Common Fund Staff Biographies
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Dr. Elizabeth Wilder is currently the Director of the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC). This Office is a component of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) in the NIH Office of the Director, and is responsible for management of the NIH Common Fund. Dr. Wilder received a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Hendrix College, a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Molecular and Cell Biology, conducted postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in Developmental Genetics, and served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. She has held a position at the NIH since 2002. She directed extramural programs in developmental biology, injury, and repair at NIDDK and has participated in multiple efforts across the NIH designed to facilitate collaborations. She served as Coordinator of the NIH Roadmap Interdisciplinary Research Working Group and co-chaired the NIH Multiple Principal Investigator Policy Implementation Committee. She also participated in the earliest efforts to develop an operating framework for the NIH Roadmap, helping to establish guidelines for the administration of these cross-cutting collaborative initiatives. In her current role as Director of OSC, she is extending these activities to foster trans-NIH program management through the Common Fund.
Dr. Paul Barrett joined the Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) in 2016 as a Health Specialist contractor. After receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry from SUNY Binghamton, Dr. Barrett worked as a laboratory technician at SUNY Stony Brook in a clinical research lab looking for novel, non-invasive biomarkers in bladder, prostate, and kidney cancers from human patients. Dr. Barrett continued his research career at Vanderbilt University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. His work utilized nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and other biochemical and biophysical assays to study the structure and function of membrane proteins and lipids in Alzheimer’s disease. He then served as a Post-Doctoral Associate at the University of Pittsburgh where he investigated how protein/protein interactions disrupt mitochondrial function and contribute to neuronal death in Parkinson’s disease using in vitro and in vivo model systems.
Dr. Basavappa received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Chicago for studies on the structure of tRNA. He then was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in virus crystallography. Prior to joining NIH, he was Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where he studied the structural aspects of mitotic control by targeted protein degradation. At Rochester, he also was a Research Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and Director of the Biophysics and Structural Biology Program. He joined NIH in 2004 as a Program Director in the Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where he managed a portfolio in the biophysical properties of proteins, helped initiate the EUREKA program for high-risk high-reward research, and was AIDS Coordinator. He joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2010.
Health Scientist / AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Dr. Jill Beaver joined the Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2017 as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in teaching from the University of North Carolina, Jill taught high school science for several years in the North Carolina Public School System. Jill received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Florida International University in 2016. Her doctoral research focused on exploring the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair in repeated sequences of DNA, which lead to DNA instability and are associated with many human neurodegenerative diseases.
David Bollweg joined The Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination as a program specialist contractor in May 2016. Prior to joining the Common Fund, David attended Yale University and received his Bachelor’s degree in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health in December 2015. During his time at Yale, David’s studies focused on the historical evolution of medical treatments for mental and sexual health issues. His work at Yale culminated in a senior thesis on the history of anti-vaccination movements and their relation to the current HPV vaccines.
Vivien Bonazzi, Ph.D., joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2017. Vivien has been advising the NIH Office of the Director (OD) on data science-related issues since 2014. Before joining the NIH OD, she served as Program Director for the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics program for the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Prior to her work at NIH, Vivien developed and supported bioinformatics systems and tools for a variety of companies and consulting clients. Vivien received a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Computational Biology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
George Bramhall is a contractor providing budget consulting services within the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC). These services include primary oversight of the NIH Common Fund appropriation during all phases of the budget cycle; execution, formulation, and presentation. George is a 1990 graduate of Bridgewater College, in Bridgewater, VA, with a B.A. in Business Administration. He comes to the OSC with over 17 years of budgeting experience at the NIH. Prior to joining the OSC, his NIH experience began as an accounting technician in the NIH Office of Financial Management, progressed as a budget analyst at both the NIMH and NINDS, and ultimately as the Budget Officer for the NINDS from 2005 -2006.
Health Specialist & Communications Director
Dr. Rachel Britt is currently a Health Specialist in the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC). She helps to ensure awareness and maximum impact of NIH Common Fund programs through communication and evaluation. Dr. Britt joined OSC in 2013 as Science & Technology Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Prior to her fellowship, she studied DNA repair processes in B-lymphocytes of the human immune system as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California from 2010-2013. She began her studies of DNA repair as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2010.
