Our Team

Stephen Hartlen, MBA, B.Comm — Assistant Vice-President, Industry Relations

I’m very fortunate to be in a role at Dalhousie that involves growing the research enterprise to the benefit of our researchers and students, while also growing our Atlantic economy at the same time — they’re two things I’m very passionate about.

Stephen Hartlen has been leading the OCIE team since 2011. He’s the university’s Assistant Vice-President, Industry Relations with a mandate of growing the research enterprise by partnering with the private sector and providing excellent customer service to our research community.

Stephen is a member of the Vice President of Research and Innovation’s senior leadership team and a member of the Dal Innovates Steering Committee. Stephen holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University and a Commerce degree from Dalhousie. 

Contact Stephen: 
Tel: (902) 494-3237
Cell:(902) 402-1038
Email: Stephen.Hartlen@dal.ca

Jon Geske, PhD — Acting Director, Health and Life Sciences

“There’s never been a better time to showcase our strengths in health and life sciences, both as a university and as a province.

Jon Geske is an experienced scientist and business professional in health and life sciences. He's been a member of the OCIE team since January of 2020 and very much enjoys working with Dalhousie researchers, industry, and the OCIE team. Jon received his PhD in Experimental Pathology from the University of Colorado and his bachelor’s degree in Genetics from the University of California. 

Jon serves on the Board of Directors at BioNova, an industry association that leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. He's been a Board member for 5 years and currently serves as the Board Chair. 

Contact Jon:
Tel: (902) 494-6996
Cell: (902) 222-6908
Email: jon.geske@dal.ca 

Michelle Gurrola-Gal, MSc, BSc, LVT, RLATg — Business Process Manager

It's a privilege to be serving the expansive research community by facilitating research initiatives in various fields of study while prioritizing efficiency and optimization to get research underway as swiftly as possible.

Michelle Gurrola-Gal is an experienced biomedical research and management professional. She's been a member of the OCIE team since January of 2020, joining with the aim of keeping processes moving. Her experience includes project managing clinical trials, managing a zebrafish research program, technical and corporate training for a preclinical safety assessment contract research organization, as well as years in veterinary practice. Michelle received her MSc in Biology from Villanova University and her bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology (minor in Management) from Quinnipiac University. 

Michelle is a licensed Veterinary Technician and Registered Laboratory Animal Technologist. Michelle has served in several roles for the Teratology Society- Student Affairs committee.

Contact Michelle
Tel: (902) 494-3397
Cell: (902) 237-8043
Email: michelle.gurrola-gal@dal.ca

Jolene MacEachern, MBA — Manager, Agriculture/Aquaculture

Discoveries and great ideas abound, but innovation is achieved though the application of such. By supporting the transfer of knowledge and technologies to users, I feel we're helping to bring ideas to life. That’s a great place to be!

Jolene MacEachern, a team member of OCIE since May of 2017, has been involved in agriculture and rural development her entire life. 

Her current role as Manager for the Agriculture and Aquaculture sectors provides her with firsthand knowledge of the leading-edge developments in these fields. She believes in the ability of the natural resource sectors to provide opportunities and is excited by the collaborative efforts she sees in these industries.

Jolene and her husband, along with their three children, own and operate a dairy farm in Colchester County. Her personal interest in rural sustainability and alternative models for generating wealth led her to complete her MBA in Community Economic Development.

Contact Jolene:
Tel: (902) 896-2419:
Cell: (902) 956-9659
Email: jmaceachern@Dal.Ca

Annette Rushton, PhD — Manager, Health and Life Sciences

I love being at the interface of academia and industry, the two worlds that have shaped my career.

Annette Rushton is a research scientist with industrial, academic and governmental experience in life and health sciences. Her role at OCIE is to engage industry and commercialize intellectual property developed by faculty, students and staff within the life and health science faculties at Dalhousie. Prior to joining OCIE in 2018, Annette led the biology program at DeNovaMed Inc., a local antibacterial start-up company, where she was involved in drug discovery, business development and translational research.

Annette received both her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Dalhousie University, and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in yeast genetics at Columbia University. 

Contact Annette:
Tel: (902) 494-1830
Cell: (902) 237-8829
Email: annette.rushton@dal.ca

Heidi Walsh-Sampson, LLM — Associate Legal Counsel

I'm continually inspired by the people I work with and their passion for creating local opportunities for our students, our researchers and our local venture ecosystem. It's exciting to work here and participate in the process of bringing our homegrown innovations from Dalhousie labs to the world.

Heidi Walsh-Sampson has practiced business and investment law for over 20 years in three Canadian jurisdictions. Heidi’s practice has been primarily focused on the venture capital markets working in a deal-intensive environment to raise investment capital, make acquisitions and exit investments. She has significant private practice experience representing syndicate lenders and institutional investors including mutual funds, investment banks and angel investors. 

Heidi has been an adjunct member of faculty at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University for the past ten years, where she has taught corporate/commercial law and enterprise risk management at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Heidi holds a Master of Law in Securities from Osgoode Hall. Heidi sits as a Board Member on the Nova Scotia Securities Commission and she is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, Law Society of BC and NS Barristers Society.

Contact Heidi: 
Tel: (902) 494-6313
Cell: (902) 300-1689
Email: heidi.walsh-sampson@dal.ca

Bernadette Malone, BOA — Financial Manager

OCIE’s mandate is to provide the best possible service to researchers, which I strive to do, and with the myriad of research going on at Dalhousie, every day is new and exciting.

Bernadette Malone has worked at Dalhousie University for over 35 years. She's been with OCIE since 2005 and is primarily responsible for managing the financial operations of OCIE, including the Patents & Royalty budget, ensuring accounts are opened for researchers’ grants and contracts that are managed by OCIE, and collecting and submitting metrics and statistical data.

Bernadette graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University with a Bachelor of Office Administration and a Certificate in Business Administration.

Contact Bernadette: 
Tel: (902) 494-6285
Email: bernadette.malone@dal.ca

Christine Reid — Office Manager

Our team is always working with new researchers and industry partners — it means that no one day is the same, but every day is interesting!

Christine Reid has been with OCIE since 2006. Her role as Office Manager includes being Prime Administrator for IP Management Database, IP Docketing Manager, Annuities management, maintaining the patent, technology and agreement files, assisting with administration on various programs and general office related duties. Christine is administrative assistant to Stephen Hartlen, Assistant Vice-President, Commercialization and Industry Engagement.

Christine is currently a Fire Warden for LSRI Building – Innovacorp Labs Tower and member of Innovacorp Labs Safety Working Group.

Contact Christine: 
Tel: (902) 494-3509
Email: christine.reid@dal.ca