Our Team


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

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"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

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“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

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"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

Brennan Gillis, MBA — Manager, Agriculture/Aquaculture

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“It’s exciting to support businesses and researchers as they bring new products, services and processes to market."


Brennan Gillis
brings a wealth of economic development experience including time spent working in the Mitacs program supporting industry and academic collaborative research. His most recent experience was as CEO of the Truro & Colchester Partnership, where he developed local business development programming to help Truro and Colchester businesses start, grow and overcome challenges. He is also a founding Director of Truro Cannabis Inc. Brennan’s solid background in business and community economic development will make him a great addition to the research support team. Brennan has an undergraduate Commerce degree and obtained his MBA from Saint Mary’s University in 2011.

Contact Brennan: 
Tel: (902) 266-2991
Email: brennangillis@dal.ca

Annette Rushton, PhD — Manager, Health and Life Sciences

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"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

Ayodeji Arowolo, LLM — Contracts Specialist

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“I am thrilled to be a part of the team putting good ideas to work and creating several success stories for posterity!”


Ayodeji Arowolo 
is an international lawyer with experience in contract, corporate and commercial law, and labour and employment law. He holds an LLM degree in International Trade and Commercial Law from Durham University in the UK.  Ayodeji’s resourcefulness, in-depth understanding of legal principles and distinctive ability to simplify and resolve complex legal issues draws roots from a combined experience of 14 years of dispute resolution practice in top law firms and from occupying roles as in-house commercial and regulatory & compliance counsel in multinational companies within the FMCG and telecommunications sectors.

Contact Ayodeji: 
Tel: (902) 220-3109
Email: ayo.arowolo@dal.ca

Gailene Vandenheuval, PhD - Director, Business Development (Mitacs)

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“ I am passionate about connecting academia to industry and feel that this is key to driving innovation and strengthening our economy. I am excited to support Dalhousie’s faculty, through the suite of programs at Mitacs as they connect with their partners (industry & students / post-doctoral interns) both locally and internationally.” 


Gailene Tobin Vandenheuvel 
is an enthusiastic leader with a proven track record of consistently driving business improvements, empowering colleagues, and delivering outstanding results. The convergence of Gailene’s science, research and economic development background in government, academic and industrial settings, make her an ideal fit for supporting Dalhousie’s faculty. Gailene has dedicated her professional and academic career to various aspects of research and innovation within the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, veterinary sciences, and human microbiology / immunology. Gailene completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at UPEI focussing on Cancer Immunology and holds an M. Sc. from UPEI’s Department of Path/Micro. Her undergraduate, a B.Sc. (Honours, Animal Science) was obtained from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture. She has a Graduate Diploma in Aquaculture from the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and has completed a Finance Certificate from the Executive Education Centre, Schulich School of Business, and York University. Gailene is currently Adjunct and Graduate Faculty in the Department of Path / Micro at UPEI. In the past, Gailene has lectured at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her publications include three authored and co-authored book chapters specific to discovery and development of cancer-based natural products. 

Contact Gailene:
Tel: (902) 221-4679
Email: gvandenheuvel@mitacs.ca

Bernadette Malone, BOA — Financial Manager

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"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

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"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, Industry Relations.

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