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K-State Today

September 8, 2015



Office of Vice President for Research staff updates

By Karen Burg

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I have several hires to report who will continue to pave the way to 2025 success by providing excellent research support for K-State.

First, I'd like to welcome Mary Rezac, interim associate vice president for research. Mary is the Tim Taylor professor of chemical engineering with research expertise in polymeric materials that transport small molecules. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and more than a dozen industrial partners. Rezac leads an NSF-funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program, or IGERT, on Sustainable BioRefining that has provided doctoral training and financial support for 33 students from the colleges of Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, and Engineering. Please contact her with questions, concerns or recommendations about research collaborations and initiatives as well as professional development activities.

Chris Brandt also joined our team on Aug. 31 as interim vice president of the Kansas State University Research Foundation. Chris comes to us from Mars Inc., where he was responsible for the global management of intellectual property for the company's pet care segment. He has broad experience in developing innovation and patent strategies; negotiating and managing the complexities of licensing, consulting and joint development agreements; and navigating intellectual property law. We look forward to his contributions to the continued success of K-State entrepreneurs.

Paul Lowe received a well-deserved promotion to associate vice president for research. He will continue to oversee PreAward Services as he assumes a leadership role in the Office of the Vice President for Research. During Paul's 28 years at K-State, research, scholarly and creative activities and discovery, or RSCAD, extramural funding has grown approximately 300 percent. Paul's group provides a full range of assistance to faculty, staff and administrators in obtaining and administering funding from nonuniversity sources to support K-State RSCAD. He has streamlined processes through automated electronic commerce, maintained a highly trained professional staff — many of whom hold international certifications as research administrators — and minimized the impact of ever-increasing government regulatory requirements while ensuring that K-State maintains its reputation as an exceptionally compliant institution. Paul also has attained national recognition through his service to the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership. Paul's national exposure has increased K-State's visibility in the area of university-industry collaboration.

These individuals complement the hard-working staff we already have in place to support K-State RSCAD. Other recent hires in the Office of the Vice President for Research also have become vital parts of the team.

  • Stephanie Pierce joined as my assistant at the end of February, along with office specialist Allison Stratton in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, or ORSP. Contact Stephanie to set up meetings with me or to find out whom to contact for help. Allison can help you connect with ORSP staff, facilities, workshops, and calendars and serves as our point of contact for internal funding sources — Faculty Development Awards, University Small Research Grants and Global Food System Awards.
  • Ian Czarnezki came onboard as director of operations at the end of March. Contact him for help with business planning and development for research initiatives, understanding and identifying research-relevant business tools and processes, and working across units to solve operations problems or address barriers as they arise.
  • Sarah Hancock rounded out the team in late April at the documentation technical writer post. She can help communicate your research successes; develop research handouts, social media or blog posts, or other communication pieces about specific projects; connect you to campus communication resources; or train researchers for media appearances or other communication opportunities.

Existing staff members in ORSP and PreAwards Services provide vital assistance to researchers. Proposal development directors Joel Anderson and Mary Lou Marino are always on the lookout for new opportunities for faculty to gain external funding. Call them with your questions about funding opportunities, training, industry collaboration, or forming teams to pursue interdisciplinary topics.

An experienced team of grant and contract administrators in PreAward Services is assigned to serve specific units, and they stand ready to serve your proposal development and award processing needs.

  • Education, physics, biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and other (Provost, President, etc.): Rich Doan
  • Biology, architecture and veterinary medicine: Carmen Garcia
  • Chemistry; plant pathology; horticulture, forestry and recreation resources, and K-State Olathe, along with coverage for others areas experiencing activity surges: Mollie Hodge
  • Human ecology, other arts & sciences, and cooperative extension: Adassa Roe
  • Agriculture, journalism & mass communications, and K-State Salina: Kathy Tilley
  • Engineering, mathematics and business: Effie Swanson
  • Engineering and surge coverage: Deann Bratton

Additional grant specialists serve specific process assignments, such as Rex Goff, who oversees subcontract development and processing and assumes some budget analyst duties. Tim McDaniel, budget analyst, ensures K-State submits compliant budgets to our external sponsors and that budget revisions for existing projects are considered in accordance with regulatory requirements. Cecelia Scaler, database manager and project modification specialist, tracks the data associated with more than 5,500 transactions per year and ensures project modifications are processed in accordance with all guiding principles. Sharon Zoeller manages the front office administrative requirements and supervises undergraduate student workers.

Paul's management team includes Anita Fahrny, assistant director, and Katie Small, manager of contract negotiations. Anita oversees the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer, Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, and Kansas Institutional Development Award Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence submissions as well as electronic submission systems such as CAYUSE, Fastlane, and eSign/eProposals. Katie coordinates all agreement negotiations and oversees an excellent team of contract negotiators, including Deb Werth, Jenny Danenberg and Andra Bardes.

That's quite a list, isn't it? We're fortunate to have this outstanding group of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals. Many thanks to them for the work they've done to bolster RSCAD at K-State. We look forward to more good things to come!

Best, Karen J.L. Burg