Office for Research

Our Mission

The mission of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Office for Research is to facilitate the highest caliber of biomedical research, from basic to translational to clinical, among the VP&S faculty, students, and staff at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The Office works across departments, centers, and institutes to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations, and supports efforts to secure funding for such collaborations. Communicating and coordinating with school deans, the Office of the Provost, and other offices of research administration throughout the University, the Office for Research works to ease hurdles and provide tools to facilitate research.

The Office has a team devoted, through hands-on support, to the implementation of the strategic plan for research in the school of medicine. The Office for Research strives to achieve its mission through the following goals:

  • To facilitate individual research endeavors by providing faculty, students and staff with: (1) aid in navigating and minimizing institutional obstacles to research; (2) tools and services for grants; (3) support for core and shared resources.
  • To furnish school-wide research efforts through leadership support and strategic resources to maintain the highest standards in research excellence.
  • To assist junior faculty in identifying and successfully competing for extramural funding.
  • To foster inter-departmental research collaborations through proposal development and project management services.
  • To create systems and resources that facilitate research activities and develop and enhance efficiencies in research management.
  • To ensure faculty input regarding the school’s research direction, policy and compliance efforts.
  • To recognize faculty accomplishments in research and scientific excellence.
  • To promote an environment that incites innovation and is flexible to meet scientific demand.

Through these services, the Office for Research aims to support the VP&S scientific community to achieve excellence in their scientific and academic endeavors.

Our Services

Concierge Services

Investigators should use this service to find answers to their research needs. Email your research questions to the Office for Research and we will reply within one business day.

VP&S Core/Shared Resource Management

VP&S core facilities and shared resources provide researchers with access to high-end instrumentation and specialized scientific services. For core facility directors, the Office for Research provides licenses to the iLab Core Management System to monitor equipment scheduling and ensure timely billing of lab services. Please email the VP&S Office for Research for more information.

Learn more about support for Core Facilities.

Proposal Development Services

Our proposal development team is composed of a highly-motivated group of individuals that can facilitate and manage large, complex grant submissions. Furthermore, they have curated materials for the Grant Toolbox and run a K Award Program for On-time Proposal Preparation to help junior faculty apply for NIH K awards. Please email the Office for Research for more information.

Learn more about Proposal Development Services.

VP&S Grants Management Service

The VP&S Grants Management Services (GMS) were established to create a better proposal and award management experience and reduce the administrative burden on faculty and investigators. The GMS teams partner with select departments, centers, and institutes to provide comprehensive administrative expertise and support throughout the grant lifecycle, from proposal preparation to award closeout. The GMS teams have extensive knowledge and experience with many sponsors and a strong relationship with central university offices, Sponsored Project Administration and Sponsored Projects Finance.

Learn more about the VP&S Grants Management Service.

Our Team

  • Michael Shelanski, MD, PhD

    • Senior Vice Dean for Research and Henry Taub Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology

    Michael Shelanski became the Senior Vice Dean for Research in October of 2015. He is also the Co-Director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain. Before becoming the Senior Vice Dean for Research, he was the Chairman and Francis Delafield Professor of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology as well as the Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He is a Member of the American Association of Neuropathologists, the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Research in his laboratory has focused on elucidating the molecular causes of memory disruption and synaptic malfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease. His laboratory has identified and purified many of the major cytoskeletal proteins associated with aberrant neuronal structures as well as aims to establish methods to induce neurogenesis in neural stem cells for means of neuronal repair in Alzheimer’s Disease. His lab has served as a training ground for numerous exemplary scholars in the field of neurodegeneration.

    Michael Shelanski, MD, PhD
  • Jennifer Williamson, MS, MPH

    • Associate Vice Dean for Research Policy and Scientific Strategy

    Jennifer Williamson joined Dr. Shelanski in the VP&S Office for Research in October 2015 as the Associate Vice Dean for Research. Jennifer and the VP&S Office for Research team support the clinical and basic science research faculty, working with the VP&S departments, centers and institutes to facilitate interdisciplinary research and new initiatives through research support services and core research facilities.

