Offices & People
The Office of Research is the university point of contact for submission of research proposals; identifying sources of research funding both inside and outside the university; and participation in, and initiation of, major inter-disciplinary university research programs and formation of research units.
We also provide training for pursuing major research and research funding opportunities; clearance for institutionally limited research competitions; financial disclosures and conflict of interest statements; and research ethics and handling research misconduct.
Vice President of Research
Ishwar K. Puri
Vice President of Research
Dr. Ishwar K. Puri is the vice president of research and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at University of Southern California. He oversees the USC Office of Research that guides the university’s research programs.
He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Dr. Puri is the author of over 200 archival publications and books that have been cited over 7,500 times per Google Scholar with an H-Index of 49. He is ranked among the top 2% of scientists in the world based on the citations of those who published between 1965-2019. He has founded and mentored startups, most recently Celerite Labs that produces a rapid printer for cells and tissues.
Prior to his appointment at University of Southern California, Dr. Puri was dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In Canada, he was one of eighteen members of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, an appointment made by the Governor General of Canada. He served as chair of Engineering Deans Canada which has forty-four members.
Before that, he was N. Waldo Harrison professor of engineering science and mechanics (ESM) at Virginia Tech where he served as department head from 2004-13.
Dr. Puri obtained his Ph.D. (1987), and M.S. (1984) degrees in Engineering Science (Applied Mechanics) from the University of California, San Diego after obtaining a B.Sc. (1982) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delhi (Delhi College of Engineering). He served as an Assistant Research Engineer at the University of California, San Diego from 1987-90.
Thereafter, he was appointed as assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 1990, promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 1994, and to the rank of professor in 1999. He served at UIC as associate dean for research and graduate studies (2000-01) and as executive associate dean of engineering (2001-04).
Dr. Puri serves on the editorial board of Scientific Reports, a Nature Group journal, and is an associate editor of Research, a Science partner journal.
Department of Animal Resources
The Department of Animal Resources (DAR) provides and ensures appropriate care in all aspects of USC animal research.
Dr. Ari Aycock-Williams has always enjoyed working with animals in multiple capacities. She put this joy to work after earning a B.S. in Biopsychology and the Cognitive Sciences from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and then obtaining a D.V.M. from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan. She then trained to specialize in Laboratory Animal Medicine through the combined residency at the University of Southern California and City of Hope in Duarte, California. She is board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.
Dr. Aycock-Williams first joined USC in 2009 and has served in various roles supporting research, including Clinical Veterinarian, Senior Clinical Veterinarian, and Associate Director. She has implemented didactic animal training programs, enhanced surgical veterinary care and support for various projects, and provided regulatory guidance to continue USC’s accreditation. She is also a member of several committees that frame USC’s commitment to service. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, a member of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science, American Association of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. In her free-time she enjoys traveling with her husband, cycling, running, and cuddling her Beagle/Shar-Pei/Chihuahua mix.
Senior Operations Manager
Department of Contracts and Grants
The Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG) supports USC’s investigators from proposal development to award closeout, ensuring that USC’s sponsored project agreements are consistent with university standards for academic freedom, research ethics, and fiscal responsibility. DCG staff support the development and comprehensive review of proposals, skillfully negotiate externally sponsored awards, and serve as the primary points of contact and Authorized Institutional Officials in communications with research sponsors and regulatory agencies. DCG has primary responsibility for the interpretation of University-wide and campus policy, sponsor guidelines, and applicable federal and state laws and regulations related to sponsored projects. DCG also executes all outgoing subawards issued under sponsored projects agreements.
Jeri L. Muniz
Interim Associate Vice President of Research Administration (AVPRA)
Ms. Muniz, in her role as AVPRA, provides strategic oversight and leadership for research administration, including the Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG), Office of the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS), Department of Animal Resources (DAR), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Research Technology Services (RTS), and Office of Research Integrity (ORI). She works to streamline and integrate research administration processes and systems to meet the Office of Research goals to:
- Improve service to faculty researchers and reduce their administrative workload
- Increase operational efficiencies
- Improve institutional and regulatory compliance
Ms. Muniz began working in the field of research administration as a student at the University of California, Irvine. During her tenure at UCI, she held a number of roles in research administration: Grants Officer, Contracts Officer, Trainer, Conflict of Interest Administrator, Assistant Director and Director, Sponsored Projects. Ms. Muniz joined the Trojan Family as the Executive Director for the Department of Contracts and Grants in March 2008 and assumed responsibility for the overall management and administration of pre- and post-award non-financial services related to extramural proposals and awards. In July 2022, she was promoted to interim Associate Vice President of Research Administration expanding her oversight and role in supporting the USC research community.
