Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research Leadership Team

  • John MacMillan, Vice Chancellor for Research

    John MacMillan, Vice Chancellor for Research

    Dr. John MacMillan is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where his research laboratory focuses on the discovery and characterization of biologically active molecules from microorganisms. This research has focused predominately on the therapeutic areas of infectious disease and oncology, combining phenotypic screening, isolation and mechanism of action studies towards the discovery of more than 100 new natural products. This work has led to establishment of the Center for High Functional Annotation of Natural Products (HIFAN), which is a multi-institutional center funded by the NIH to study the mechanism of botanicals and natural products. His work in the area of oncology has yielded a first in-class inhibitor of Hypoxia Inducible Factor 2 (HIF-2) that is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma.

    Dr. MacMillan holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis. Prior to moving to the University of California, Santa Cruz he was on faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

    Q&A with John MacMillan

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    Kelly Graham, Executive Associate to the Vice Chancellor for Research

    Kelly Graham is the executive associate to the Vice Chancellor for Research. She provides daily administrative/analytical support to the VCR and AVCs and oversees special projects. She has 10 years experience providing executive support in nonprofit organizations prior to joining UC Santa Cruz. Kelly holds a B.A. in Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara.
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    Eric Palkovacs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

    Dr. Eric Palkovacs is a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, associate director of the Institute of Marine Sciences, and director of the Fisheries Collaborative Program. He is also the UCSC lead principal investigator for the Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems (CIMEAS), a consortium of nine Califironia institutions working in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Csilla Csaplar

    Csilla M. Csaplár, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Administration

    Csilla M. Csaplár leads and supports the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), Office of Research Compliance Administration (ORCA), Research Integrity, and Proposal Administration. She joins UCSC with extensive experience in lifecycle sponsored research proposal and award management, policy development and compliance, and academic affairs partnership and support. Prior to coming to UCSC, Csilla spent 18 years at Stanford University, where she held a variety of positions in research administration with pre-award, post-award, and compliance responsibilities. She is a dedicated advocate and ally for equity and inclusion initiatives. Csilla is active in the national research administration community, including leadership and teaching roles with NCURA and FDP, and participation in COGR. Csilla began her career in grants management at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is a graduate of UCLA (B.A. Biogeography) and California State University, East Bay (M.S. Educational Leadership). 
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    Ryan Sharp, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Business Engagement

    Ryan Sharp leads the Innovation and Business Engagement Hub (The Hub), which helps support the campus community in bringing to market cutting-edge research and ideas from faculty, students and innovators, expanding corporate philanthropy and partnerships, creating more career pathways for students, and supporting a thriving regional economy. Sharp earned a master’s degree in international affairs from CSU, Sacramento, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from UC Davis. He also holds a graduate certificate in collaborative governance from CSU, Sacramento, and the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council. Sharp has been with the UC System since 2015 and joined UCSC in 2021.
  • Andrea Pesce, Director, Industry Alliances & Licensing

    Andrea Pesce, Director, Industry Alliances & Licensing

    Andrea Pesce is the Director of Industry Alliances & Licensing. She serves all divisions of campus by creating new and strengthening existing corporate partnerships for research sponsorships and collaborations, in addition to other faculty and student engagements with industry. She also oversees the licensing operations which include marketing IP, identifying licensing partners and negotiating licenses to realize the best value for UC Santa Cruz intellectual property. Before joining the Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization team, Andrea worked in the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University for over seven years, and before that she in-licensed university IP for a biotechnology company. Andrea holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Hampshire and a M.S. in Biology from San Diego State University, as well as professional certificates from Stanford.
  • Mykell Discipulo, Director, Office of Research Business and Operations

    Mykell Discipulo, Director, Office of Research Business and Operations

    Mykell has been with UCSC for over 18 years.  Since 2011, Mykell has supported UCSC research projects and interdisciplinary institutes including the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics. In 2018, she moved to the Division of Social Sciences to help launch the Institute for Social Transformation. She has also served in the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Chancellor's Office. Prior to working at UCSC, she conducted research and managed labs as part of the Astrobiology group at NASA Ames Research Center. Mykell holds a B.S. in Oceanography from Humboldt State University and an MPA from San Jose State University.
  • Vacant, Director, Research Development

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    Deirdre Beach, Director, Office of Sponsored Projects

    Deirdre Beach is the Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP). Deirdre oversees the OSP proposal and Award teams in grant and contract submission, award negotiation and acceptance, and non-financial post-award administration. Deirdre has worked in OSP since 2003, most recently as Assistant Director, prior to being appointed as Director in 2018.
  • Jeff Jackson, Director, Innovation Transfer

    Jeff Jackson, Director, Innovation Transfer

    Jeff Jackson is the Director of Innovation Transfer. He oversees invention disclosure intake, patent filing and prosecution strategy, management of all aspects of the intellectual property portfolio, management of outside patent and litigation counsel, as well as implementing and executing new systems and processes for intellectual property management.  

    Jeff was most recently the Senior Patent Associate at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and prior to that, he was the Intellectual Property Manager at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. He graduated cum laude from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University with a JD and certificates in Biotechnology and the Law and Intellectual Property.

    Prior to becoming interested in working with intellectual property, Jeff had a 12 year career in biotechnology research in both the academic and industry settings. He holds an MS in Immunology from the University of Washington and a BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford.