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Dog Days and Summer Rain: A Message From the Vice Chancellor for Research

photosource: Playing in the Rain. Digital Image. 25 July 2018 <https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/508906826625723141/>

Did you know that the phrase “Dog Days of Summer” has nothing to do with dogs? The phrase actually comes from the ancient Greeks and Romans who were making reference to the Dog Star, Sirius, that rose just prior to the sun in July. This was thought to be the hottest days of summer and a time of lethargy. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “the dog days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.” We are in the dog days now, but worry not.

As we all know, the summer rain gives some immediate relief to these dog days. Also, as long as it is in the right amount, helps provide a good harvest for farmers in the autumn. As the young man in the picture above, I have always found the dog days of summer, tempered by summer rain, a time of great energy. This summer 2018, we are negotiating the completion and execution of dozens of CTN2 related agreements that will by autumn lead to us engaging our first clinical trials. Drs. Karen Johnson and Michelle Martin are working hard, with the help of the Office of Research, to complete our Delta CTSA application which will be submitted in early September. We have the Memphis Institute of Regenerative Medicine, led by Dr. James Kang and currently with over 50 members, initiating four collaborative working groups that will lead to an MRC proposal to the State of Tennessee in the fall. We welcome Dr. Kenneth Ataga who is initiating the Memphis Consortium for Sickle Cell Disease and Classical Hematology Research, a landmark event in this city’s research impacting the Memphis community, the State of Tennessee, and patients worldwide. All of these programs as well as many more that you will read about in the pages of The Rainmaker are going to lead to a wonderful autumn harvest.

We are definitely in the dog days of summer in Tennessee. Rather than a time of lethargy, I find the dog days a time of great inspiration and visionary thinking, or a period of summer rain. I enjoy coming to work and working long hours, even during the dog days, because of the great people that I get to interact with each day and the intrinsic feeling of creating something of value for the UTHSC community. I believe that this defines me as an engaged worker (Nancy Rothbard, Harvard Business Review IdeaCast, April 11, 2018); as my long hours at work are not based on an addiction or compulsion to work long hours. Instead, as Milton Hershey said, “The Man Who Plays the Game for the Love of It, and Plays Fair, Usually Enjoys It and Wins.”

-Steven R. Goodman, PhD Vice Chancellor for Research