Operations Team Program Analyst
Tony Casco joined OSC in January 2015 as a program analyst contractor, assisting with the management and implementation of Common Fund programs. Tony has served NIH in a variety of capacities and positions since he first joined NINDS as an intern in 2004. After completing his Bachelor's degree in Economics from Boston College in 2008, Tony returned to NINDS to serve under the Assistant Director for Science Administration. During that time, he helped run the NINDS Summer Internship Program and earned his Certificate of Accounting. He transitioned to NIMH as a budget analyst and then had a brief tenure at NIAID within OPOS before joining OSC. In his decade plus service to NIH, Tony has contributed to critical systems programs including QlikView - a data visualization tool that has since been adopted by multiple institutes. He received an NIH 2014 Director's Award for his contributions to the QlikView data visualization administration team.
SPARC Program Manager
Gene F. Civillico, Ph.D., joined the OSC in 2016 as Program Manager for the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Program. Dr. Civillico earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, studying sensory integration in the rodent cerebral cortex using extracellular recording and voltage-sensitive dye imaging in vivo. He received postdoctoral training in cerebellar physiology and two-photon microscopy techniques at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. In 2009 Dr. Civillico joined Otsuka Maryland, where, in partnership with an NIH-funded biotech firm, he led a small team using a novel functional screen to search for modulators of synaptic vesicle cycling in prefrontal cortical neurons in culture. Dr. Civillico moved to FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in 2011, where he developed a research portfolio targeted at common problems in the translation of neuroengineering research concepts into clinical solutions. Dr. Civillico maintains a research program in neural prosthetics at FDA/CDRH.
Richard Conroy, Ph.D., M.B.A., joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2017. Prior to joining the Office, Richard was the Director of the Division of Applied Science and Technology at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), where we oversaw the institute’s portfolio of programs in biomedical imaging. While at NIBIB, he also served as a coordinator for the Common Fund Single Cell Analysis and 4D Nucleome Programs. Richard received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews and MBA from the University of Maryland University College.
Policy, Planning, Evaluation, and Communications Team Leader
Dr. Courchesne-Schlink earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. Her research focused on neurotrophin signaling in the development of sensory and motor neurons, as well as pathological disease states that occur when neurotrophin signaling and downstream cellular responses are altered. Dr. Courchesne-Schlink was a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) in the Office of Strategic Coordination from 2010-2011. In 2011, she joined the Office of Strategic Coordination as a Health Science Policy Analyst.
Award Management and Tracking
Chris has worked at NIH since 1994. She served as a Grants Management Specialist for 20 years and has worked at seven Institutes before joining the office in 2017. Her most recent experience was at NHGRI where she managed a complex grant portfolio which included grants from 8 different Common Fund Programs.
Dr. Leslie Derr is currently a Program Director for the NIH Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC). She received a Ph.D. in Genetics from Duke University and following post-doctoral work at the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, joined the NIH as a PI with NIAID. Her lab used the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its retrotransposon Ty, as model organisms to study RNA-mediated recombination in order to increase our understanding of the role of RNA in genome evolution. Dr. Derr moved to the NCI during Dr. Klausner’s tenure as Director, NCI to work in the Office of Scientific Opportunity, driving forward the “Areas of Extraordinary Opportunity”, challenges that if addressed would greatly advance scientific progress. She later joined the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT) as program manager for the NCI cancer biomedical informatics grid (caBIG), served as Director of Community Alliances and was a member of the CBIIT senior leadership team. Before joining the OSC, she served as Communities of Practice Coordinator for the Regional Extension Center Program, supporting EHR implementation efforts and the meaningful use of health information, in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Office of the Secretary HHS.
