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Learning About Sarcoma

Orthopaedic surgery oncology fellow Kurt Weiss is working with Jay Wunder, Peter Ferguson and Ben Deheshi. Kurt will take responsibility for clinical and basic science research in bone sarcomas when he returns to the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his orthopaedic residency training. Kurt's interest and commitment to orthopaedic surgical oncology came from very personal experience; he developed an osteogenic sarcoma when he was a high school student in his home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kurt studied the molecular biology of orthopaedic malignancies for one year as a pre-medical student at Notre Dame University, one year as a graduate student at the National Institutes of Health, and a third year in the laboratory during his surgical residency working with orthopaedic oncologists Mark Goodman and Richard McGough. These colleagues and his long-time mentor Richard Lackman at the University of Pennsylvania encouraged him to come to the University of Toronto - "the best place in North America to study orthopaedic surgical oncology". His mentors here are Bob Bell, the founder of the program, Jay Wunder, the dynamic Surgeon-in-Chief of Mt. Sinai Hospital whose laboratory is focused on the molecular biology and signaling pathways in musculoskeletal tumours, and Peter Ferguson, a gifted clinical surgeon conducting clinical and laboratory research on soft-tissue sarcomas. A recent recruit to the group is Ben Deheshi who completed an orthopaedic surgical oncology fellowship in Toronto three years ago following orthopaedic residency in Ottawa. The research engine of this spectacular group is coordinated by Anthony Griffin who manages the 30-year prospective data bank started by Bob Bell in 1989.



Kurt Weiss and family
Kurt Weiss and family

Kurt grew up in Perrysville, outside Pittsburgh, the youngest of three children. His father is a metallurgical engineer, his mother an elementary school teacher. His sister is a chemical engineer and his brother a dentist. His wife Laura graduated from Notre Dame two years after Kurt. They met when Kurt was in medical school in Philadelphia and Laura was working for a publishing company; as it turned out, she had written a story about the molecular genetics work of Kurt's laboratory mentor Christopher Evans several years earlier. Kurt's children, 9-year-old Connor and daughter Annaliese age 5 are enjoying the new experience of living in Toronto, learning French and enjoying the diversity and friendly culture of a great city.


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