Friends and Family of Dennis and Story Landis
Family Friends Work Photography Dennis' Blog

 !  Our intertwined lives and times


This is a place for the family and friends of Dennis and Story Landis. We will include information of interest to professional colleagues, and others who share photgraphic interests, but most of our site will be dedicated to news and information about family and friends.

October, 2019

It's now 5.5 years since I retired on Aprils Fool's Day, annd 5 years since Story arrived from the NIH.

I am entirely retired, though I continue to read journals with interest and for amusement. I greatly enjoyed neuroscience and neurology, but through my professional career I worked as hard as I could to be as good as I could be. I was really uncomfortable with the idea of partial effort, or being content with insufficient knowledge. Retirement has lifted a considerable weight from my shoulders.

It has also created opportunities to improve my photography. Our travels have included several trips with Muench Photographic Workshops, and I've learned a lot from those experts. My file of digital images has grown enormously, and I've added scans of slides and b/w negatives from the past. Many images have ended up on

Other activities have included singing in the church choir, and taking piano lessons. These have reminded me daily of my limitations, and should be a spur to humility.

Story continues to spend about a third of her time offering advice and counsel. She serves on the Brain Prize committee, has done great work in the National Academy of Medicine, and continues to share her experience with colleagues in the National Institutes of Health. All of this travel, email and phone work has not interfered with her great gardening. As a local tribute, the Freeport Historical Society has added her garden to their annual garden tour.

Family is thriving. Mike is in Philadelphia, and working happily in a technology firm, Integrichain. Heather and Bruce are still in Houston, and Heather has matured into a gifted portrait photographer. Blake has graduated from Baylor, and is in the throes of considering a NFL career. Brooke, too, has graduated from Baylor, and has a very responsible position in San Antonio. Brynne is somehow managing to combine volleyball and biomedical engineering.

We have welcomed many friends to our home in Maine, and look forward to more visits. I have become fairly expert at preparing lobster, and our sous vide system is quite slick

May, 2016

It has been a little over two years since I retired on April Fool's Day, 2014. Story retired from the NIH in October, 2014, so has not yet hit the two year mark.

Life has settled into a comfortable rhythm. Story has continued to beautify the gardens and even the woods around our home in South Freeport, and this spring has seen a wonderful series of flowers. I have had plenty of time to enjoy photography, ranging from wildlife photography with telephoto lenses to scanning negatives now 49 years old.

Story spends at least 30% of her time in consulting activities. Her advice and participation are being sought in a variety of settings, and it is satisfying that all her experience and capacity for insight is proving of such value.

We continue to travel. In September of last year, we enjoyed a complex trip to Paris, Madagascar, and South Africa. In January of this year, we went fishing in Patagonia again. In April, we traveled to New Zealand as part of a photography workshop. Story purchased a new Nikon, and took over 3000 images. I'll have to encourage her now in the joys of Lightroom.

Family is thriving. Mike has ended his association with Neat, and is now looking for a role that is more appropriate to his skills and experience. Heather's skills as a photographer continue to grow, especially in her portrait work. She is being asked to make 'senior photo' collections, and is wonderfully good at capturing expressions that reveal the person. Blake's role in the Baylor football team is more and more active. He also won a team award for the highest GPA. Brooke finished her Freshman year at Baylor with a 4.0 average and a plunge into sororiety life. Brynne continues to do well athletically and academically, and has added a little modeling to the mix.

I'm looking forward to the 45th reunion of my medical school class in early June. It will be even more interesting to visit with friends and colleagues in Cleveland shortly thereafter.

January 9, 2015

Story has been retired for more than three months, and we are gently coming to relish our new lives. The home in Freeport is a warm and comfortable place. We are now part of a community in a manner that we never before experienced. Story has been widely sought for advice about a variety of neuroscience topics, and has been traveling at least once a month. Dennis has a modest role in the Undiagnosed Diseases Program.

After demanding careers, it is pleasant to choose activities. Dennis joined the Portland Camera Club, and was quite cheered to receive a variety of prizes in image and print competitions. Story has supervised soft and hardcaping around the home, happily choosing plants and rocks. Our meals have improved in complexity and taste as Story tries new recipes, including sous vide.

Our most recent travel has been to the headwaters of the Amazon. As in the past, Mike, Story and Dennis joined Heather's family for Christmas holidays.

September 15, 2014

Story retires from her position as Director of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke on October 3, 2014. Her sadness at leaving her friends and colleagues there is softened by her confidence that Walter Koroshetz will carry on the mission brilliantly, and her satisfaction with all the accomplishments of NINDS.

All the renovations are completed at our home in South Freeport, Maine. Story is cheerfully planning the 'hard scaping' and landscaping now. Our friends and neighbors are welcoming, and we are very much enjoying the sense of community here.

Each of us continues some professional activity. Both of us will serve as 'special volunteers' at the NIH. Moreover, Story's broad experience in science, administration, mentoring, and public policy will continue to contribute in a variety of settings.