Ms. Faulk joined the NIH in 2001 as a research assistant in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Her research focused on pathogenesis and immunogenicity of Hepatitis C and E viruses, and GB virus B. Prior to joining NIH, Ms. Faulk was a research assistant in DuPont’s Agricultural Biotechnology division working on insect and disease resistance of rice plants, and a contractor in DuPont Merck’s Pharmacokinetics unit which focused on HIV therapeutics. Ms. Faulk received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Delaware and her certificate in Technology Transfer from the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences. She is currently pursuing dual masters in Biotechnology Management and Business Administration through the University of Maryland University College. Ms. Faulk joined the Office of Strategic Coordination as a Health Specialist in 2013.
Health Research Evaluator
Dr. Amanda Greene joined the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) in 2015 as a Health Research Evaluator. She received her PhD in nursing and health services research from the University of Maryland. She then completed a MPH with a focus in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University as part of her post-doctoral fellowship in the NCI Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program. Dr. Greene holds a BS in nursing, MS in nursing, and family nurse practitioner certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a certificate in program evaluation. Since completing her doctorate, Dr. Greene has focused on using program evaluation to plan, monitor, and measure the value and effectiveness of biomedical science and health care services. This work has including leading portfolio analysis projects, planning and collecting data from surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, and analyzing multi-site case studies. Prior to returning to NIH, she worked at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute as a senior program officer in evaluation. This was preceded by work as the Science Evaluation Officer at NINR and as a senior evaluation researcher at a health care consulting firm.
Associate Director of Management, Evaluation, and Communications
Scott received his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Tech, focusing on information systems and industrial/organizational psychology. He received a master degree in public administration from the University of Georgia. Scott came to the NIH in 2005 as a Presidential Management Fellow and worked in various offices within NIH and HHS as part of that fellowship. He began working in the precursor to the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) in 2006. Following his fellowship, he was hired into the OSC as the Process Manager. He now serves as the Team Leader of the Common Fund Operations Team.
Petronila came to NIH in 2004; she worked in NIDDK as an Extramural Support Assistant. Moved to NCI Intramural in 2009 and worked there until 2012. She worked in LRBGE Lab for Dr. Gordon Hager, Lab Chief and LEC Lab for Dr. Snorri Thorgeirsson, Lab Chief as a Program Specialist. Petronila moved to OSC on September 2013 as Office Manager to Dr. Betsy Wilder.
Program Leader and Program Team Leader
Patricia Labosky (Trish) joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2012. She earned her Ph.D. from Wesleyan University studying the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, and did her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University where she furthered her interest in stem cells and early development generating some of the first germ line competent embryonic germ cell (EG cell) lines. After her postdoctoral work, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1997 - 2006. In 2006 she moved to Vanderbilt University where she was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and the Center for Stem Cell Biology. She was also a Scientific Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Transgenic Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Core. Dr. Labosky's research focused on studying genes that control normal development of the mammalian embryo and mediated cell lineage decisions in multiple disparate stem cells. Her lab was funded by multiple NIH awards and foundation grants and resulted in many publications.
Rebecca N. Lenzi Ph.D. earned her Ph.D.in biology at Georgetown University in 2007, with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology. Her doctoral work focused on the transcriptional regulation of the ADE genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. She completed a postdoctoral work from 2007 to 2010 at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, where she studied immunogenetic factors influencing HIV infection and clinical disease course, uncovering specific alleles contributing to protection from HIV in East African populations. Dr. Lenzi has served as a program officer at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, for studies in wide ranging areas from traumatic brain injury to human gene transfer. She is a graduate of the University of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in art history.
Operations Team Program Analyst
Jen earned her Master of Business Administration at Mount St. Mary's University in 2015, and her bachelor's degree from Hood College in 2010. Prior to her work at NIH, Jen performed administrative, analytical, coordination and management duties for scientific peer review at CSRA for CDMRP. She joined OSC in February 2017 as a program analyst contractor, assisting with the management and implementation of Common Fund programs.