    Since 1998, she has worked with faculty and administrative leadership in both research and clinical operations at Columbia University. In Richard Mayeux’s lab, she served as the research coordinator and manager of the genetic research studies of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative disorders in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center. Prior to joining the Office for Research, she was the director of clinical operations in the Department of Neurology. Additionally, she was genetic counselor for 12 years in the Columbia University Huntington Disease Center of Excellence directed by Karen Marder. She holds a MS in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling from Sarah Lawrence College, a MPH in Health Policy and Management from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a BS in Molecular Genetics from the Ohio State University.

    Jennifer Williamson, MS, MPH
  • Leidy Scott

    • Administrative coordinator, Research Administration

    Leidy Scott joined the VP&S Office for Research in 2022. As Administrative Coordinator, she provides administrative support for the Senior Vice Dean and the Office for Research. Born and raised in Bogota-Colombia, Leidy completed a Bachelor of Economics at Gran Colombia University in Colombia. Before joining the Office for Research at Columbia, Leidy worked in a design company as an executive assistant and an Executive Sales Representative at Scotia Bank.  


  • Daichi Shimbo, MD

    • Associate Dean of Research Career Development, Director of the TRANSFORM, Associate Professor of Medicine

    Dr. Daichi Shimbo received a B.S. from the Johns Hopkins University in Biomedical Engineering (1991) and a M.D. from the Albany Medical College (1995). After completing an Internal Medicine residency (1998), Dr. Shimbo went on to complete Chief Medical residency in Internal Medicine (1999) and fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine (2003) at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, before joining the faculty at Columbia University in September 2003. As faculty, Dr. Shimbo is a clinician-scientist, committed to creating and disseminating an evidence-base of clinical and translational research in how hypertension and its different phenotypes are related to cardiovascular disease onset. In particular, Dr. Shimbo’s work has led to  improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension subtypes associated with the highest cardiovascular disease and mortality risk. Dr. Shimbo is currently the Director of the TRANSFORM (Training and Nurturing Scholars for Research that Is Multidisciplinary) Resource and Associate Director of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center Clinical and Translational Research Award (CTSA). Dr. Shimbo is also co-leader of the workforce development initiative at the Irving Institute, and was recently appointed the Associate Dean of Research Career Development. In his roles, he is responsible for directing and refining training and educational programs for early career clinical and translational scientists at Columbia. 

    Photo of Daichi Shimbo
  • Emer Smyth, PhD

    • Assistant Dean for Cancer Research, Director of Cancer Research Alliances, and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology

    Emer Smyth joined the the VP&S Office for Research and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) in November 2016 as director of cancer research alliances and assistant dean for cancer research. Born and raised in Ireland, Dr. Smyth received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science and PhD in Pharmacology from the National University of Ireland’s University College Dublin. Before coming to HICCC, Dr. Smyth worked at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) as director of the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) translational research grant programs where she managed the administration and scientific review and oversight of US and international “Dream Team” multimillion dollar grants, as well as other funding models. She provided scientific administrative and communications support to SU2C and their funding partners, as well as SU2C scientists and Scientific Advisory Committees, across all phases of program launch, evaluation, selection, and post-award review. Prior to her time with the AACR, Dr. Smyth was a research associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where her group investigated a family of inflammatory lipid mediators in breast cancer and vascular disease. She has contributed close to 50 peer-reviewed research publications, scholarly reviews, and chapters over the course of her career thus far. At the HICCC, Dr. Smyth manages and directs the operations that establish, enable, and support the discovery efforts of the Celgene Cancer Drug Discovery Consortium. More broadly, she enhances the scope and impact of cancer research at Columbia by supporting development of large scale funding programs in cancer research and increasing awareness of CUIMC’s cancer research and care programs, within and beyond Columbia.

