Meet the ROMS Team
Office of Research Fellows and Staff

Fellows learn to connect science and business competencies to engage in innovative projects that enhance biomedical research.

Current Fellows
Ciara Witt Ciara Witt, Ph.D.
2023-2025 Cohort

Ciara attained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Truman State University, followed by a PhD in chemistry from the University of Michigan. Her computational biophysics dissertation under Dr. Aaron Frank centered on developing computational tools to elucidate the sequence, structure, and function of noncoding RNAs. As a graduate student, Ciara was a multi-year member of the U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine’s Grad Student & Postdoc Council and highly involved in undergraduate curriculum development. She is looking forward to the opportunity to draw upon her experience as a researcher to help solve some of the unique challenges faced by the units comprising the UMMS Office of Research.
Jessy Martinez Jessy Martinez, Ph.D.
2023-2025 Cohort

Jessy completed his bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and afterwards came to the University of Michigan where he received his PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB). His research work under the guidance of Dr. Sara Aton focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying cognition and synaptic plasticity during sleep in early neurodevelopment. During his graduate training, Jessy was involved in numerous committees focused on promoting both undergraduate and graduate student development and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the MCDB department. As a ROMS Fellow, Jessy is excited to use his PhD training to help the diverse units within the Office of Research advance the research efforts of the UM community. He is looking forward to the mentorship and guidance from various key leaders in the Office of Research to learn how to make impactful changes in overall research operations at the university level and beyond.
Shahana Chumki Shahana Chumki, Ph.D.
2022-2024 Cohort

Shahana completed her bachelor’s in biology at Eastern Michigan University and attained her Ph.D. in University of Michigan's Cell and Molecular Biology graduate program. Her thesis work, under Dr. Ann Miller, consisted of studying how epithelial cells maintain local barrier function during cell shape change events. During her graduate studies, Shahana participated and organized events for various committees within CMB, such as the short course committee and career committee. She was also selected as a co-Chair for the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Cell-cell Contact and Adhesion. As an ROMS fellow, Shahana is very interested in leveraging her skills as a bench scientist to help facilitate access to research and research tools to diverse graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty. She is eager to learn from leaders in the different units within the Office of Research and gain more experience to make an impact in research recruitment and retention here at U-M.
Latrice Faulkner Latrice D. Faulkner, Ph.D.
2022-2024 Cohort

Latrice received her bachelor’s degree in Biology at Kentucky State University and her doctoral degree in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases at The University of Toledo. She completed her postdoctoral training in the neuroendocrine regulation of metabolism with Dr. David Olson. Her research focused on discovering potential neuronal drug targets for treating obesity in partnership with the Novo Nordisk Drug Discovery Program. As a ROMS fellow, she is looking forward to learning skills related to the day-to-day operations of a clinical research operation while supporting the advancement of the UM research community. In her free time, Latrice is passionate about public outreach and sharing her knowledge and love for science within urban-educational school systems.
Program Support
Steven L. Kunkel, PhD Steven L. Kunkel, Ph.D.
Program Sponsor
Executive Vice Dean for Research, Medical School
Chief Scientific Officer, Michigan Medicine
Peter A. Ward Distinguished University Professor
Endowed Professor in Pathology Research
Photo of Victoria Blanc, PhD Victoria Blanc, Ph.D.
Program Director
Director, Central Biorepository
portrait of Kelly Kennaley Kelly Kennaley, Ph.D.
Program Manager
Project Manager for Strategic Research Initiatives
Rebecca Thorwall Rebecca Thorwall
Administrative Specialist
Past Fellows

Lucas Huffman, Ph.D.
2021-2023 Cohort

Veronica Beck, Ph.D.
2021-2023 Cohort

Christie Rodriguez Ramirez, Ph.D.
2020-2022 Cohort

Shelby Unsworth, Ph.D.
2020-2022 Cohort

Kaylee Steen, Ph.D.
2019-2021 Cohort

Kelly Kennaley, Ph.D.
2019-2021 Cohort

Contact Us
Office of Research
University of Michigan Medical School
Phone: 734-615-1332
North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)
Building 520, 3rd Floor
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800