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.


Sarah Branstrator

Sarah Branstrator
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 since 2005 and served 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)
Associate Director of Research Strategy and Development

Leigh Halliday is the Associate 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






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.


Vanessa Barton

Vanessa Barton, MA
Assistant Director of Faculty Programs and Proposal Support

Vanessa Barton is the Assistant Director of Faculty Programs and Proposal Support for ORSD. In her role, Vanessa supports grant submissions, improves faculty programming, and advances the strategic direction of research development projects that are high priority to the School. She manages the Chan School HOME Program, Diversity Supplement Matching Initiative, and the Research Resource Portal. Vanessa provides administrative support to the Faculty Grant Writing Course.

Prior to joining ORSD, Vanessa worked for more than a decade in grants management and sponsored research administration at the Chan School. She holds a masters degree in intercultural relations from Lesley University and a bachelors degree from Northeastern University.


Elizabeth Sylvester

Elizabeth Sylvester
Research Strategy Specialist

Elizabeth is ORSD’s Research Strategy Specialist. In this role, she is a resource for Harvard Chan School faculty and staff, providing personalized support on a diverse portfolio of research and proposal development resources designed to improve the School’s research enterprise.

Elizabeth has been at the University for more than 20 years. Before assuming her current role, she worked as an Associate Director of Global Programs at Harvard Medical School/International and Partner’s Healthcare International, running healthcare education programs worldwide.  Elizabeth has an M.Ed. and M.P.H. from Boston University.


Allison Lever

Allison Lever (Brown), MPAP
Strategic Initiatives Specialist

Allison Lever is the Strategic Initiatives Specialist. In this role, she supports proposal development and faculty programming to advance the School’s strategic research goals.

Prior to coming to the Harvard Chan School, Allison led advocacy and communications at a non-profit institute for accredited industry standards and professional certifications. She also worked with public sector clients as a management consultant at Grant Thornton LLP, advising on complex organizational transformation initiatives and supporting proposal development. Allison holds a Masters of Public Administration and Policy from American University and a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University.


Macey Lavoie

Macey Lavoie
Executive Assistant