    Emer Smyth, PhD
  • Danielle Matsushima, PhD

    • Senior Director of Strategic Research Initiatives

    Danielle Matsushima joined the VP&S Office for Research in August 2016 to provide strategic advice to VP&S faculty writing complex grants or their first individual research proposal. She also facilitates priority initiatives that promote research and research training excellence. She is passionate about science and Columbia’s scientific educational community having served as: Co-President of CUIMC’s Graduate Student Organization; a Board Member for the Columbia Women in Science Club; a lecturer for Columbia Splash; and a mentor for Columbia’s Science Matters Research Internship Program. For several years, she was a Writing and Critical Thinking Mentor for Minds Matter NYC, a non-profit organization helping high school students attain their college dreams. Her graduate thesis work focused on the molecular pathways that regulate hematopoietic stem cell quiescence and her undergraduate research elucidated the role of Sox2 in retinal progenitor cell differentiation. Dr. Matsushima holds a PhD in Genetics and Development from Columbia University and a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Danielle Matsushima, PhD
  • Stefanie Makinson, PhD

    • Assistant Director of Research Development

    Stefanie Makinson joined the VP&S Office for Research in October 2020 to support investigators in securing extramural funding for basic science, translational, and clinical research at Columbia University. She is deeply committed to advancing transformative science having worked at a gene therapy start-up focused on neuromodulation for three years prior to joining VP&S. She also has expertise in translating complex ideas into readily-digestible concepts, developed in part as an HHMI teaching fellow where she co-taught Neuroscience for Non-Majors and through her experiences presenting at scientific advisory board meetings, as well as national and international scientific conferences. Her graduate thesis work was in basic science where she determined the role for a novel scaffold protein in the regulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission. She completed her postdoctoral training in translational science at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, CA where she determined how the thalamus and its microcircuits become pathological in epilepsy and neurodegeneration. Dr. Makinson holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University and a BS in Neuroscience from Furman University.

    Stefanie Makinson's Headshot
  • Esther Brot Simmons, PhD

    • Grant and Research Development Associate

    Esther Brot joined the VP&S Office for Research in March 2022 as a Grant and Research Development Associate. She is deeply invested in supporting investigators at Columbia University in securing extramural funding. Dr. Brot has a PhD in History from King’s College London and a BA from Barnard College at Columbia University. Due to her background in the humanities, she has substantial expertise in persuasive writing, a key facet of obtaining extramural funding. During her time as a writing mentor, she worked with a variety of individuals with diverse academic backgrounds on improving their written work. Many of her mentees have gone on to find considerable success with the written products reviewed with Dr. Brot. Over the past several years, Dr. Brot has taught at the university level. Due to her teaching background and supported by her accreditation as an advancedHE Associate Fellow, Dr. Brot is very comfortable breaking down complex ideas and content to make it more accessible to diverse audiences. She is excited to share her depth of knowledge on writing and structure with researchers at Columbia. 

  • Francesca Copperi, PhD

    • Grant and Research Development Associate

    Francesca Copperi joined the VP&S Office for Research in January 2024 to support and advise investigators at Columbia University in securing extramural funding for their research. Three years prior to joining the VP&S Office for Research, she joined Columbia University as a postdoctoral researcher to study neuronal mechanisms involved in glucose homeostasis and food intake regulation. Dr. Copperi has honed her scientific and persuasive writing skills through several courses during her graduate studies and postdoctoral training. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and has presented her scientific work at national and international conferences. She is deeply passionate about supporting the career development of junior investigators and has served as Secretary and Co-President of the Columbia University Postdoctoral Society. Dr. Copperi holds a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a MSc in Molecular Biotechnology and BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Torino, Italy. 

