Larry Corey, Virus Hunter With Midwest Roots, Seeks to Unleash Health Innovation at Hutch

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to help mobilize more talent to help achieve his goals.

“I’ve been able to coordinate things and make people work together in a team, and have some fun,” Corey says. “I like collaborating, I find people interesting. I like approaching people with the attitude of ‘can you help, can you be a part of the solution?’ And I also try to instill an ethic that says if people come and ask to talk about a partnership, your first proclivity should be to try to say yes, to try to make something happen in a positive way.”

Much of Corey’s teamwork ethic is at least inspired by his lifelong interest in team sports. He grew up rooting for the Detroit Tigers and Michigan Wolverines, and still has a soft spot for them, even though today his allegiance is for the Seattle Mariners and Washington Huskies. He’s a longtime season ticketholder at Safeco Field, and has often doled out tickets as a reward for people who have helped him.

Corey also keeps up an active exercise regimen. He swims, and has played tennis throughout his life. Taking a hard whack at the tennis ball is often a good way to blow off steam, he says. He also like to cook, attend local theater and opera, and enjoys fine wine.

Those recreational activities that will make for good conversation with the donors Corey will have to cultivate in his role the fundraiser-in-chief for a nonprofit research center that leans heavily on philanthropy—especially when NIH budgets tighten up.

Even though Corey has been at the Hutch doing research and clinical trial work for more than a decade, and certainly knows many of the 186 faculty on campus, he says his first task will be getting to know the institution better from the inside. That means making the rounds with the faculty, listening to them talk about their “visions, aspirations, and stories.”

It’s possible that after getting to know the faculty better, both personally and through their projects, that some changes could be made, Corey says. It might be as simple as getting a new piece of equipment for a lab, or possibly something more significant, like moving around 8 to 10 people into a coordinated group for an “impact program” that might move faster than if individual researchers operate independently.

Once he knows the center better from the inside, the conditions will be ripe for the faculty to thrive.

“The director needs to learn their stories, be an advocate for them, and to remove as many of the obstacles as possible to allow their scientific innovation to occur,” Corey says. “That’s the engine that will drive the business of the center.”

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