Carnegie Mellon University

Message to the Research Community:

April 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased today to communicate two important leadership announcements in the Office of the Vice President for Research.  Tara Branstad and Christine Bedillion have accepted the positions of Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Research Operations and Executive Director for the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), respectively.

Tara Branstad first stepped into the newly created AVP of Research Operations role on an interim basis in August 2019. During her time in the position she has worked to streamline and bring transparency to the processes in OSP, the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) and the Office of Research Systems and Operations (ORSO). Prior to her role as AVP of Research Operations, Tara spent 14 years in our Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC), most recently as Director of Technology Transfer.  In this role, she supervised all CTTEC licensing managers and oversaw the negotiation and execution of licensing and spin-off agreements for several university constituencies, including the National Robotics and Engineering Center (NREC). She received her BA in Biology from the University of Virginia and an MBA in Marketing and MHA in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.  Following a national search in which Tara participated as a candidate, I am thrilled that she has accepted the opportunity to continue in the position on a permanent basis. I look forward to her ongoing leadership in transforming the operations side of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR).

I am excited to welcome Christine Bedillion back to OSP in the role of Executive Director. She comes to the position after three years in CTTEC as the Senior Manager of Business Development and Licensing. Prior to her time in CTTEC, Christine was a Senior Contracts Officer in OSP for 6 years and supervised the contracts team, and a Clinical & Corporate Contracts Officer at the University of Pittsburgh.  Before coming to academia, Christine held a variety of positions in organizations such as NSF International (a product testing and certification organization), Mylan Inc. (a global generic and specialty pharmaceuticals company) and Watson Standard (a specialty coatings, ink and adhesives company).  Christine has a B.S. in Biology from Gannon University and M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.  Christine’s experience will allow her to provide exceptional leadership to OSP.

I wish to thank Julia Sobol Dzurino for serving as Interim Executive Director of OSP since August 2019.  During her tenure, Julia took on the challenge of rebuilding and training the OSP team. We are grateful for her dedication to the organization and willingness to jump in and lead at such an important time.  Julia will remain in OSP as Associate Director and will continue to be a vital part of the OSP leadership team.

With the permanent hires of Tara and Christine as well as the previous hires and promotions of Heather Bragg, Jeff Abels and John Adam Johns, we have an exceptional leadership team in place for the Research Operations groups of the OVPR.  I look forward to what we can accomplish together. Please join me in extending congratulations to Tara and Christine and thanking Julia.



J. Michael McQuade, PhD.
Vice President for Research
Carnegie Mellon University