  • Karen Maass

    • Grant and Research Development Associate

    Karen Maass joined the VP&S Office for Research in February 2024 as a Grant and Research Development Associate. With a background in academia and mentoring, she is passionate about facilitating outstanding research and supporting faculty in securing extramural funding. Prior to joining the Office for Research, Dr. Maass held a research faculty position at NYU School of Medicine, where she studied cardiomyocytes in health and disease using animal models and human cellular platforms. During this time, she also mentored early career faculty in basic, clinical, and translational science through the process of obtaining their first major independent funding through her co-leadership of the Junior Faculty Club. Dr. Maass brings her experience as a peer reviewer for grant applications submitted to NIH or private foundations to the proposal development team. She is excited to share her expertise in scientific communication and her dedication to mentoring investigators at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Maass holds a PhD in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Bonn, Germany.

  • Talila Tobias

    • Program Coordinator

    Talila joined the VP&S Office for Research in January 2022. In her role as program coordinator, she provides planning, logistics, and communications support for research development activities and educational programming. In particular, she manages the New Faculty Meet and Greet Program, the K-POPP (K-Award Program for On-time Proposal Preparation) Program, the K to R Transition Scholars Program, the EPIKAGE (Enhancing PI Knowledge About Grant Elements) Program. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 2019, where she also earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

    Talila Tobias Phoro
  • Danielle Pendrick

    • Director of Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives

    Danielle Pendrick joined the VP&S Office for Research in October 2022 to support the Medical Center’s two biobanking initiatives, the Columbia University Biobank (CUB) and Biobank Resource for Investigating Disease, Genes and the Environment (BRIDGE). In her role as Director of Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives, Danielle also works with the Vice Dean of Research Strategy and Innovation in the Mailman School of Public Health to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations between MSPH and VP&S. Dr. Pendrick has been at CUIMC since 2012 in various precision medicine-related clinical research roles, most recently within the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology as the Senior Director of Pathology Precision Medicine Initiatives. Danielle has an MPH and DrPH in Health Policy and is deeply committed to strengthening capacity for clinical and translational science at CUIMC by creating new approaches to support meaningful engagement of patients in research.  

    Director of interdisciplinary research initiatives
  • John Seeley, PhD

    • Director of Core Research Technologies

    John Seeley joined the VP&S Office for Research in December 2017 to support initiatives to acquire and maintain the physical infrastructure and specialized scientific instruments that enable cutting-edge research. Dr. Seeley’s graduate thesis work described a novel role for microRNAs in regulating persistent changes to the transcriptional response of innate immune cells, ultimately determining whether these cells are likely to contribute to disease. In subsequent research performed as a postdoctoral research scientist, he verified these findings in vivo and identified potential biomarkers for rapid diagnosis of sepsis. His work was presented at talks in multiple international conferences and in several publications. As a student at Columbia, Dr. Seeley served on the executive board of CUIMC’s Graduate Student Organization and also as a departmental representative for the intercampus Graduate Student Advisory Council. Dr. Seeley holds a PhD in Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection from Columbia University and a BS in Biology from the College of William and Mary.

    Head shot of John Seeley
  • Jeffrey Hoinacki, MS

    • Assistant Director of Research Financial Planning and Analysis

    Jeff Hoinacki joined the VP&S Office for Research in June 2019, but has been at Columbia since 2012 working as the Finance Manager for Core Research Services at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.  While at the Irving Institute, Jeff developed budgets for its biobanks and its core facilities, including the Biomarkers Core Lab and the Clinical Research Resource. He also managed the service center license process for the cores and assisted with the day-to-day logistics for the BRIDGE and All of Us biobanks.  As the Assistant Director of Research Financial Planning & Analysis in the Office for Research, Jeff oversees the iLab core facility platform, manages with the service center rate licensing process for VP&S core facilities, and leads various other research-based financial initiatives. Jeff Hoinacki holds a MS in Applied Analytics from Columbia University and a BS in Business Administration from Fordham University.