Dr. Aron Marquitz joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2015 as a Health Specialist contractor. Prior to joining the OSC he was a research associate at the University of North Carolina studying the role of Epstein-Barr virus in a variety of cancers, where he started as a Leukemia and Lymphoma postdoctoral fellow. He obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Cancer biology from Duke University, where his thesis focused on cell cycle checkpoints in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Prior to Duke, he obtained a B.S. in molecular biology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied the cell biology of sea urchin embryogenesis.
Dr. Becky Miller joined The Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination as a health specialist contractor in 2014. She first came to the NIH in 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where she studied the diversity of anopheline mosquitoes in Cambodia and their role as vectors in transmitting drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame developing methods to detect genome-wide copy number variation and single nucleotide polymorphisms in P. falciparum and assessing genome structural variation in parasite populations from around the world. While at the University of Notre Dame, she was a fellow in the GLOBES Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and completed an independent project studying antimalarial use and quality in Uganda. She earned a M.S. from Brigham Young University studying the population genetics of mountain whitefish.
Operations Team Leader & Grants Management Advisor
Michael is a grants management advisor to the Director of the Office of Strategic Coordination, OD. He facilitates the communication of funding decisions from OSC to the grants offices of the administering ICs and provides grants guidance and support to both the OSC and the IC Grants Offices. Michael earned a BS in Business Management from the University of Maryland. He spent 14 years in the banking industry before joining NIH. In 1990, he went to work for NHLBI as a grants management specialist. He worked there for over a decade before moving to NIAMS as the Deputy Chief for their grants office. He was involved in training for grants specialists and seminars for the Society of Research Administrators. He left the government for a brief period, and returned to grants management work, this time on the NIH Roadmap, now known as the Common Fund. His past four years there has seen a marked growth in the number of programs that the CF supports and a refinement in the grants operations process.
Operations Team Program Specialist (NIH Guide Liaison)
Ellie received her bachelor degree in business administration from Goshen College. She received a master degree in international education from the University of Massachusetts. Ellie came to the NIH in 2000 as a program analyst in the Office of the Director at NIDCR. In 2004 she began working with Roadmap since its inception and stayed with it when it transitioned into the Common Fund with the Reauthorization in 2006. She serves as the ENS Coordinator for the Common Fund and is part of the Operations Team.
Scientific Program Analyst
Sonynka Ngosso joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2017 as a Scientific Program Analyst for the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program. Prior to joining the OSC, she served as a Scientific Program Analyst for BD2K in the Office of the Associate Director for Data Science. She obtained her BS and MS in Biology from Towson University, where she studied the visual orientation of gypsy moth larvae to emissive colors to provide a basis for the development of safer biocontrol measures, such as light traps, to control the destructive effects of this pest on crops and vegetation. Sonynka also holds a MBA in Health Care Management from the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business.
Concepcion Nierras (Marie) joined the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) from JDRF International (previously Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), where she was in charge of international partnerships. She served as program officer for JDRF’s portfolio in genetics, including genetics of susceptibility to type 1 diabetes, and genetics of diabetic nephropathy. As part of the program team representing funders of the International Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, Marie had extensive interactions with colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Marie received her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and did postdoctoral research at Oxford University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Operations Team Program Analyst
Ms. Nicholson is a Program Analyst on the Common Fund Operations Team. She works primarily on the OSC SharePoint site and is responsible for several requests sent to Working Groups. Prior to joining the Common Fund in 2011, Ms. Nicholson was a program analyst with NIDDK. Ms. Nicholson has several years of experience consulting to federal, state, and local clients, including performing data analysis for several federal and state agencies. Ms. Nicholson was also part of a team that provided training and technical assistance to HUD grantees. Ms. Nicholson received a Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland.
Since 2007, Mary Ellen Perry, Ph.D., has been a program leader in the Office of Strategic Coordination, overseeing the development, implementation and assessment of several cutting edge programs. Prior to joining the Office of the Director, Dr. Perry was a program director for the National Cancer Institute, where she oversaw a grant portfolio focused on research in aspects of molecular biology of particular relevance to cancer. Dr. Perry also maintains a laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, employing genetically engineered mice to explore the relationship between development and cancer. Her background in cancer research is founded on a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina and post-doctoral fellowships at Princeton University and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (now part of Cancer Research, UK). For seven years, she led a cancer research laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she succeeded in winning two NIH grants, publishing several papers, and training five Ph.D. students, two of whom are now professors.
