OR Leadership

Learn more about our Executive & Senior Leaders

Executive Leadership

Vice Chancellor for Research

Harris Lewin

Harris LewinHarris Lewin is Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor of Evolution and Ecology and Robert and Rosabel Osborne Endowed Chair at the University of California, Davis. Prior to his appointment at UC Davis, Lewin spent 27 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he was the E.W. and J.M. Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Immunogenetics, with a primary appointment in the Department of Animal Sciences and a member of the Center for Advanced Study. Lewin served as Director of the University of Illinois Biotechnology Center, Founding Director of the W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics, and Founding Director of the Institute for Genomic Biology. Professor Lewin’s current research interest is in mammalian genome evolution. He and his collaborators are studying how mammalian chromosomes evolve and the role of chromosome rearrangements in adaptation, speciation and the origins of cancer. Lewin’s earlier research in immunogenetics and comparative genomics led to the identification of a gene responsible for resistance and susceptibility to bovine leukemia virus infection, the development of high-density comparative maps for mammalian genomes, and co-discovery of a gene affecting milk fat composition. In addition, his group produced the first large-scale cattle cDNA and oligo microarrays, which were used to study the genomic effects of nuclear transfer cloning, the development and involution of the mammary gland, and the dietary effects on gene expression during the periparturient period. Lewin is Founding co-Editor of Annual Reviews of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences, Section Editor of the journal Animal Biotechnology and has served on the Editorial Board of Physiological Genomics and Annual Reviews of Genomics and Human Genetics. In 2004, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2007 he was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. In 2011 Lewin was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. Lewin was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

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Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration

Cindy Kiel

Cindy KielAs Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration at UC Davis, Cindy Kiel provides leadership over research administration and compliance areas for the university. Cindy holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Utah College of Law and a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in international relations. She most recently served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Services at The Washington University in St. Louis with oversight for grants and contracts, interdisciplinary research development and export controls. Preceding her work at The Washington University, she was Executive Director for Sponsored Projects at the University of Nevada. Prior to her engagement in academia, she practiced law at Utah Legal Services and the law firm of McMurray, McMurray, Dale and Parkinson in the fields of consumer protection, government records access, education law, false claims act litigation, corporate transactional work, employment law, contract breach litigation, immigration, and intellectual property infringement. Cindy is an active member in the Council on Government Relations and speaks nationally on a number of topics including: global research, research compliance, proposal development, federal contracting, subcontracts, budgeting and cost-share, negotiation tactics, export trade controls, technology transfer, and research infrastructure. She has served as a proposal reviewer for the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense.

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Associate Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives

Paul Dodd

Paul DoddPaul Dodd is Associate Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives. Paul has a background in nanoscale material science and applied physics and has worked at the interface between industry, academia and government for over 20 years. Paul is responsible for development of interdisciplinary research activities for the Davis campus and for initiating, supporting and coordinating the development of new strategic research partnerships, domestic and international. Paul administers the ten Organized Research Units on campus as well as Special Research Programs and Central Facilities. Prior to UC Davis Paul was Director of the Industry Collaborative Programs at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) where he was responsible for large-scale collaborative research centers and clusters in Information and Communication Technologies, Life Sciences and Renewable Energy. In 2009-10, Paul worked in Silicon Valley, California with the Irish Government’s enterprise development agency. His role was to develop research links between industry in the United States and academic research groups and centers in Ireland. Paul holds bachelor and master’s degrees in materials science from Trinity College Dublin and was awarded a Ph.D. from Queen’s University Belfast for research on nanoscale magnetic materials and devices with applications in magnetic recording head technologies.