    Photo of Jeffrey Hoinacki
  • Claudia Cosentino, PhD

    • Program Manager

    Claudia Cosentino joined the VP&S Office for Research in October 2020. Claudia has a PhD in Molecular Oncology and Endocrinology from the University of Naples, in Italy. Her graduate studies showed how thyroid cells switch between growth and proliferation signals. She then became a postdoctoral fellow at Clare Hall Laboratories (UK), where she identified a novel link between DNA damage and metabolism. After completing her work in the UK, Claudia joined a laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she investigated the effect of epigenetic changes on metabolism in an in vivo model. Claudia’s graduate and post-graduate work has been presented in international symposiums as well in peer-reviewed publications. During her studies, Claudia also enjoyed mentoring students and teaching genomic and genetic undergraduate classes. Her research and teaching experiences fostered her passion to support the investigators to succeed in their research, and she is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to do so at the VP&S.

    Photo of Claudia Cosentino, PhD
  • Lauren Alfant

    • Business Analyst

    Lauren Alfant joined the VP&S Office of Research as a Business Analyst in February of 2022.  Lauren comes to Columbia with a background in accounting, business services support, and customer engagement.  Lauren is the primary contact for iLab user support and the liaison between core staff, iLab users, iLab Support, and the Office of Research.  Lauren holds a BA in Psychology from Montclair State University.

    Photo of Lauren Alfant
  • John Smerdon, PhD

    • Senior Director of Laboratory Research Operations and Capital Projects

    John Smerdon joined the VP&S Office for Research in January 2019 to guide institutional and external teams toward the completion of specialized scientific initiatives that promote the growth of the VP&S research mission.  He has been an engaged member of the Columbia and broader New York City communities, cultivating several multidisciplinary collaborative scientific projects throughout his graduate student career, holding an observer’s seat on the University Senate Commission on Diversity, and mentoring multiple student trainees.  He co-founded and directed the Science Matters Research Internship, a successful high school outreach program now in its 6th year, that has matched over 25 under-privileged high school students with mentors in Columbia laboratories.  As a graduate student and NIH/NINDS Kirschstein-NRSA predoctoral fellow (F31), he specialized in electrophysiological analyses aimed to elucidate how electrical tuning in motor neurons lead to their unique action potential firing properties and in turn, make them selectively vulnerable to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.  Dr. Smerdon holds a PhD in Physiology and Cellular Biophysics from Columbia University, and a BS in Neuroscience and a BS in Biochemistry/Biophysics from Washington State University.  Prior to his undergraduate education, he also attained World Class Technician status during his decade of work for General Motors.

  • Hannah Munson

    • Coordinator of Laboratory Research Operations

    Hannah Munson joined the VP&S Office for Research as Coordinator of Laboratory Research Operations in October 2023. Prior to joining the Office for Research, she worked as a Laboratory Operations Specialist at Avantor, providing on-site services for JLABS @ NYC, where she managed equipment maintenance, chemical and biological material storage, and laboratory safety programs. She received her BS in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from New York University. As a student at NYU, her thesis research focused on utilizing polystyrene microsphere resonators as whispering gallery mode (WGM) biosensors.

  • Anna Cetnerowski, MPA

    • Senior Director of Grant Management Services

    Anna Cetnerowski joined the VP&S Office for Research in June 2017. As Senior Director of Grant Management Services, she oversees Pre-Award and Post-Award Teams and provides comprehensive administrative expertise and support throughout the grant lifecycle, from proposal preparation through award closeout. Since 2012, she has supported Columbia’s faculty and administration in the basic sciences and clinical departments. She has extensive experience in pre and post-grant management. She has previously successfully managed submissions of complex, multi-projects awards, including NIH P, T, and U series grants. Before joining the Office for Research, she worked as a program coordinator in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and as a Grants Manager in the Department of Medicine. She holds an MPA in Public Management from Baruch College, CUNY and a BS in Business Administration Management from the University of Gdansk in Poland.

