Amanda Spickard, Master of Public Policy
Associate Dean for Research Strategy and External Affairs
Amanda Spickard is the Associate Dean for Research Strategy and External Affairs. After completing her graduate work in Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins University, Amanda has spent the last 10 years promoting translational research within federal and university-based applied research facilities.
Prior to joining the Harvard Chan School, Amanda worked at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, directing multidisciplinary research and technical assistance projects; providing leadership to guide the school’s research development strategies; identifying and securing funding to support new areas of research, technical assistance and academic activities; and developing relationships with external partners. In the US Department of Labor’s Office of Policy and Research, Amanda managed national demonstration research projects, chaired federal grant review committees, and assisted in the development of federal research, policy analysis and legislation.
Amanda holds a masters degree from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelors degree from Earlham College.
Managing Director of Academic Strategy and Research Partnerships
Sarah Branstrator is the Managing Director of Academic Strategy and Research Partnerships. In this role, Sarah works across Harvard Chan and with the other Harvard Schools to develop and execute multi-pronged resource-generation strategies, with particular focus on the Dean’s Priorities and other emerging research priorities and platforms. She also assists in “scale up” for large-scale, multi-departmental and interdisciplinary research and supports ORSD leadership in growing the School’s Government Relations resources.
Sarah has been at the University for more than 12 years in a variety of roles. Before joining ORSD, Sarah was the Director of Strategy for the Harvard Global Health Institute, where she worked to raise visibility around critical challenges to health and establish Harvard as a leading voice and content expert on global health issues. Prior to that, she spent five years as the Director of Institutional Partnerships in the Office of External Relations at Harvard Chan, and also served as the Associate Director of University Initiatives at the University Development Office.
Leigh Halliday (Melanson)
Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Development
Leigh Melanson is the Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Development for ORSD. Her responsibilities include leading new research development initiatives, planning and oversight of ORSD/school-wide events and programming, and coaching members of our academic community on grant writing and effective grantsmanship. She provides substantive research development support, consultation, and guidance for new junior faculty and plays a leadership role in the strategic direction of projects that are of high priority to the School. Leigh collaborates with University colleagues to implement university-wide policies related to limited submission opportunities and is responsible for the oversight of the School’s internal funding programs.
Prior to joining ORSD, Leigh spent 8 years at Harvard Medical School as a Program Coordinator for Faculty and Postdoc Initiatives. Her knowledge and expertise were integral to the successful implementation of postdoc policies and creating curriculum and programming for the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows. Additionally, her role interfaced with many different areas of University administration, including Faculty Affairs and Sponsored Programs, to improve support services for faculty.
Michele Sinunu, MPH, DrPH
Director of Research Platforms
Michele Sinunu is the Director of Research Platforms in ORSD. Initially based in the Dean’s Office for 5 years, Michele supports shared research resources at the School, and facilitates access by the School’s academic community to resources in the Longwood Medical Area and beyond.
Prior to coming to the Harvard Chan School, Michele worked at Harvard Medical School for 6 years as the evaluator on the Harvard Catalyst grant. Before Harvard, she worked at the CDC in Atlanta as an analyst in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, and served in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan. Michele has a Masters of Public Health from Emory University, and a Doctorate of Public Health from Boston University.
Strategic Initiatives Specialist
Heather Conrad is the Strategic Initiatives Specialist for ORSD. She manages ORSD’s core faculty programming and proposal development support services and also plays a key role in developing and implementing outreach efforts within the Harvard Chan School community. Heather is tasked with managing research development projects of high-priority and internal funding competitions. She oversees limited submission funding opportunities and implements improved business processes.
Prior to joining ORSD, Heather worked for Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs where she managed faculty funding competitions and the Center’s Fellows Program. Heather holds a masters degree in peace and conflict studies from Ulster University in Northern Ireland and a bachelors degree from The George Washington University.