28 October 2015
As 2015 draws to a close it is a natural juncture to examine comings and goings, achievements and change.
Several of our younger staff will leave us having completed their PhDs. Many of you will know them personally or generously supported their studies. Most are bound for post-doctoral work in the Northern Hemisphere and decades ago, there the story might have been expected to end; glorious careers happening somewhere else.
But the world has changed and we are now on the map as a world-class facility. I want to take the opportunity to expand on the theme of how we have built this confident, independent medical research facility, and how much richer New Zealands society is for it. I want to share with you how one person could be viewed as an unseen pillar of the Malaghan Institute, and honour him.
Dr William E (Bill) Paul who passed away this September, was my mentor when I first met him in 1987 at NIH Washington DC, and remained so. The role he played in helping establish my career in New Zealand, supporting major grants, and creating the scientific momentum that we now enjoy, is considerable.
Bill spoke at New Zealand conferences empowering our scientific community. He enabled Franca and my sabbaticals at the NIH Laboratory for Immunology, which furthered strengthened international networks, and allowed us to take back to New Zealand break-through research technology. This momentum enabled me to make several successful HRC funding proposals and put our research at the cutting-edge internationally.
Now this vital pillar is gone but his confidence and support, his mentorship and friendship, have created a strong and enduring legacy. Each supporter of the Malaghan Institute is vital. Without any part of the structure we would be less. We are now on an independent journey with medical research in New Zealand and I acknowledge the supporters such as Bill Paul and yourselves who have made this possible.
I thank you all for your support and your commitment, and wish you a happy and safe summer.