Staff Bios


James Quick photoJames E. Quick, Associate Provost for Research

James E. Quick is the Associate Provost for Research, Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and professor of earth sciences. Dean Quick comes to SMU after a distinguished twenty-five year scientific career with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) where he performed fundamental research on volcanoes and was in charge of monitoring the nation's 169 volcanoes to provide critical early warning of eruptions. Dean Quick has published widely in numerous scientific journals and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the Capellini Medal of the Geological Society of Italy. He earned a Ph.D. in geology at the California Institute of Technology in 1980, an M.S. in petrology in 1974 at the University of Minnesota, and a B.S. in geology in 1972 at UCLA.

Shannon Lunt photoShannon Lunt, Assistant Vice President for Research

My career as a research professional began with a foundation of basic laboratory ethics, the strategic refinement and implementation of improved processes, and the development of partnerships with researchers, federal and local regulators, and strategic stakeholders. I received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, with a continued emphasis in immunology. I have extensive management experience as Division Coordinator for Texas A&M University’s Comparative Medicine Program, where I led a 35-member operation that provided primary care for over 20,000 cages of small research animals. At the Baylor Research Institute, I was the Principal Investigator for the largest biorepository in North Texas and a core component of a $60M NIH-grant. I have a dozen peer-reviewed publications in the fields of Psychoneuroimmunology, Immunology, and Molecular Biology. In 2014, I was hired to start SMU’s research compliance program de novo and lead an effort to provide standardized oversight for all research at SMU. In 2016, I was promoted to Assistant Vice President for Research to provide oversight for Sponsored Projects, Research Contracts, Technology Management, Research Compliance, and operational support to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Karen Wray photoKaren Wray, Executive Assistant II

Karen serves as Executive Assistant to Dr. James E. Quick, Associate Vice President for Research, and Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Karen spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical and clinical research industry before relocating to Texas to begin her career at SMU.

Benisha Young, Research Coordinator

Benisha is the Office Coordinator, and joined the team in 2018. Benisha is responsible for answering the phones and directing traffic for the office, along with other various tasks.

Sponsored Projects and Contracts

Ruth Lozano PhotographRuth Lozano, Director of Sponsored Projects and Contracts

Director for Sponsored Projects and Contracts, Ruth V. Lozano serves as SMU’s Authorized Organization Official. Ms. Lozano’s role includes oversight for all pre and post award matters for Sponsored Projects and Contracts. Before becoming a staff member in OR, Ruth spent 10 years working with the Annette Simmons School of Education and Human Development on IES training grants. Her past experience has given her the unique view of working in several facets of a research grant. With this experience, Ruth has assisted in increasing SMU’s overall research activity.

Elvin Franklin photographElvin Franklin, Associate Director of Contracts

Elvin is the Associate Director of Research Contracts with more than 17 years of experience. Prior to SMU, Elvin worked in Research Administration at The University of Texas at Arlington and Dallas VA Research Corporation. Elvin received his Bachelor of Business Administration- Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Nicole Babilya PhotographNicole Babilya, Senior Grant Management Specialist

Nicole has over 14 years in the research administration field with both central and departmental offices. She is a member of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and earned Certified Research Administrator (CRA) status in 2010. She has been with SMU since April 2020.

Katie Wu PhotographKatie (Qiong) Wu, Grant Management Specialist

Katie is a Grant Management Specialist with 4 years of experience. She moved to Dallas from the Chicago area two years ago.

Research Compliance

Heather McClary photoHeather McClary, Director of Research Compliance

Heather serves as the Director of Research Compliance, providing oversight for compliance programs regarding human subjects research, animal subjects research, research with biohazards, financial conflicts of interest, responsible conduct of research, and export controls. Heather also oversees the operations of the Laboratory Animal Resource Center (LARC). Heather conducted biomedical research at UT Southwestern Medical Center for 7 years before completing an MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She transitioned to Research Compliance at SMU in 2018. Heather is currently pursuing an EdD in Higher Education Leadership at SMU and expects to graduate in 2022.

Laura Hamilton photoLaura Hamilton, Compliance Coordinator II

Laura is the Research Compliance Coordinator II, with a background in manufacturing compliance and quality assurance. Laura has a B.S. in Business Management and a Project Management+ Certification. She recently entered into a Master’s of Science and Business Leadership program.

Technology Management

Kimberly Jones-Ross photoKimberly Jones-Ross, Director of Technology Transfer

Kimberly is the Director for Technology Transfer, and has more than 25 years of experience. Since being at SMU, Kim has help to centralized technology transfer, implemented our online invention disclosure portal, assisted with several faculty start-ups, licensing agreements, and has served in multiple leadership roles. She obtained her BS in Biology with Minor in Chemistry and MBA from Texas Tech University. Kim received her JD from UNT Dallas College of Law.