Leadership

Executive Committee

Maggie Berg
Maggie Berg
Dr. Maggie Berg is a research development manager in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI). Her primary role is to work closely with faculty, administration, and external stakeholders to identify, expand, and support new research initiatives in microbial systems and other emerging areas. These initiatives include workshops, networking events, research community newsletters, and facilitating collaborative research proposal development. She also facilitates growth of the campus’ overall research capacity and funding portfolio through development of training and grant writing programs for health researchers, such as the NIH Grant Writing Series and Department of Defense Grant Writing Workshop. In addition, Maggie works with the Health Sciences Data Analytics Core to collect and analyze data for strategic planning.
Gillian Snyder
Gillian Snyder
As the Assistant Director for Research at the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI), Dr. Gillian Snyder’s primary role is to apply her research expertise to implement the vision and strategic direction of IHSI. Gillian develops and directs the IHSI research programs, cores, and selected special projects, including REDCap, a campus-wide research data software solution, and the Health Sciences Data Analytics Core. She also engages with various research groups across campus to provide programming to educate researchers about best practices (including storage of HIPAA and sensitive health research data); offer consultative support in using resources, services, and applications germane to research; and address challenges in conducting research.
Maria Gillombardo
Maria Gillombardo
Maria works closely with faculty in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences in support of their scholarly and creative research. She provides services in support of research project design and development that include identifying funding avenues, facilitating agency-specific information sessions, connecting faculty with campus colleagues and resources, and proposal development.
Wendy Bartlo
Wendy Bartlo is the Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives and Research Relations for the College of Applied Health Sciences (AHS). Wendy works closely with senior AHS leadership to provide strategic direction, design, and implementation of college initiatives. She develops academic and community relationships to explore and maintain innovative research, education, and engagement opportunities.
Brenda Koester
Brenda Koester
Brenda Davis Koester is Assistant Director of the Family Resiliency Center. Her research and policy work centers around food insecurity; children’s feeding programs; effective community collaborations; and translating research into policy and practice and she serves as Co-PD and Co-I on several externally funded projects. She has experience supporting and coordinating transdisciplinary teams and co-instructs the HDFS 494 Undergraduate Transdisciplinary Research Course. As the Assistant Director she supervises staff and directs the professional development, communication, and policy work of the Center. She also provides pre- and post- grant support for FRC projects and affiliates. She holds a BS in Communication and an MS in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Barbara Godlew
Barbara Godlew
godlew2@illinois.edu
Barbara Godlew is the Director of Research Education and Programming in the Office of Research within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). She works with researchers and faculty to identify private and public funding opportunities, assists them with grant writing and editing, and promotes cross-college collaborations. Barbara also provides curriculum development services for the Research Academy while assisting new career assistant professors during their participation in that program. Additionally, Barbara administers internal funding opportunities offered by the Office of Research and prepares impact reports relative to those opportunities. Along with Germán Bolero, she represents the College of ACES on the committee currently developing the Center for Digital Agriculture.

Before joining the University of Illinois in 2018, Barbara had a 25-year history as a medical writer and international clinical trial disclosure expert for the pharmaceutical industry and academic medical centers. Prior to that, she was an operating room nurse from 1981 to 1993. Barbara has a Diploma in Nursing, a Bachelor’s degree in English from Colorado State University, and a Master of Science degree in Health Communication from the University of Illinois. When not writing grants and advising faculty members, Barbara spends her time traveling, gardening, and trying to outsmart her greyhounds.

Patty Jones
Patty Jones
pmjones5@illinois.edu
Patricia M. Jones is the Associate Director for Research at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, she provides management oversight over a variety of research programs and the Beckman centralized research facilities. From September 2010 through February 2012, she was the Deputy Director of Exploration Technology at NASA Ames Research Center, where she had oversight over a workforce of 700 civil servants and contractors doing research and technology development on entry systems, intelligent systems, supercomputing, and human-systems integration.