Department of Contracts and Grants
DCG Staff Directory
Institute for Creative Technologies
The Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) is a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) that merges the creativity of the Los Angeles entertainment industry with computing to develop and deploy virtual reality training systems.
Randall W. Hill, Jr. is the executive director of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. Located in Los Angeles, ICT is a University Affiliated Research Center sponsored by the United States Army. The mission of the ICT is to perform research on immersive technologies and apply them to training, education and therapy. Hill steers the institute’s exploration of how AI, virtual humans, augmented and virtual reality, vision and graphics, dramatic films, social simulations and educational videogames can augment more traditional methods for imparting lessons.
Hill is a full research professor in the Computer Science department at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He has over seventy publications in journals, conferences and books on topics related to his research in artificial intelligence, intelligent tutoring, and virtual humans.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1978, he served six years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, with assignments in field artillery and military intelligence. He worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a member of technical staff and project leader for eleven years, beginning in 1984, and he joined the University of Southern California in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Southern California in 1993.
Institute for Creative Technologies
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees USC’s animal programs, animal facilities, and policies ensuring appropriate care, ethical use and humane treatment of animals.
Office for the Protection of Research Subjects
USC’s Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) develops program-wide policies for the conduct and review of human subjects research at USC, provides education and training, and oversees the Institutional Review Boards (IRB), which review projects involving human subjects research.
Dr. Slayton serves as the Director of the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects. She is responsible for AAHRPP re-accreditation, reviewing and developing policies, identifying and implementing best practices, and fostering research ethics education for USC. Dr. Slayton previously served as the Chair of the University Park Campus Institutional Review Board from 2014-2019. She serves or has served as a member of the faculty for the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) Advancing Ethical Research Conference and the planning committee and faculty for the PRIM&R Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research Conference.
Dr. Slayton is Professor of Clinical Education at USC Rossier, where she teaches in the Educational Leadership and Organizational Change and Leadership EdD programs. She is a qualitative researcher, focusing on the quality of instruction provided to children in elementary school classrooms and adults in professional development settings. As a researcher, she continues to be most interested in understanding and creating the learning conditions and the pedagogy/andragogy necessary to improve child and adult learning opportunities in urban preK-20 settings.
Prior to her tenure at USC, Dr. Slayton worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for almost 10 years. During that time, she served in a variety of research and leadership roles. As the Director for Research and Planning and the Executive Director for the Office of Strategic Planning and Accountability, she directed research and policy analysis related to the implementation of instructional policies and programs in the District. Prior to this position, she served as the Assistant Chief of Staff to the Superintendent, the Chief Accountability Officer for the District and as a Chief Research Scientist for the District’s Program Evaluation and Research Branch. Prior to her work with the District, Dr. Slayton studied charter schools and school finance at UCLA. In addition, Dr. Slayton practiced law and was a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on Federal and State laws pertaining to students’ constitutional rights on campus and inter-agency information sharing regarding juveniles who are at risk of or already engaged in delinquent behavior. She holds a BA in History for the University of California, San Diego (1989), a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law (1993), and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (1999).
Interim Director, USC Institutional Review Board
Institutional Review Board
IRB Staff Directory
Chair, HSC Biomedical Institutional Review Board
Chair, UPC Social Behavioral Institutional Review Board
Office of Research Advancement
The Office of Research Advancement (ORA), formed in 2006, is a service resource for USC that strategically pursues competitive federal funding opportunities with a targeted focus on large, multidisciplinary research endeavors.
Moldin directs USC’s research advancement efforts in Washington, D.C. He has conducted research at New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University and was a faculty member at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1995, Moldin joined the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one of the National Institutes of Health, to manage an extramural research portfolio. He left in 2006, having led the Office of Human Genetics & Genomic Resources and having served as Associate Director of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science. Moldin was responsible for the fiscal and scientific management of a $200 million grants and contracts portfolio, and increased the yearly funding of NIMH’s human genetics research portfolio by 56% over two years.
Moldin is an associate editor of Genes, Brain, and Behavior and serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Moldin has published over 50 papers and book chapters in the areas of psychiatric genetics, schizophrenia, autism and neuroscience. He is co-editor of Methods in Genomic Neuroscience and Understanding Autism: From Basic Neuroscience to Treatment.
Moldin received his B.A. magna cum laude with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa in psychology from Boston University (1983), his M.A. in psychology from Yeshiva University (1985), and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yeshiva University (1988). He completed an internship at Hillside Hospital – Long Island Jewish Medical Center (1988) and received postdoctoral training in genetics at Washington University School of Medicine (1988-1991).