    Anna Cetnerowski
  • Wendy Goldberg

    • Associate Director, Pre-award

    Wendy Goldberg joined the VP&S Office for Research Pre-award Team in July 2018. She received her BA in Business Studies from Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland UK. Since 2001, she has supported Columbia’s faculty in pre and post-award management in Biomedical Engineering, Neurology, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Systems Biology, and G.H. Sergievsky Center. Grants have ranged from NIH (P, T, U, F, and R01’s), NSF, DOD, NYSTEM, and private foundations. She assisted from proposal to closeout with budget, compliance, and administrative guidance. As Associate Director of Pre-Award, Wendy will provide support for grant submissions and all administrative activities within the Pre-Award Team.

    Wendy Goldberg
  • Enid Vallejo-Juste, MPH

    • Associate Director, Post-Award

    Enid Vallejo-Juste is the Associate Director for the Post-Award Core.  She first joined the Post-Award Core as a Grants Finance Manager in February 2019 supporting the Department of Systems Biology.  In her current role, she manages a team of analysts and managers focused on post-award management of Sponsored Projects.  The team works closely with both the faculty and the Department, and also assists in the oversight of faculty non-Sponsored accounts, thereby allowing the faculty and Department to have a complete snapshot of their entire portfolio for support of their lab and/or personnel. Enid has extensive experience in pre- and post-award grants management.  She joined Columbia University in 2013 as a Grants Manager with ICAP, at the Mailman School of Public Health.  She supported a grants portfolio for several countries in Africa, as well as two research sites for ICAP based in New York City.  In September 2016, she transitioned to the division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine, where she coordinated the submission of proposals and managed a large and diverse portfolio in the post-award phase for over fifteen faculty and fellows. She holds an MPH in Health Policy from Yale University and earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology and Society from Cornell University.

  • Emely Aquino Feliz

    • Grants Finance Analyst, Post-Award

    Emely Aquino joined the VP&S Office for Research Post-Award as a Grants Finance Analyst in May 2021. In her role, she provides support for grants management activities to investigators from the TAUB Department and Cancer Center. Emely joined Columbia University in May 2018. Before joining the Office for Research, she worked as a Finance Administrative Assistant in the Chemical Engineering Department. She assisted investigators and the Business Manager with purchasing, compliance, and guidance. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Monroe College in 2016.

  • Adrian Austin

    • Training Specialist, Grants Management Services

    Adrian Austin joined the VP&S Office for Research in January 2021. As Training Specialist, he will work with both the Pre-Award and Post-Award Teams primarily to provide training in the following areas: compliance, policy, procedures and align all research administration guidelines to match University, Federal, and State regulations. Adrian will rely on his nearly 18 years of experience with grants and administration to help strengthen the teams to provide exceptional service to Departments and Researchers. Prior to joining the team, Adrian worked in various roles within Columbia University. His background in research and grants extends to the following areas: higher education research, arts education, secondary education, medical health, substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness. Adrian graduated from New York University – Gallatin School of Individualized Studies with a concentration in Sociology and Cultural Studies in 2004.

  • Luisa Chan, MA

    • Senior Research Administrator, Pre-Award

    Luisa Gomez Chan joined the VP&S Office for Research in April 2021, and has been with Columbia University since January 2003. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College Columbia University. Throughout the years, she has worked with multiple PIs on NIH-funded, Investigator-initiated, and University sponsored projects. She has contributed to grant writing, budget preparation, IRB management, and overall program implementation. As a Senior Research Administrator, she will provide overall support for grant proposals from initiation to award, including administration of Progress Reports.

