Many invitations to present internationally — demonstrating the significance and breadth of the GMRI’s work

Having 13 abstracts accepted for an Australasian conference is testimony to the GMRI’s research community, says Chief Scientific Officer Dr Tinte Itinteang. It highlights the significance and breadth of the GMRI’s work. And it demonstrates the strength of collaboration between core research staff, summer students, and collaborators from Wellington and Hutt Hospitals. In addition, GMRI Executive Director Dr Swee Tan has been invited to deliver a lecture titled Translational Research that Radically Changed Plastic Surgery Practice.

The Annual Scientific Congress of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is the largest multi-disciplinary surgical meeting held in Australasia.

At this year’s congress, held in Sydney in early May, the GMRI will give four verbal presentations and display nine e-posters on screens throughout the venue. This is the largest amount of work the GMRI has ever submitted or had accepted by this particular conference, says Dr Itinteang.

The conference provides a valuable opportunity for sharing experience, knowledge, and ideas with other researchers. ‘It opens up a dialogue. It’s a two-way interaction. People ask questions that you may not have thought about. There’s potential to spark new ideas or generate new hypotheses.’

On average, the GMRI submits two or three major conference presentations a year. This year’s much larger contribution is due to last year’s ‘good crop’ of very motivated summer students and doctors who helped push the research forward. Many of these were junior doctors from Wellington and Hutt Hospitals. ‘Most of them are trying to fit the research in on top of their clinical workload. They’re very motivated, very self-driven,’ Dr Itinteang says.

The GMRI strives to create this environment of collaboration. ‘It serves science and medical students and young doctors because it adds a feather in their cap. For the GMRI, it also helps because we’re educating the next tier of scientists and clinicians with an interest in research.’

The work that the GMRI will present at this year’s conference is notable for its diversity. The 13 abstracts span biomedical research into conditions including cancer and related plastic surgery, general surgery, and neurosurgery. ‘This reflects the kind of work that we’re aspiring to do,’ says Dr Itinteang. ‘It’s not just one particular type of cancer in a particular field — it’s across various different cancers that affect a range of different fields in medicine.’

Read more about the 2018 Annual Scientific Congress