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Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Management and Corporate Relations

Dushyant Pathak

Dushyant PathakDr. Dushyant Pathak is Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Management & Corporate Relations in the Office of Research at UC Davis with responsibility for InnovationAccess, which manages patents, licenses and IP, the Office of Corporate Relations, which develops and manages broad-based, campus-wide corporate partnerships and Venture Catalyst, a new unit with responsibility for facilitating the creation of new ventures and technology startups based on university IP and faculty research.  Dushyant has more than 15 years of management experience including with Fortune-500, publicly traded, entrepreneurial and start-up companies in roles through which he has led business development and intellectual property teams, commercial planning and clinical project operations activities and been in senior leadership responsible for a successful NASDAQ IPO. Dushyant has led entrepreneurial teams at the start-up and early stage, including raising capital from investors in the role of CEO. He has worked in venture capital with Connecticut Innovations and as the first EIR at QB3/Mission Bay Capital. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management and received his M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Cell Biology from Northwestern University and his B.A in Natural Science & Mathematics from Bennington College. He was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund Post-doctoral Fellow and a member of the Research Faculty at Yale University in the molecular biophysics and biochemistry department.

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Senior Leadership

Sponsored Programs

Executive Director, Research Administration: Ahmad Hakim-Elahi

Ahmad Hakim-ElahiAhmad Hakim-Elahi is Executive Director, Research Administration, and Director of Sponsored Programs. Sponsored Programs assists the campus research community in its efforts to secure extramural funding while promoting proper stewardship of those funds. Ahmad received his B.S. degree in Mechanical and Agricultural Engineering, received his M.S. degree in Agronomy in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Genetics in 1981, both at the University of California, Davis. He received his J.D. degree from Santa Clara University in 1990. He is a member of the State of California Bar, the U.S. District Court, Northern California, and the U.S. Patent Bar, allowing him to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Following the completion of his Doctoral and Post-doctoral training at UC Davis, he joined a San Francisco Bay Area plant biotechnology corporation as a research scientist, practicing plant breeding and biotechnology.  During the 12 years of his association with the company, he served in various positions of successively higher responsibilities, including the group leader of the company’s plant breeding team, the research administrator overseeing all company research, and then as the in-house legal counsel. He was a member of a team that moved the company from being a privately-owned entity into a publicly-traded corporation in 1986. From 1994 to 1996, Ahmad was the senior manager of the technology and licensing office at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he established the first campus-based office of sponsored programs and licensing and technology transfer.  In 1996, he joined Sponsored Programs at UC Davis as a contracts and grants officer, and since 1998 he has been serving the campus as the Director of Sponsored Programs.

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Institutional Review Board Administration

Director: Cynthia Gates

Cynthia GatesAs Director of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administration at UC Davis, Cindy Gates oversees four research review committees and a professional support team. Collectively, they are responsible for protecting the rights, safety and welfare of human subjects involved in research at the university. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2013, Cindy was Vice President for Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB). Cindy has also held various positions as a registered nurse at the bedside and in management.  She also served in the US Air Force Reserve from 1986 until 1992. In addition to her role at UC Davis, Cindy serves on the Executive Advisory Board and for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), and is an active member with the national endeavors contemplated by NCATS. Cindy also teaches a preparation course for the Certified IRB Professional examination and is the Educational Coordinator for the local chapter of the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA). Cindy graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seattle University School of Law, and Macon College School of Nursing, where she received the Highest Achievement Award.

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Office of Corporate Relations

Director: Mona Ellerbrock

Mona EllerbrockAs Director of Corporate Relations at UC Davis, Mona Ellerbrock works as the key liaison between the business community and the university. Through this role, she develops and manages corporate partnership opportunities and matches university assets to the needs of industry. Mona serves as a UC Davis-wide resource, working with academic and administrative leadership, faculty, staff, development officers and others to advance UC Davis’ priorities through increased investment from corporations. She has been engaged in the development of systems to promote and expand new and emerging research initiatives and the advancement of alliances to support these initiatives here at UC Davis for over 15 years. Prior to becoming Director of Corporate Relations for the campus, Mona was the director of Industry Research Alliances in the Office of Research, where she worked to mobilize the campus academic and facility resources to support industry-university partnerships. Mona brings to this position a deep knowledge of the UC system, and of UC Davis faculty and research in particular, as well as a strong understanding of corporate and industrial interests in higher education and research. Mona has a Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Biological Sciences from UC Santa Barbara.

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Interdisciplinary Research Support

Director: Sheryl Soucy-Lubell

Sheryl Soucy-LubellSheryl Soucy-Lubell is the Director of Interdisciplinary Research Support in the UC Davis Office of Research. The Interdisciplinary Research Support team coordinates the preparation of major grant proposals for large-scale, interdisciplinary research programs. As director of this unit, Sheryl identifies and develops collaborative efforts in pursuit of extramural funding opportunities; advises campus administrators in prioritizing research efforts by determining UC Davis research capacity in specific areas and forecasting opportunities for success prior to committing resources; and conducts campus-wide research development activities such as workshops, trainings, program officer visits, funding opportunity searches and dissemination, and research team building. Sheryl also oversees the administration of the Limited Submissions program, which is a service of the Office of Research that assists faculty in identifying Limited Submission opportunities and coordinates the campus review and nomination of applications for those opportunities. The program identifies and advertises nearly 200 such opportunities each year, about two-thirds of which require review and nomination. She received a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College, a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida State University.

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Research Compliance & Integrity

Director: Craig Allison

Craig AllisonCraig Allison is the Director of Research Compliance and Integrity. His unit monitors federal and state regulatory developments and changes to university policy to ensure the campus operates in compliance with applicable regulations and assesses research compliance risks and opportunities. Craig is as a UC Davis-wide resource, serving on multiple campus compliance committees, and developing research compliance policies and procedures in response to the rapidly evolving state and federal laws and regulations. He is a senior leader with over twenty years of experience in internal investigations, and interpreting/applying complex federal and state statutes and regulations including the federal sentencing guidelines. He also has substantial experience in developing regulatory compliance programs for private companies. Prior to joining UC Davis, Craig worked in the private sector handling complex civil and criminal litigation, and compliance matters in the areas of environmental, health care, tax, securities, antitrust, and immigration. Craig also has a solid science background, having obtained an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences (Entomology) and a Masters of Public Health from UC Berkeley. He obtained his Juris Doctor from King Hall here at UC Davis.

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Strategic Initiatives

Executive Director for Humanities & Arts Research Development in Strategic Research Initiatives: Darrene Hackler

Darrene HacklerDarrene Hackler is Executive Director for Humanities & Arts Research Development in Strategic Research Initiatives at UC Davis’ Office of Research. She is responsible for working with faculty and staff to leverage and expand the humanities, arts and social sciences research programs at UC Davis through partnerships with federal, state and private entities. In addition, she serves as the main liaison to the Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts research clusters. Prior to joining UC Davis, Darrene was an associate professor at George Mason University in the Department of Public and International Affairs. Her research focuses on strategic economic development initiatives and programs in areas of innovation; entrepreneurship; broadband; and high-tech, green-tech and clean-tech industries. She has also served as vice president for research and programs at the International Economic Development Council and was a Senior Fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). She received her Ph.D. in political science and economics and M.A. in public policy from Claremont Graduate University in California.

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Business & Finance

Director: Delanda Buchanan

Delanda BuchananBusiness & Finance works in partnership with the UC Davis community including administrators, faculty, staff, research unit directors and managers to deliver financially sound and cost-effective business processes.

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Human Resources

Manager: Marlene Denham

Marlene DenhamMarlene Denham is the Human Resources Manager in the Office of Research. She has a degree in Business Administration and over 20 years of experience working in a professional office setting, including eight years as an office manager/supervisor working with staff, students, directors, tellers, supervisors, faculty, customers, deans, etc. As the Human Resources Manager, Marlene is responsible for managing the OR HR team which provides strategic and analytical support and advice for academic federation and staff personnel functions throughout the Office of Research. The OR HR unit handles human resource issues such as policy interpretations; recruitments; academic federation appointments; retention; classification; compensation; merits and promotions; employee and labor relations issues; general benefits; and training and development. The OR HR unit builds a culture of organizational excellence, acceptance and a support system for a diverse community of talented employees and ensures they feel valued and vested in the organization.

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