In the Lab or on the Court, Olivier Rixe Keeps His Eye on the Prize

Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, assists Phil Diaz, who took a spill on the clay court, during a recent pro-am charity event at Cincinnati Tennis Club. Mr. Diaz is a member of Xavier University’s men’s tennis team. Photos by Cindy Starr / Mayfield Clinic.

If you’ve played tennis for any length of time, you know that a person’s tennis style is something like his handwriting: unique, immutable and a window to the soul. Watch an individual play tennis, and you glean insight into his or her poise, resilience and sense of honor and fair play.

So it was a delight to watch Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, Research Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center and Director of UC’s Experimental Therapeutics Program, play in a charity event May 22 at the Cincinnati Tennis Club. As the above photo series reveals, one couldn’t find a nicer partner than Dr. Rixe!

Dr. Rixe also proved a determined competitor, approaching each tennis ball with the concentration one imagines him to use when perusing a tumor.

Dr. Rixe came to UC in 2009 from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., where he was a staff clinician in the Medical Oncology Branch. A native of France, and a longtime Parisian, he taught and conducted cancer research at the renowned Salpetriere Hospital in Paris for eight years prior to coming to the United States. Dr. Rixe graduated from the University of Paris medical school and earned his doctorate in molecular biology at Paris Diderot University. He performed his residency at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.

Widely published, Dr. Rixe is currently an investigator in clinical trials related to glioma, glioblastoma and metastatic brain tumors.

Dr. Rixe has played tennis since his youth, and his family has a notable history of tennis in France. His brother-in-law was the coach of former French star Thierry Tulasne when Thierry won the Orange Bowl, one of the premier international junior tennis championships.

The May 22 charity event was the Walnut Hills High School Pro-Am Tennis Tournament, in memory of Jake Ober ’07. Sixteen collegiate and professional-level players were paired with 16 amateurs. The event raised awareness of depressive illness and funds for a scholarship in memory of Jake Ober, a Westwood resident and Indiana University student who took his own life at age 20. The first annual scholarship was awarded May 24 to a graduating high school senior who aspires to a career helping others.

— Cindy Starr

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