Many people may regard the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory in the Mass General Department of Radiation Oncology as a high-powered, smoothly running cancer research machine based on the quality of the pre-clinical and translational work being done there. The person who keeps this 75-person strong lab a well-organized operation is Phyllis McNally, senior administrative assistant and laboratory manager.
Phyllis coordinates activities across all scientific projects and research cores, from ensuring regulatory compliance and supervising maintenance and safety inspections to preparing purchase orders and overseeing fulfillment to specifications. She always completes her meticulous work on time and, when necessary, does not hesitate to stay late and work weekends.
Investigators and lab staff can count on Phyllis for prompt, expert assistance. She is a pleasure to work with and easily cultivates working relationships with vendors and collaborating laboratories. Many of the visiting research fellows affectionately refer to her as “Mommy” in a variety of languages, a greeting she answers to in her distinctive Boston accent.
Phyllis understands the importance of her contribution to combating cancer. By mastering the day-to-day pragmatic issues of running a large research organization, she frees investigators to drive towards a cure. According to her colleagues, Phyllis is every bit as responsible for the paradigm-shifting discoveries and clinical trials as anyone else in the Steele Lab.