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RDS Team/Contact

General Contact Emails: for general inquiries for questions about limited submission opportunities for questions about internal funding programs for Vanderbilt faculty

Research Development & Support Team

Joanne Spitz, MA, CRA

Executive Director, Research Development

Joanne joined the Research Development and Support team in May 2021. She is developing and leading a team in support of faculty research submissions to both Federal and Foundation sponsors, with an emphasis on Foundation and other private support.

Before joining Vanderbilt, Joanne served for five years as the Senior Director of Grant Initiatives, Corporate and Foundation Relations, at Baylor University resulting in a significant increase of Foundation and other private support for faculty researchers.

Prior to joining Baylor, Joanne worked for 32 years in research development and administration at Washington University in St. Louis in multiple departments and schools, including Neuroscience, Biology, and the Olin Business School.  While at Olin, Joanne worked for 11 years as the administrator of an interdisciplinary research network sponsored by The MacArthur Foundation. Joanne also was instrumental in the establishment of a new grants program for the Olin School and served as its first Grant Development Manager.

Joanne is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA), holds a BA in English from St. Louis University and a master’s in liberal arts from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her career in research development and administration she worked as a freelance academic editor for over 15 years.

Contact Joanne at or by phone at (615)343-8949


Janice Ascano, PhD

Associate Director, Research Development

Janice joined the Research Development and Support team in October 2020.  With the goal of mapping Vanderbilt University research strengths to external federal and foundation sponsors in mind, Janice assists faculty across the university to identify potential funding opportunities that match with their research interests. She also provides strategic proposal development and critical reviews.

Prior to joining RDS, Janice worked in Vanderbilt’s Development & Alumni Relations, where she supported faculty with interest in private foundation sponsors.  Before coming to Vanderbilt in March 2019, Janice managed the grants and research programs for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation for nearly 8 years.  In this role, she provided oversight on grant application evaluations and research award administration and worked with researchers in academia and industry located in the US and abroad.

Janice received a PhD in Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati and her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has also trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College and Rockefeller University. Janice has received federal funding to support her own research project as a postdoc, and has also volunteered to provide grant writing support to elementary schools and small non-profits in need.

Contact Janice at or by phone (615) 343-4609


Donna Ingles, MS, MPH

Associate Director, Research Development

Donna joined the Research Development and Support team in February 2022. She has more than 15 years of grant development, writing, and editing experience and is dedicated to identifying funding opportunities for faculty across the University and working together to develop and submit competitive research proposals, with a particular passion for large and complex applications.


Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Donna served as Assistant Director of Operations for the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she worked in project development and implementation. She also held previous roles at Moffitt Cancer Center, first in Drug Discovery and then in Epidemiology, culminating in a senior staff position within the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer (CIIRC).

Donna holds a BS in Chemistry from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, an MS in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Kansas, and an MPH in Epidemiology and Global Communicable Diseases from the University of South Florida.

Please contact Donna at or call (615) 343-2175.

Headshot of Phil KoPhilip Ko, PhD

Associate Director, Research Development

Phil joined the Research Development and Support team in April 2022. He maps Vanderbilt University’s research strengths to federal and foundation funding opportunities and assists faculty in developing submission teams and preparing grant proposals.

Before joining the RDS team, Phil was a Science Officer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs within the Department of Defense. He also worked in science communication and analytics for the National Science Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Phil brings research and grant preparation experience from his time at Yale University, the VA Boston Healthcare System, and Vanderbilt University.

Phil received his BA in Psychology from Amherst College, his PhD in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, and was an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He has served as faculty at Vanderbilt University and Austin Peay State University, and was a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Executive Branch of the federal government.

Contact Phil at or call (615) 343-0023.

Kathryn Salisbury, MPH

Associate Director, Research Development

Kathryn joined the Research Development and Support team in January 2023.  She has twenty years of research administration experience including grant preparation, program implementation, team building and participant support, program evaluation and reporting.

Prior to joining RDS, in her role as administrative director of the UNC-CH Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases Fellowship and Training Programs Office she focused on providing leadership to strategic planning, workforce development, and quality improvement initiatives toward the advancement of domestic and global graduate research training. She played a primary role in growing the number of academic training opportunities in the UNC School of Medicine funded by the NIH and foundation grants.

Kathryn holds an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Please contact Kathryn at or call (615) 343-5309.

Catalin Cristoloveanu headshot

Catalin Cristoloveanu, PhD

Assistant Director, Research Development

Catalin Cristoloveanu works with faculty from all disciplines to develop proposals for federal and foundation opportunities. Catalin joined RDS in November 2018. He received his Ph.D. in History from Indiana University in 2017 and B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2009. At Indiana University, he co-taught history courses and was an active member of the Russian and East European Institute and the Romanian Studies Organization, where he worked with faculty and graduate students to develop and support interdisciplinary educational and cultural initiatives. Prior to working at Vanderbilt, Catalin worked in academic and freelance editing & translation. He has also taught English in South Korea and tutored adult immigrants at the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.

Contact Catalin via or (615) 343-8198.

Susannah Imhoff headshotSusannah Acuff Imhoff, MA

Assistant Director, Research Development

Susannah Acuff Imhoff works with faculty across the university to develop competitive, compelling research proposals and navigate the federal and foundation funding landscapes. Before arriving at Vanderbilt in November 2018, Susannah worked as a Research Associate in Strategic Insights for the U.S. Pharmacopeia in Washington, DC. She received her MA in Applied Anthropology (Cultural and Medical) from the University of Memphis in 2013. Her background is in social science and her research focus is on healthcare access and community-based financing in Africa, and included NIH-funded roles as a research mentor and site supervisor in Uganda. She has worked in research for over 14 years, including with Rhodes College’s Minorities in Health Disparities International Research Training program, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Memphis Center for Research on Women, and Hospital Infantil Pequeno Principe (Brazil). She taught as a university instructor of cultural anthropology at the University of Memphis and Memphis College of Art.

Contact Susannah via or (615) 343-6713.

Charlotte Forstall, PhD

Research Development Specialist 

Charlotte works with faculty from all disciplines on proposals for federal and foundation sponsors. She joined RDS in May 2021. Charlotte received her PhD in Art History from Indiana University in 2019, her MA from George Mason University in 2012, and her BA from Randolph-Macon College in 2007. Her research specialty is art and architecture of the ancient Mediterranean. Previously, Charlotte worked at the IU Institute for Advanced Study.


Contact Charlotte at or by phone (615) 343-0394

A portrait of Hampton Carter Hampton Carter

Program Coordinator

Hampton Carter joined the Research Development and support team in 2022. He manages the Limited Submission Opportunities (LSOs) for the university as well as the Internal Award programs for Vanderbilt faculty. Hampton received his B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy from Vanderbilt University in 2021, and he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Philosophy in the upcoming years. Before joining the RDS team, Hampton was an Administrative Assistant in the Vanderbilt University Department of Biochemistry.


Contact Hampton via or (615) 322-8275.