Professor Gary Hammer Gives an Inspiring Talk on Leadership in Science

2 min read

Yerevan, Armenia — On February 7, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) organized a public health seminar on Leadership in Science & Medicine. The event featured an engaging presentation by Professor Gary D. Hammer on “Presence & Vulnerability: Personal tales of failure across the biomedical spectrum.” 

Speaking to a full audience, Dr. Hammer shared stories about his personal experience in biomedical research, particularly on the topic of rare cancers like adrenal cancer. He also talked about his professional growth, the importance of being fearless and bold but not arrogant, which was especially inspiring for students attending the event. 

Dr. Hammer emphasized the importance of true leadership and supportive guidance, especially when it comes to reaching success in science. “Leadership is not a title, it’s a verb,” he affirmed, elaborating that the hierarchical leadership style will not work effectively in health research and science. 

The speaker summed up his talk by reiterating that research in the health/medical sphere should be human centered: “Humanity is grounded in empathy and relationship; be present, look at your patient eyes.” Dr. Hammer mentioned that bringing humanity to science and medicine is important, and that the only way to succeed in that line of work is by being extremely dedicated to it. When speaking about scientific discovery, he noticed that “magic” happens outside of one’s comfort zone. 

He also discussed the importance of international collaboration, particularly talking about A5 (American-Australian-Asia Adrenal Alliance), the collaborative platform dedicated to adrenal and related research that provides an open and inclusive environment for multi-center studies, also inviting CHS to join the alliance. The presentation was followed by a short Q&A session.

Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in Departments of Internal Medicine (MEND), Cell & Developmental Biology, and Molecular & Integrative Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Michigan (UofM). He currently serves as Director of Endocrine Oncology Program in Rogel Cancer Center, where he holds the Millie Schembechler Professorship in Adrenal Cancer. He has brokered the recent renaissance of the current Michigan team of adrenal scientists that includes a who’s who in the study of adrenal disease. He received the UofM Jerome Conn Award for Outstanding Research in Internal Medicine, the Endocrine Society Edwin B. Astwood Award for Outstanding Research and is a member of ASCI and AAP. He has served in numerous leadership roles at UofM and in the public and private sectors, including recent tenure on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the US National Cancer Institute. He is a co-founder of Milendo and Sling Therapeutics, two companies that focus on rare endocrine diseases.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research, and evaluation, health care delivery, and management.