  • Cristina Chen, PhD

    • Grants Finance Analyst, Post-Award

    Cristina Chen joined the VP&S Office for Research in October 2018.  As Grants Coordinator in the Pre-Award Team, she handled all pre-award activities for faculty, postdoctoral scientists, and graduate students in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Genetics & Development.  In her current role as Grants Finance Analyst in the Post-Award Team, Cristina handles post-award activities for faculty in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.  Before joining the Office for Research, her doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on the identification and characterization of modulators of skin sensory neuron development and the characterization of neuropsychiatric risk genes identified via next-generation sequencing, respectively.  In addition, Cristina has held academic service leadership positions, including Chair of the Postdoctoral Career Development Program, Elected Member of the Postdoctoral Liaison Committee, and Co-Chair of the Graduate Student Recruitment Committee.  She is also committed to science outreach and advocacy efforts, and has served as a mentor for the Partners for the Future Program for high school students, and has advocated for increased funding to the NIH at the Rally for Medical Research in Washington D.C.  Cristina holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University, a PhD in Neuroscience from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed her postdoctoral training at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

    Crisitina Chen
  • Shelby Hochberg, MPA

    • Research Administrator, Pre-Award

    Shelby Hochberg joined the VP&S Office for Research in August 2020. Previously, she worked as a clinical research coordinator for the rheumatology departments at Howard University Hospital and the DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Shelby managed clinical trials, public health initiatives, and disease registries from inception to closure. She also worked as a research assistant at Binghamton University, writing about team science, research development, and the success of students with disabilities in higher education. In both roles, she was responsible for identifying funding opportunities and writing or helping to write successful grants to foundations and government entities. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MPA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Binghamton University. As a Grants Coordinator in the Pre-Award Core, Shelby provides pre-award grant preparation and submission support for basic science and clinical research faculty at CUIMC.

  • Hazal Kayalioglu

    • Grants Coordinator, Pre-Award

    Hazal Kayalioglu joined the VP&S Office for Research Pre-Award Core in November 2021. Prior to joining the VP&S Office for Research at Columbia, she worked as an Epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emerging Infections Program at Yale University’s School of Public Health, in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Public Health. She was responsible for conducting population-based surveillance and research analyses of state reportable diseases. Her research focused on the evaluation of Hospital Acquired Infections and their species distribution, antifungal drug resistance, treatment practices, and outcomes. She received her BS in Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University and is an MPH candidate of Global Health from New York University.

  • Ariana Malave

    • Grants Finance Analyst, Post-Award

    Ariana Malave joined the VP&S Post Award team in September 2021. Prior to her position at VP&S, she spent two and a half years at Weill Cornell Medicine as a Grants Administrator, where she also served as an administrator to two concurrent program project grants within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Previous to her time at Weill Cornell, Ariana spent seven years with the Mailman School of Public Health, where she worked as an Administrative Coordinator within the Office of the Dean. Ariana worked on several school wide projects and initiatives under the direction of the Vice Dean of Finance and Administration, Vice Dean of Research and Innovation, and the Executive Director of the Columbia Population Health Partnership. Ariana holds a Bachelors in Psychology from Seton Hall University, and completed a Graduate Business Certificate from the School of Professional studies at Columbia University.  In Ariana’s new role with the post award team she will be supporting research portfolios from the departments of Neurosurgery, Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology.

  • Pelayo Melgarejo Amian

    • Grants Finance Analyst, Post-Award

    Pelayo M. Amian joined the VP&S Office for Research in April 2021. As a Grants Finance Analyst for the post-award core, Pelayo helps our investigators to keep their research portfolio in good financial health. He also advises our investigators in compliance matters and assists with various research-based financial initiatives. Prior to joining the Office for Research, Pelayo worked for the Taub Institute, where he managed the ADRC program and coordinated the pre and post-award initiatives of the institute. Pelayo holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University and is currently working on obtaining his master’s in public administration at CU.   