June 21, 2014

The summer solstice has come and gone, and we are nearly moved into our home.

The moving van arrived in Bethesda on March 24, 2014, and by March 28, most of the contents had been deposited in our home in South Freeport, Maine. We had embarked on some fairly ambitious renovations, however, and so most of the furniture and boxes ended up in the garage or unfinished basement until the work was done. It was not until June 16 that the final furniture was put into the various rooms. I'm still hanging pictures and connecting speakers.

The new house is a delight, and spring in Maine has been quite pleasant. Story is still commuting, and so has only the weekends to get the gardens in shape. We managed to trap and remove the first woodchuck, but another has appeared.

I've continued to serve as a 'special volunteer' at the NIH, using computer links to particpate there. Increasingly, though, they are doing just fine without me.

November, 2013

When Mike encouraged me to begin this website, he and I both expected that it would be updated regularly.  I am chagrinned to note, however, that the previous text on this page was written more than a year ago.  There are now several reasons to think that updates will be more frequent.

Our Travels:
In March, 2012, we traveled to east Africa and had a great time.  This year, Story and I joined old friends for the Fiftieth Reunion of my Chadwick graduating class in June.  I was delighted to learn of the many successes and adventures of my classmates, and Story now has a much better sense for the background of my various anecdotes.
We enjoyed our annual fly fishing trip to Montana in July.  Linda Bail and George Casey shared a cabin with us, and we joined Peggy and Bob Ratcheson for local fishing, feasting, and travel.  We later split up, with the Casey-Bails exploring Glacier Park, and the rest of us fishing on the Bitterroot. 
In August, Leonard Taylor and Lana Skirboll organized a bicycling trip in Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Austria, run by Vermont Bicycle Tours.  Mike joined us, and we had a great time.  The amount of time on the bicycle was plenty, given our inadequate preparation, and more than enough to encourage appetites for local cuisine.
Our most exciting experience this year has been a photographic safari, again with Rikki and Jack Swenson, in September and October.  We spent time at four different game camps in South Africa and Botswanna, mostly in the Okavango delta.  Dick Baringer and Jeanette Townsend were wonderful travel companions, and the whole group was remarkably convivial.

Mike continues to live and work in Philadelphia.  He joined us for the tour through central Europe, and proved to be a fascinating travel companion. 

Heather and her family are thriving.  Blake, the eldest grandchild, recently played his last football game in high school.  He has accepted a NCAA football scholarship at Baylor, and is eagerly looking forward to that aspect of his life.  Brooke, the middle grandchild, is caught up in a whirl of volleyball, basketball, academics, and worry about upcoming college decisions.  Brynne continues to maintain her fine scholastic record, and is carrying on the family athletic traditions in volleyball and basketball.

Heather has matured into a gifted photographer.  She has taken many photographs of various athletic contests, to the great pleasure of the participants and their parents.  Moreover, she has captured many sensitive portraits of friends and family, reflecting her capacity for personal insights and empathy.

Story and Dennis have a new home in Freeport, Maine.  We had learned of the area while visiting with George and Linda Casey.  A house became available that is perfect for our future needs, and we purchased it in anticipation of a move there in the next unknown years.

Story continues as Director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.  I am biased, of course, but I don’t know anyone who might have done as well in such a complex and demanding role.
I have been working in the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health.  We select patients for whom a clinical diagnosis cannot be established despite extensive effort, and then use next generation sequencing to look for variants in the person’s exome that might account for the disorder.  The Program has drawn on my interests in neurobiology and in neurology, and has taught me a great deal about genetics in neurological disease.  The IPA (a contract mechanism) that permitted my work at the NIH while I was appointed at Georgetown will end in April, 2014, and I will stop my work at the NIH then.

Earlier Updates

October, 2012

It has been a great year for travel. As noted below, in March we traveleld to Kenya and Tanzania. Later, in June, we took a Lindblad trip up the coast of Norway and around Swalberg, again traveling with Jeanette Townsend and Dick Baringer. Heather and her family invited us to join them on a delightful big boat cruise along Alaska. We relaxed for a while with the Rachesons at their lovely home in Montana. Refreshed, we managed a biking tour of Nova Scotia with Lana Skirbol and Leonard Taylor.

Between the ANA meeting and the Ruff fest in Cleveland, I tried a foliage driving tour through New England. Unfortunately, my timing was poor, and most of northern Vermont was twigs.

My professional life has changed significantly. September 23 was my last day on the Stroke Service at Georgetown. My academic affiliation remains with Georgetown, but most of my time will be spent with the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health. I'll miss the interactions with the residents, and the satisfactions of inpatient care, but the challenges of the UDP are too attractive.

March, 2012

Our trip to Africa was organized by Rikki and Jack Swenson, photographer/naturalists whom we had met during our Lindblad trips to Antarctica and to the Sea of Cortez. They chose a succession of destinations in Kenya and Tanzania, working with Micato to find expedition leaders and drivers who were knowledgeable about the land, and about photography. There were twenty of us in the group, including Jeannette Townsend and Dick Baringer. I accumulated more than 7,000 digital images, and have only begun to sort through them.