Previously, she was the acting Chief of the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames from 2003-2010 and the Deputy Chief of that Division from 2001-2003. She received the B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the M. S. and PhD in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Before joining NASA, she was an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has published more than sixty papers in the areas of human- machine interaction and computer-supported cooperative work. She is a senior member of IEEE and a member of the HFES and ACM professional societies.

Lori Butler
Lori Butler
Lori Butler is a Grants and Contracts Coordinator, providing proposal development assistance to Faculty and Graduate students in the Department of Psychology, including proposal review, budget development, and proposal submission. She has many years of experience on campus in research administration, facilitating large scale proposals, managing large interdisciplinary center grants for a Research institute, developing budgets, working on T32 grants, and special projects with the Office of Proposal development. She is interested in providing support for team science by helping faculty make connections and in providing resources for the research development community.
Melissa Edwards
Melissa Edwards is Executive Director of Strategic Research Communications in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. She provides strategic research communications support for the University, managing the flow of OVCR news and information, connecting PIs with resources to develop, conduct, and share research and find collaborators, promoting research events, and organizing the Research Development Community. She also oversees the Office of Proposal Development. She holds a BS in Public Relations and an MS in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Meg Dickinson
Meg Dickinson is the director of communication at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. She supervises the institute’s marketing and branding, advancement messaging, news gathering and public relations, social media, website, digital signs, internal communications, and event planning and promotion. Prior to joining Beckman, Meg worked in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication at Bradley University in Peoria and a master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Suzanne Berry-Miller
Dr. Berry-Miller works with researchers across Illinois to develop teams, projects, and proposals for funding opportunities that advance the campus strategic goals. She received her PhD in Human Oncology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and was a faculty member at the University of Illinois prior to joining the Office of Proposal Development (OPD). She also supports the research enterprise through OPD outreach, service on OVCR committees, managing the SPIN funding opportunity database for campus, serving as the FedConnect Administrator for the campus, and participating in the Research Development Community Executive Committee.
Kris Williams
Kris Williams is the Associate Director for Administration at the Materials Research Laboratory, Grainger College of Engineering. He has spent 20+ years supporting the Illinois research enterprise, starting while still an undergraduate here. His current portfolio spans a wide array of responsibilities, including overall department administration; proposal review and budget development; equipment procurement; project management for building renovations and life safety improvements; information systems and reporting; and the dreaded “other duties as assigned.” Throughout, Kris supports MRL’s faculty, staff, and students to facilitate their work with collaborators on and off campus. Beyond MRL, Kris is an active participant in various campus committees, working groups, and task forces; serves on Grainger Engineering’s IT Governance team; and has been an instructor for the Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance Education series (SPaRC’Ed) since its inception.
Richard Sallee
Richard provides support throughout the limited submission selection process and assists with choosing submitted proposals. He also provides administrative support for Melissa Edwards and the Office of Proposal Development.
Beth Niswander
Beth is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the College of Education and works to drive research development in the College of Education, from two angles. She works with new and assistant professors in developing their particular research programs. She also helps the College, and its researchers, to discern, articulate, organize, and respond to significant larger-scale research opportunities. She frequently organizes research teams or collaborative groups to author and edit proposals and white papers. From 2015-2020, she also served as Managing Editor for the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.
Julie Elzanati
Julie has served as a Director in the Office of Foundation Relations since February 2017. Previously, she was the Dean of Continuing Education at Heartland Community College where she oversaw administration of a broad range of credit and noncredit programs. Since 2003, Julie has had roles as a lead grant writer, grant writing team member, and/or grant administrator for a variety of awards from private foundations, state organizations, or federal agencies. She holds a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Illinois State University (2002) and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1992).
Kara Johnson
Kara Johnson is the Associate Director for Administration at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. In this role Kara acts as a member of the executive leadership team, is the chief financial officer, and oversees all the administrative functions for the Institute which include human resources, business affairs and financial reporting, facilities and operations, information technology services, and the cafe.