The BRDO Team

DAVID TRINKLE - DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT

Dave is the Director of BRDO, where he coordinates a diverse team of research development experts. Drawing on over 20 years of experience with federal research agencies and over a dozen years with UC Berkeley, he also advises the Vice Chancellor for Research, deans, and faculty on federal funding opportunities and strategy. While at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 2000 to 2007, he was responsible for budget development and related policy issues for NSF, NASA, OSTP, and research agencies across the government. In previous work at the RAND Corporation and the Aerospace Corporation, he performed engineering and policy research for several federal agencies, including NSF and the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Transportation. He has a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis and degrees in Electrical Engineering and Systems Engineering.
Contact: dtrinkle@berkeley.edu; (510) 207-6233

ERICA WHITNEY - Associate Director for Strategy and Training

Erica is BRDO’s Associate Director for Strategy and Training. Erica provides a wide range of strategic initiative and proposal development services, with expertise in facilitating team building and team science, project conceptualization, proposal organization, and editing. Erica also has significant experience providing training on proposal development, NIH and NSF policies and programs, and scientific writing. Erica has supported research development efforts at UC Berkeley since 2010, building on her research development positions at UC Davis and the UC Davis School of Medicine from 2004 to 2010. Her technical writing and editing experience extends back to 1998. She has a degree in History and Political Science from Wellesley College.
Contact: evwhitney@berkeley.edu

PANAGIOTIS VAGENAS - DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT

Panos is the Deputy Director of BRDO, where he provides strategic proposal development support and helps define strategic directions for research at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining BRDO, Panos was one of the inaugural members of the research development team at San José State University, where he helped shape the vision and practices of the Office of Research and supported the development of complex proposals to federal agencies. Panos has over 20 years of research experience. He received his bachelor’s and master’s in biochemistry and Ph.D. in immunology from Imperial College London and a Master of Public Health from Yale University. He was a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine, focusing on substance abuse and HIV. Following Yale, he joined a global health and development nonprofit, where he oversaw the institutional research agenda, the ethical conduct of research, and strategic research planning. He then worked for a clinical research organization, where he oversaw over 20 industry-sponsored clinical trials. He has authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles published in high-impact journals and, in addition to grant writing and reviewing, he is experienced in quantitative and qualitative research methods, research design, project management and evaluation.
Contact: pvagenas@berkeley.edu; (510) 644-9104

BARBARA USTANKO - RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

­­­­Barbara is a Research Development Specialist at BRDO, where she provides a range of development and support services for major institutional and strategic proposals. A board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences, she joined our research development team in 2014, bringing with her more than two decades of expertise in federal and foundation proposal development and scientific and technical editing. She holds a B.A. from Pomona College and masters’ degrees in English composition and discourse analysis from San Francisco State University. There, she also dedicated more than a decade to building NIH- and NSF-funded biomedical, behavioral, and environmental research infrastructure and to securing foundation funding for centers and institutes. She previously worked as senior proposal development staff for an interdisciplinary research team at UCSF/SFVAMC and served on the proposal review committee of a community education foundation. 
Contact: ustanko@berkeley.edu; (510) 664-9106

KATE SPOHR - RESEARCH OUTREACH SPECIALIST

Kate is a Research Outreach Specialist at BRDO. She provides a range of proposal support services, with a focus on helping principal investigators to strategize and develop plans that expand the Broader Impacts of their research. From 2006 to 2014, Kate served as Education Manager for the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), a multi-campus NSF Engineering Research Center headquartered at UC Berkeley. Since 2009, she has co-chaired the Coalition for Education and Outreach (CEO), a network of faculty, staff, and students who work in STEM education and public outreach at UC Berkeley and the community at large. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Kate worked in program management, development, and training in industry and the non-profit sector. She has an M.A. in film from Stanford University.
Contact: kspohr@berkeley.edu; (510) 664-9102

VICTORIA STEFFES - RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

Victoria is a Research Development Specialist at BRDO, specializing in complex proposal development for the College of Engineering. She joined BRDO directly from finishing her Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara in Biochemistry with an emphasis in Bioengineering, during which she was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2015–2018). She received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Barnard College (Columbia University) and completed post-bac research at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Victoria has diverse STEM editing, science communication, and grant proposal support experience. She worked with the Research Development Office at UC Santa Barbara during her PhD, specifically as part of the new faculty training program. She loves learning about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of research projects, and about the impacts of research and technology on society. Victoria enjoys the challenge of using her communication skills to craft clear, strong proposals in support of the compelling research at UC Berkeley.
Contact: vsteffes@berkeley.edu; (510) 664-9108

MEG HARRIS - PROGRAM MANAGER, FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITED SUBMISSIONS

Meg Harris is the Program Manager, Funding Opportunities and Limited Submissions at BRDO. Prior to joining BRDO, Meg was with the University of Virginia for almost 15 years. She most recently worked as the Research Development Project Manager in the Office of the Vice President for Research, where she managed UVA’s limited submission opportunities process and provided project management for other research initiatives. Her previous positions at UVA include serving as a Business Systems Analyst in Information Technology Services and as the Graduate Program Administrator in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Meg holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Lynchburg and a master’s degree from Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Contact: ltdsubs@berkeley.edu

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