Miami CTSI

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CTSI Executive Leadership

The CTSI Executive Leadership maintains administrative, fiscal, and scientific oversight our CTSA hub.

Ralph SaccoRalph Sacco, M.D., Director & Principal Investigator

Dr. Ralph Sacco is the Principal Investigator of the Miami Clinical Translational Science Institute,Chairman of Neurology, Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, Miller Professor of Neurology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Human Genetics, and Neurosurgery, Executive Director of the Evelyn McKnight Brain Institute at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, and Chief of the Neurology Service at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Since 1990, he has been the founding Principal Investigator of the Northern Manhattan Study, which provided the first description of the greater incidence of stroke in Hispanics, who had not really been investigated previously. A highly successful physician-scientist-educator, he is also a member of the American Association of Physicians, fellow of the Stroke and Epidemiology Councils of the American Heart Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and a member of the American Neurological Association.

Jonelle Wright, Ph.D., Associate Director & Co-Investigator

Dr. Jonelle Wright is Associate Dean for Regulatory Support and Quality Improvement and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery. Having worked at institutions including Johns Hopkins, Baylor, and University of Oklahoma, she was Research Safety Advisor for the General Clinical Research Center, and is an expert in building multidisciplinary translational research infrastructures in academic medical centers and minority institutions, research center grants and operational development, and ethical conduct of clinical research/protection of clinical research participants/IRB. Having served on the CTSA review panel since its inception, Dr. Wright is highly familiar with the CTSA mechanism and its operations.

As Associate Director of the Miami CTSI, she is jointly responsible for the scientific oversight of day-to-day operations. She also oversees the Regulatory Knowledge and Support program.

Dushyantha Jayaweera, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Research

Dr. Dushyantha T. Jayaweera is Senior Associate Dean for Research and previously the Associate Vice Provost for Human Subject Protection. Dr. Jayaweera has over 20 years of experience in HIV and serves as the Director for the HIV/HCV co-infection clinic.

He has received grant support from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Jayaweera has led and continues to lead numerous industry-funded trials HIV and HIV/HCV coinfection and has published more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles, while maintaining a clinical practice and serving the UM research community. Additionally, he serves the larger South Florida community as an AIDS educator, and is a senior faculty member of the AIDS Education and Training Center.

John Bixby, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research

With over 100 co-authored publications and numerous NSF- and NIH-funded research studies, Dr. John Bixby, Vice Provost for Research and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and Neurological Surgery, has earned his place as a distinguished scientist and leader at the University of Miami. Dr. Bixby first joined the University in 1988 as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, and became Professor in 1997. He has served as Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Director of the Neuroscience Ph.D. Program, Director of the UM Neuroscience Center, and Founding Director of the Ph.D. Programs in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS).

Prior to his arrival at the University, Dr. Bixby completed his Bachelor’s degree with distinction at Cornell University in 1975 and earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the California Institute of Technology in 1980. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, and at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) before becoming Assistant Research Physiologist at UCSF. Dr. Bixby’s research has focused on axon growth and synapse formation in the nervous system. Since 2003, Dr. Bixby has successfully collaborated with Vance Lemmon, Ph.D., the Walter G. Ross Distinguished Chair in Developmental Neuroscience and Professor of Neurological Surgery, to identify genes and signaling networks that promote or hinder axon regeneration following spinal cord injury.

José Szapocznik Ph.D., Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences

Dr. José Szapocznik is the Honorary Founding Director of the Miami Clinical Translational Science Institute, Director of the Center for Family Studies, and professor in the departments of Public Health Sciences, Architecture, Psychology, and Educational Research & Counseling Psychology. He is ranked among the top NIH-funded investigators, making him the third highest funded public health investigator in the world and among the top 100 out of more than 36,000 investigators in all fields worldwide. Dr. Szapocznik has over 275 scholarly publications. In his four decade career, he has received more than $120 million in NIH funding. His programs of research have focused on racial/ethnic minorities. He established the only Hispanic health science network in the U.S., which works closely with the NIH. Dr. Szapocznik has participated in NIH activities for over 30 years, having been the first ever behavioral scientist to have been appointed to the NIH-wide Program Advisory Committee (currently the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council), and a member of the National Advisory Councils for NIDA, NIMH, and NCMHD/NIMHD.

Barbara A. Cole, Associate Vice President for Research Administration

Barbara A. Cole, Associate Vice President for Research Administration at the University of Miami, provides leadership for sponsored administration which includes proposal review, processing, contract negotiations, award funding, expenditure and compliance monitoring and serves as audit liaison for the Institution for sponsored awards. In this same capacity she is also responsible for sponsored cash management, university-wide reporting, and regulatory education and training programs. In addition, Mrs. Cole leads the facilities and administrative (indirect cost) rate calculation and negotiations, serves as an empowered official for export control and technology management and is responsible for the financial review and set-up of recharge centers.

Previously, Barbara served as the Director of the Office of Sponsored Research, Stanford University; Associate Vice President for Research Administration, Boston University; CFO, Boston University Medical Campus; and as Associate Controller at the University of Cincinnati.

Sheela Dominguez, Director of CTSI Strategic Operations
Sheela Dominguez provides overall strategic support and leads the development of research collaborations between UM and other institutions. She has extensive experience with leading large grant and contract proposals, external reporting efforts, and strategic planning initiatives to develop and refine strategies to accomplish the CTSI’s mission, including disseminating best practices to ensure consistent application of strategic planning principles. She is responsible for the formulation of strategic plans and ultimately responsible for fiscal, evaluation tracking and impact metrics, project management oversight for various programs; and work collaboratively with the Director of Business Operations on the budget appropriation and oversight.

Daru Lane Ransford, Director of CTSI Business Operations

Daru Ransford provides overall operational support for the management of the Miami CTSI overseeing the daily operations and programmatic activities for the Institute. She has extensive operational and administrative experience including helping lead the large multidisciplinary team of the Miami CTSI. Daru serves as a liaison with the University’s operational administrative units such as human resources, information technology, space management, facilities, research administration and also central administrative units including faculty affairs, Dean, Provost and President’s Offices. Additionally she supports program leadership with other key stakeholder partnerships including our Hub partner activities and initiatives.

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