  • Julius Solatorio, MA

    • Grants Coordinator, Pre-Award

    Julius Solatorio joined the VP&S Office for Research Pre-award Core as Grants Coordinator in September 2021. In his role, he supports researchers and clinicians with grant submissions and other administrative activities. Before joining Columbia, he worked at the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence as a Program Coordinator, and before that worked as a Clerical Assistant at Rutgers University. He has experience in program management, budgeting, and leading and facilitating the efforts of multiple teams. He graduated cum laude with a BA and highest honors in Philosophy from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

  • Olivia Sudol

    • Grants Coordinator-Pre-Award

    Olivia Sudol joined the VP&S Office for Research in the summer of 2023. She graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Psychology with Honors from The Macaulay Honors College at The City College of New York. Her studies and research primarily focused on the intersections of science and music, specifically the fields of developmental psychology, cultural psychology, and ethnomusicology. She has experience working in cultural institutions and non-profits. Olivia was first exposed to grants administration at The City College of New York, where she worked as a grant coordinator for a large behavioral sciences grant proposal. She will use this experience to help her efficiently provide grant preparation and submission support in her new role as a Grants Coordinator in the Pre-Award Team.

  • Sandra Yoshida, MA

    • Senior Research Administrator, Pre-Award

    Sandra Yoshida joined the Office for Research as a Senior Research Administrator in August 2021. She received her M.A. in Adult Learning & Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Sandra has over ten years of experience working in pre and post-award management at Columbia University. She has worked with many sponsors, including the DOD, NIH, NSF, NYSTEM, foundations, and industrial grants. Sandra will work in the Pre-Award Core group and manage and provide support for grant submissions and all administrative activities within the Pre-Award Core for the Basic Science Departments at CUIMC.

  • Brooke Snyder

    • Grants Finance Manager

    Brooke Snyder joined the VP&S Office for Research in July 2022 as a Grants Finance Manager.  She provides post-award grants management for faculty in the Department of Dermatology and the Institute of Human Nutrition.  Before joining the Office for Research, she worked as a Project Manager at Population Council for 3 years, an international nonprofit research organization.  At Population Council, she provided pre and post award grants management and served as a study coordinator on a clinical trial.  Brooke began her career in the entertainment industry as a production coordinator, providing project management on nearly 100 commercials.  Brooke holds a BA in Communications from Tulane University.

  • Lily Greenberg

    • Grants Coordinator, Pre-award

    Lily Greenberg joined the VP&S Office for Research Pre-award Core as Grants Coordinator in September 2022. In her role, she supports researchers and clinicians with grant submissions and other administrative activities. Before joining Columbia, she worked at the Portland Recovery Community Center as Communications Specialist, and before that, Communications Assistant and Grants Editor at the University of New Hampshire. She has experience in writing, marketing, information architecture, and program coordination. Lily holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Hampshire.

  • Chelsea Wicks

    • Grants Coordinator -Pre-Award

    Chelsea Wicks joined the VP&S Office for Research Pre-Award Core as a Grants Coordinator in June 2023. In her role, she supports researchers and clinicians with grant submissions and other administrative activities. Before Columbia, she worked at Fordham University as a Senior Academic Advisor and served in various academic affairs roles at the University of Louisville. She received her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and these days, she enjoys learning more about NYC and bantering with her spicy calico named Juliet.

  • Isabella Dixon

    • Grants Coordinator-Pre-Award

    Isabella Dixon, MFA, joined the VP&S Office for Research as a Pre-Award Grants Coordinator in February 2024. She supports researchers and clinicians with grant submissions and other administrative activities in her role. Before joining Columbia, she worked as a Costume Artisan for Colin Davis Jones Studios in New York City and as a freelance costume designer. She received her MFA in Costume Design for Theatre from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2021. Before that, she worked as a Legal Assistant in Buffalo, NY. She received a BA in Theatre with a minor in History from SUNY Geneseo in 2016. 

VP&S Office for Research Advisory Committee

  • Swarnali Acharyya, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology
  • Henry Colecraft, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and Pharmacology
  • Henry Ginsberg, MD, Professor of Medicine
  • Ivaylo Ivanov, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Fangming Lin, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology
  • Rodney Rothstein, PhD, Professor of Genetics and Development
  • Alexander Sobolevsky, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
  • Ronald Wapner, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Ai Yamamoto, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology

Contact Us

630 West 168th Street
Physicians & Surgeons, 15-402
New York, NY 10032
United States