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A Teamwork Approach


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Photo by Peter Barta/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In the last version of The Research Rainmaker, Dr. Goodman described several qualities that leaders should possess: honesty, transparency, trust, change catalyst and manager, etc. Notably, he spoke to the idea of leaders having the ability to articulate a clear and sensible vision and chart a path towards shared goals. “We have a shared vision for UTHSC Research stated in the Operation- al Strategic Plan for Research that is being implemented successfully with the help of faculty-driven Implementation Teams, led by the VCR’s Research Cabinet,” Dr. Goodman said.

It is not every day that our campus has the honor of hosting such a prestigious scientist and scholar. We wanted to illustrate for Dr. Ciechanover just why and how UTHSC is the leading State institution for research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases. To plan a visit such as this took more than just a few people in the Office of Research. We called upon leaders from across UTHSC’s campus, the University of Memphis, St. Jude and the Memphis community at large. From security to fundraising and sightseeing, our team worked diligently for almost one year to ensure every detail was thoughtfully planned.

Drs. Steve Goodman, Aaron Ciechanover and Lee Schwartzberg

During Dr. Ciechanover’s visit, he met with university leadership, faculty, staff and students from UTHSC, the University of Memphis and St. Jude. Over 30 faculty researchers, students and post- docs braved the winter weather during Dr. Ciechanover’s visit to meet with the Nobel Laureate. He also spent several hours on St. Jude’s campus touring the hospital, meeting representatives from their administration and learning from faculty and students about the work they do in the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is thanks to the help from key players at St. Jude that this part of Dr. Ciechanover’s visit took place.

Incorporated into Dr. Ciechanover’s schedule was a time for him to share his knowledge and expertise through intimate interactions with the local Memphis community. Entitled, “An Intimate Evening with Dr. Aaron Ciechanover” and mirroring Israel’s 70 years of existence, the Nobel Laureate hosted a community conversation and open dialogue discussing his life experiences and coming of age alongside the state of Israel while also sharing the challenges and opportunities for growth in the Holy Land. The town hall took place on January 15, 2018 in the Social Hall of the Memphis Jewish Community Center and had over 40 people in attendance. It took a subcommittee of eight people from UTHSC and across the Memphis community to market and execute this community conversation.

“It was such an honor to be able to listen and learn from Dr. Ciechanover,” said Elyan Shor, a PhD student at the University of Memphis. “Hearing personal recounts of his life experiences as a young, Israeli researcher and Jew was fascinating. He was entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this wonderful event.”

Dr. Ciechanover and Dr. Randy Buddington

Using the words of Dr. Ciechanover himself, “no words to thank you for a truly royal, but mostly heart-warming, friendly hospitality. It was just perfect, and the snow made it even better. I enjoyed every moment, and being a vet of hundreds of visits, this one was truly an exception. Please thank on my behalf to all your wonderful people who worked so hard – including our two security guys – to make it such a successful one.”