Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D. is the Vice President for Research at UT Health San Antonio and a professor of pharmacology. He oversees the institutional research infrastructure and the budget and operations of the Institutional Laboratory Animal Facility, Clinical Trials Office, Office of Clinical Research, Office of Technology Commercialization, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and Institutional Research Cores. He is actively involved in promoting new academia-industry partnerships and developing policies and educational platforms to foster entrepreneurial skills among faculty and students. Giuffrida also serves as a liaison to the University of Texas System Office of Federal Relations and UT Health’s Office of Government Relations.
Mark Nijland, Ph.D. supports the VPR office in a broad range of activities. Specific responsibilities include: Research Information Technologies, Institutional Research Core Facilities and San Antonio Life Sciences Initiative. Dr. Nijland leads a small group of expert programmers and database architects focused on developing applications to enhance research support, reduce research faculty administrative burden and improve VPR integration with institutional business units. He is the VPR/Institutional contact for The Federal Demonstration Partnership (Technical and Faculty Representative), Elsevier SciVal Experts and the UT Research Cyberinfrastructure Faculty Working Group.
Robert A. Clark, M.D., MACP directs the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS), which comprises the academic home for the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). Program areas include Clinical Research Units, Pilot Projects, Technology and Drug Discovery, Biostatistics and Study Design, Biomedical Informatics, Regulatory Support, and Community Engagement. In addition, IIMS education, training, and career development activities include the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, Translational Science Ph.D. Program, and KL2 Mentored Career Development Program.
Assistant Vice President for Research Administration
Joseph Schmelz, Ph.D., RN, CIP, FAAN
Joseph Schmelz, Ph.D., RN, CIP, FAAN oversees the Conflict of Interest and Responsible Conduct of Research Programs, Research Protection Programs, Clinical Trials Office (CTO), and human and animal protections programs including the Office of the IRB (OIRB) and the Office of the Institutional Animal Care Program (OIACP). Dr. Schmelz also serves as UT Health San Antonio’s Research Integrity Officer (RIO).
Assistant Vice President for Office of Technology Commercialization
John Gebhard, Ph.D.
John Gebhard, Ph.D. is the Senior Executive Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at UT Health San Antonio, where he defines the strategy plus execution on the development and commercialization of innovative technologies. Dr. Gebhard’s broad experience in the academic, industry and the non-profit sectors enables him to create innovative, sustainable partnerships with various member of the biotechnology ecosystem. John received his doctorate in cellular, viral and molecular biology at the University of Utah and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in viral pathogenesis at The Scripps Research Institute.
Sunil Ahuja, M.D. oversees activities related to enhancing and facilitating the research programs of investigators and their funding via peer-reviewed and mentoring programs such as GrantSeekers 2.0, the Researcher’s Enhancement Program, and the Collaborative Research Program.
Jason R. Bates, MBA, is the Director of the Clinical Trials Office at UT Health San Antonio. Mr. Bates’ primary role is focused on research operations and financial management. Mr. Bates has experience in research, including: regulatory, operations and financial management of phase II-IV clinical research trials.
Sander Hacker, D.V.M. is the University Attending Veterinarian and Director for the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR). DLAR provides oversight and management of all aspects of the research animal care and use program at UT Health San Antonio which includes animal procurement, housing, husbandry and veterinary care along with investigator consultation and veterinary technical support during development and performance of research studies in accordance with federal, state and local regulations and policies, and the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC).
Jana Lesser is a tenured professor at UT Health San Antonio’s School of Nursing, the Director of the Center for Community-Based Health Promotion with Women and Children, and co-director of the South Texas AHEC Program. For over twenty years, Dr. Lesser has conducted community-engaged projects with individuals and communities living with a myriad of health and social inequities, for she has received both internal and external funding.
Director of Industry Relations and Strategic Partnership
Linda López-George, M.A.
Ms. López-George received her B.A. (with Honors) in Government and M.A. in Government (concentration in Public Administration) from The University of Texas at Austin. She has held senior-level positions in non-profit organizations and both private and public universities in Washington state and Texas. Over the past three decades, she has developed trustworthy relationships and had major roles in five capital campaigns for universities which collectively raised close to $400,000,000. Her current civic engagement includes appointments to the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Neighborhood Improvements Committee for the proposed 2017-2022 Bond Program.
Linda McManus, Ph.D. directs activities of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), an institutional resource to enhance the environment for postdoctoral research training. OPA maintains postdoctoral trainee databases; communicates with postdoctoral trainees via weekly announcements; provides orientation, mentoring, grantsmanship, and career development workshops; offers career counseling to postdoctoral trainees; assists in trainee recruitment; represents the institution at the American Association of Medical Colleges; facilitates postdoc research day; and, supports activities of the local postdoctoral association.
Mary Jo Pugh Ph.D., RN, FACMPH is a health services researcher with expertise in using existing health care systems and primary survey/interview data to examine the quality of care and outcomes associated with that care. Her prior work has focused on geriatric populations. More recent work has focused on outcomes of military exposures with an emphasis on traumatic injuries and sequelae. She is currently funded to examine the epidemiology of traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, cognitive dysfunction, and trajectories of cognitive, neurological, neurosensory, psychiatric, and pain. The focus of her emerging research includes improving population health by examining quality of the pharmacological and complementary/alternative approaches to treatment of neurological, neurosensory, psychiatric, and pain conditions.
Ramiro Ramirez-Solis, Ph.D. directs the Institutional Research Core Facilities and leads enhancement, coordination and collaborations with our research partners in the biosciences industry. He also oversees the business operations, infrastructure and investments for the institutional research cores. Prior to joining UT Health San Antonio, Dr. Ramirez-Solis served as head of scientific operations for mouse pipelines at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom for almost 10 years.
Curt Schiebel, CPA, is the Director of Finance & Administration in the Office of the Vice President for Research. He supports the VPR in overseeing budgetary and administrative operations of the VPR’s office and reporting departments, provides guidance and direction to ensure compliance with institutional policy and procedures, and acts as a liaison between the VPR and the many academic and service departments across the organization. During his 25 years with the UT Health San Antonio, Schiebel has actively served on many institutional committees and has gained broad experience in research and education administration.
Kimberly Summers, PharmD oversees all research involving human or animal subjects to ensure appropriate regulatory and compliance oversight by directing the IRB, IACUC, the research component of HIPAA, OCR and the administrative offices that support these functions; develops written program guidance with respect to issues of compliance with federal and state regulations; monitors and interprets legislation and policies regarding research involving human or animal subjects and recommends modifications to institutional policy as needed.
Barbara J. Turner MD, MSED, MA, MACP is the James D. and Ona I. Dye Professor of Medicine at the UT Health San Antonio and founding Director of the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH). She is a practicing general internist and author of over 175 peer-reviewed publications on topics addressing opportunities to improve prevention and outcomes of chronic diseases as well as reduce health disparities. Dr. Turner’s research currently addresses chronic disease management and cancer prevention in South Texas primary care practices serving predominantly low-income Hispanic populations.