Director of Physical Sciences
Research Advancement Director, Intelligence And Cyber Initiatives
Project Specialist – Administrative
Senior Grant Writer
Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities
The Office of Research Initiatives & Facilities (ORIF) advocates for faculty research interests and supports faculty-led research across the university, including faculty mentoring and development and training through the Center for Excellence in Research. Additionally, ORIF has oversight of internal award programs, limited submissions, as well as core facilities/shared resources invoicing.
Silvia da Costa
Dr. da Costa received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California. Her research focused on cytoskeletal filament system regulation of membrane traffic and development of a disease model for Sjögren’s syndrome. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in Physics, French and Journalism, is a native speaker of English and Portuguese, and has working knowledge of Spanish, French and Italian.
Dr. da Costa serves as Director of the Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities, as well as Diversity Officer for the Office of Research and is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy. Previously, she worked as a Research Scientist for Access Business Group, investigating the efficacy and safety of medicinal plants for use in therapeutic product development. She holds various product patents.
The Office of Research Initiatives & Facilities advocates for faculty research interests and supports faculty-led research across the university including faculty mentoring, development and training, through the Center for Excellence in Research (CER). Additionally, ORIF has oversight of internal USC-funded grants, awards, and research funding as well as core facilities/shared resources invoicing.
Public Communications Coordinator
Office of Research Integrity
The mission of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is to foster a culture of integrity within the entire USC research community. The office works at university, school, and department levels to educate faculty, staff, trainees and students about responsible conduct in research and laboratory practices.
Institutional Research Integrity Officer
Serving in the role of a senior scientist-investigator and acting in the role of deputy director at the Division of Investigative Oversight (ORI), Federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Dr. Grace was a leading speaker in federal research regulations, research misconduct and the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Dr. Grace has trained and counseled RIOs nationally on the proper conduct of research integrity investigations, utilizing many of the ORI data forensic techniques that she helped develop.
As a physician, she worked closely with the federal Office of Human Research Protections regarding matters of human subject research integrity. Dr. Grace served as Director of Human Subject Research and Compliance at both Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where she combined her medical ethics training, regulatory knowledge and commitment to investigative excellence in guiding institutional review boards and clinical research teams.
Dr. Grace acted as subject matter expert for “The Lab” and co-creator of “The Research Clinic,” two interactive instructional videos used by institutions nationwide. Dr. Grace received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the State University of Stony Brook in New York. She trained in OB/GYN at Albert Einstein in New York followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in reproductive sciences at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Research Technology Services
Research Technology Services (RTS) maintains and supports the following systems: diSClose and iStar. diSClose is used for managing conflicts of interest and iStar is used by research involving human subjects, animals, biohazardous substances and radioactive substances or emitting devices.
Martin Koning-Bastiaan is responsible for the iStar research regulatory system and the diSClose conflicts of interest system. These systems support research compliance for several regulatory committees, including the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at USC and CHLA; the conflicts of interest in research committees at USC and CHLA; the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at USC; and the Biosafety and Radiation Safety committees at USC. He has been at USC since 2006.
Prior to his current position at USC, he worked as Director of Technology for MERLOT, an international consortium of universities collaborating on the use of online educational resources, originating out of the California State University system. Martin was responsible for the design and implementation of the MERLOT system. He began his technical career as a research scientist in Apple’s Advanced Technology Group in 1997. Martin holds a Master’s degree in Educational Theory from Stanford University and is currently working on a doctorate in Regulatory Science at USC.
Programmer Analyst IV
Programmer Analyst II
Programmer Analyst II
Programmer Analyst I
USC Stevens Center for Innovation
As the technology licensing office for the University of Southern California, the Stevens Center for Innovation plays a key role in Southern California’s innovation ecosystem.
As Executive Director, she leads a team of 30 to ensure that USC supports translational research, intellectual property management, patenting, licensing, startups, mentoring and translational funding.
Dyer has 20 years of experience and a strong record of success in technology transfer, including serving as Director of Technology Development at The Scripps Research Institute. At TSRI, Dyer contributed to growth in both licensing activity and corporate sponsored research, including the management of major funding relationships with Novartis, Johnson & Johnson and PPG. Her experience at TSRI includes supervising 800 licensing negotiations for equity, royalties and other financial terms, formation of 30 start-up companies and more than 300 research funding agreements.
Dyer joins USC from Life Technologies Corporation, where she served as a Corporate Development Consultant, leading the development of negotiation strategy and negotiating key licensing deals. Prior to Life Technologies, Dyer served as Vice President of Business Development for Wellspring Worldwide where she developed the strategy for the marketing and sales of Wellspring’s Knowledge Management System to corporations and academic institutions, as well as expansion into Asia-Pacific markets.
Dyer is a Certified Licensing Professional and has a degree in Physiology from California State University, Long Beach. Dyer has been an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) since 1993.
Administrative Assistant II