Ananda L. Roy joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2015. Dr. Roy earned his Ph.D. from University of Nebraska, studying mechanisms of mammalian peptide chain initiation, and did his postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University where he studied mechanisms of transcription initiation and gene regulation. He biochemically discovered and molecularly cloned TFII-I transcription factor. He then went on to join Tufts University School of Medicine in 1993 and stayed there till he joined the Office of Strategic Coordination. At Tufts, he further developed biochemistry and biology of TFII-I family of proteins in health and disease. He also studied genome-wide transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the immune system. Dr. Roy has trained many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and directed the Graduate Biomedical Program in Genetics at Tufts for 3 years. Dr. Ananda Roy has been awarded numerous NIH and Foundation grants, chaired external grant review panels and currently serves on several journal editorial boards. Dr. Roy still maintains a research program at National Institute on Aging (NIA) focusing on transcriptional signatures associated with immune-cell activation.
Scientific Program Analyst
Ms. Tonya Scott is currently a Program Analyst, serving the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) and Human BioMolecular Atlas Platform (HuBMAP) programs. Prior to joining the OSC in 2017, she served as the Scientific Program Analyst to the BD2K program for the Associate Director for Data Science. Tonya holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland University College.
Before transitioning to the National Institute of Health, Ms. Tonya Scott served as an Executive Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Office of New Reactors, at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While there she assisted staff in the primary program areas of siting, licensing and oversight for new commercial nuclear power reactors. Ms. Scott brings a multitude of PA experience to the OSC.
Scientific Program Analyst
Jessica Smith joined the OSC in 2015 after the completion of a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, in the NIH Clinical Center. In collaboration with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), she developed high throughput screening assays toward the development of small molecule inhibitors of IQGAP1 signaling for cancer therapy. In 2013, she received a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine with a focus in chemical biology and pharmacology. Specifically, her thesis dissertation involved the study of enzymes in the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, for antibiotic development. This work was supported by an NIGMS Individual Predoctoral Kirschstein-NRSA Fellowship (F31) award. Prior to that, she studied at the University of Kentucky (B.S Biology, with Departmental Honors) and examined the role of Drosophila LRP130 in scs insulator activity and transcriptional regulation. Jessica is also involved in several professional service and volunteer activities, to further the goals and needs of women in science.
Mike joined The Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination as a communications specialist contractor in 2014. Prior to joining the Common Fund, Mike was the Membership & Communications Specialist for a non-profit that promoted the safe transportation of hazardous materials. In this role, he managed the content of the website, led communication efforts between organization’s working groups and committees, and was an integral part of a team that organized all aspects of the organization’s annual conference and quarterly meetings. Mike is a 2009 graduate of Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, MI, with a B.A. in Business Communications.
Other Transaction (OT) Officer
Dr. Qashu joined the Office of Strategic Coordination in 2016 to serve as Other Transaction (OT) Officer in the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Program. Dr. Qashu earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2009 from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), studying neuroanatomical and electrophysiological changes in the amygdala in a rat model of epilepsy. In 2010, she joined the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) as a scientific advisor, and then became the DVBIC Deputy Director of Research in 2013. At DVBIC, Dr. Qashu was responsible for overseeing a clinical research program on traumatic brain injury (TBI) in military service members and veterans. She maintains active collaborations in TBI, focusing on concussion assessment, acute clinical management, and recovery.
Dr. Danyelle Winchester joined The Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC) as a health specialist contractor in February 2017. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Howard University (HU). Prior to joining the OSC, Dr. Winchester was a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. As a fellow, she investigated whether genetic variants in genes involved in the immune response were associated with prostate cancer risk and intraprostatic inflammation. Dr. Winchester obtained a Bachelor of Science in biology from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
This page last reviewed on November 30, 2017