic partners was a major draw.”

Generous support from donors make an enormous difference in Massey’s ability to attract the highest caliber of scientists and physicians. Thanks to the Harrigan, Haw and Luck families, Massey’s patients and clinical research program will benefit from the expertise of Charles Geyer, MD, who joined Massey in June.