Putting people first on the GMRI’s journey to success

Meet Dr Sean Hall — our new chief scientist.

Success for the GMRI’s new chief scientist, Dr Sean Hall, will mean two things: helping our team reach its research goals and setting a good example. ‘If I’m able to accomplish this, then I’ll be able to look back knowing I’ve put people first and achieved good outcomes.’

Following delays caused by COVID-19, Sean and his wife arrived in Wellington in September. He’s come from Bern, Switzerland, where he was Group Leader at the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Bern University Hospital. Before that, he was a scientist and researcher at universities in Rotterdam and Harvard. And now that he’s in Wellington, Sean is already adding his expertise to many of the GMRI’s activities.

‘Overall, I wear many hats at the GMRI. I am willing to take on any role that will ensure the success of our team.’

Rising to the challenge of building an effective team

The main focus of Sean’s position is to help build and lead our team to achieve our research goals. Our goals focus on finding effective and affordable treatments for cancer, vascular birthmarks, and fibrotic diseases such as keloid disorder.

Sean believes our greatest asset is our people. From his perspective, we already have the great advantage of our existing team being world-class in many ways. He believes his task is to help our team develop even further, and to ensure we have the right environment to grow in.

Sean says he’s hugely impressed by the GMRI team’s dedication and the collegial atmosphere that exists.

‘What also impresses me is the diversity of team members, ranging from academics, researchers, associates, nurses, students, and clinicians.

Each of these people has a unique set of skills that is critical to our success. They work so well together, supporting each other in achieving our common goal.’

Setting incremental goals to build on the GMRI’s success

Sean says every scientist aims to be involved in cutting-edge research that eventually leads to treatments that relieve pain or suffering. To help us on this path, he believes in setting and building on incremental goals.

For Sean, one of these goals is to identify any research bottlenecks and find relevant solutions. Another is to introduce state-of-the-art techniques and technologies that are not yet part of the current research platform.

Sean will also recruit and train research fellows and PhD students by raising competitive, peer‑reviewed funding. And he’ll introduce new research ideas that our team can develop.

Connecting the public with the GMRI’s journey

The public play a very important part in our success, not to mention our mere existence. Sean will work with our team to increase dialogue between the GMRI and the public. He wants to bring the public closer to what’s happening at the GMRI.

‘It’s really important that we involve the public to learn more about the research we’re involved in, as they have a vital interest in our continued success.’

Sean will also dedicate time to developing working relationships with external partners such as academic, health, government, and community organisations.

We’re very excited to have Sean on the team. We look forward to updating you on his work in coming newsletters.