Mike Landis has returned to Neat in a role that he finds much more satisfying.

Heather and her family are thriving. In addition to all their athletic efforts, Blake and Brooke are both receiving honors and awards for their outstanding academic accomplishments.

August, 2011

We escaped the gloom of later Maryland winter with a bicycling trip to Death Valley, organized by Lana Skirboll and Leonard Taylor. Story now has her own camera, a Canon G-12, and has already developed a distinctive style.

It has been a complex first half of the year. Dennis found himself with both prostatic cancer and renal cell carcinoma. Each required its own robotic laparoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins, and each has apparently been solved. The surgeries were unexpectedly debilitating, and I was unable to work for several weeks after each. The timing interfered with our plans for Montana, and fishing has been put off this year. Perhaps the fall will present another opportunity.

We did manage a Lindblad trip to the Sea of Cortez, just before the initial surgery, and had a great time on the photography-oriented trip. Again, we were joined by our traveling companions Jeannette Townsend and Dick Baringer. We're planning a trip to Africa next spring.

With the unaccustomed 'down time', and with an incredible accumulation of photographic images, I decided to learn the gentle art of making books of our various travels, principally as a vehicle for the photographs. After all, how many prints can you shove into a drawer?


2010 was a great year for us!

Each of us celebrated our 65th birthday, and together we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We decided that the year 2010 would be perfect for a lot of travel and self-indulgence.

We started off with a bicycling trip through the Netherlands in tulip time, with our friends Lana Skirboll and Leonard Taylor. In June, we traveled to Ireland for the wedding of Rebecca Kahl and Ryan Smith. Peggy and Bob Ratcheson were wonderful hosts for fishing on the Bitterroot, in Montana. Linda Bail and George Casey provided the setting in South Freeport, Maine, for renewing our friendships with them and with Judy and Woody Woodrich.

The most spectacular experience, though, was a Lindblad cruise to the Falklands, South Georgia Island, and the Antarctica peninsula in November. Our traveling companions were Jeannette Townsend and Dick Baringer. We experienced an amazing range of wildlife, from albatrosses through penguins and elephant seals. The landscapes were unforgetable.

November, 2009.

We enjoyed a Lindblad trip to Costa Rica from January 24 through January 31. We flew into San Jose, Costa Rica, and then traveled to the Moteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. On the 24th we boarded the Sea Voyager, and over the next week we cruised south along the Pacific coast, and then through the Panama canal. Some of the pictures are now in the photography section.

In June, Dennis joined Bob Ratcheson for a fishing trip on the Missouri, in Montana. My first experience with indicators and streamers! Dry fly fishing was intermittent, but when the fish were rising, it was great.

Our biggest trip, though, was a Lindblad trip to Norway and the arctic, from June 22 through July 6. We flew to Bergen, Norway, and there boarded the National Geographic Explorer. We sailed north along the coast of Norway, exploring the fjords with hiking trips and zodiac rides. Then, we sailed to the Svalberg archipelago, above the arctic circle. We experienced the 'midnight sun' for the first time. Weather was great, and the highlight of the trip was seeing polar bears and their cubs!

In July, we spent a week with the Ratchesons in Montana. Weather was great, and we took three 'floats' (one on the Blackfoot, and two on the Bitterroot). Peggy and Bob were wonderful hosts.

General scene, August, 2011

Dennis' clinical responsibilities at Georgetown began September 1, 2009. About 40% of my professional effort is service as attending physician on the Stroke Service at Georgetown University Hospital. I have managed to evade virtually all administrative responsibilities, and simply concentrate on patient care and teaching. I have joined the research team of the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the NIH. My function there is to review applications and to care for patients as they are studied at the CRC. I am continually amazed at the power and complexity of the tools for genetic study that are available.

Story has continued as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, working in Bethesda. Walter Koroshetz has joined NINDS as her deputy director, and has taken on a substantial fraction of the administrative burden. Story has been able to look beyond NINDS a bit, and has become the NIH spokesperson for stem cell research.

Mike Landis has an apartment in Philadelphia. He had learned a great deal while working at The Neat Company, a start-up software company, but eventually he became frustrated by the slow rate of innovation and new responsibiliites. He now is with Wizehive, another start-up software company, still working at the interface between code and customer service.

Heather lives with Bruce and their three children in Clear Lake, a little south of Houston. Blake, Brooke, and Brynne are all thriving. Blake is beginning his sophomore year in high school, and Brooke begins as a Freshman. Blake is now regarded as one of the most impressive young football talents in Texas. Brooke has grown out of gymnastics and is now concentrating her formidable talents in volleyball. She is on the Freshman volleyball team, and is having a great time. Brynne has set aside gymnastics for volleyball and basketball, still in middle school.

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We are now living happily in South Freeport, Maine.


Still sharing photographs with friends and family, mostly from our travels.

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