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.

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.

Katie Wu PhotographKatie (Qiong) Wu, Grant and Contract Management Specialist

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

Leslie Allen, Grant and Contract Management Specialist

Leslie serves as a Grant and Contract Management Specialist. She assists with the submission process of proposals, manages post award acceptance and setup, and serves as a liaison between Principal Investigators and Compliance, Contracts and Tech Management, and Grant and Contract Accounting. Leslie holds a Master of Jurisprudence degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, a Master of Arts in English degree from Texas State University-San Marcos, and a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Lamar University. Leslie brings more than 20 years of experience in editing and the legal field to her role as GCMS. Leslie is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor degree and volunteers a great deal of her personal time to programs that help teens in foster care.

Wendy Henry, Grant and Contract Management Specialist

Wendy Henry serves as a Grants and Contract Management Specialist and holds a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from UT Tyler. Wendy brings more than 20 years of experience in business to her role as a GCMS and is excited to be a part of the Office of Research team! Wendy enjoys exploring and having fun with her two young sons. She has contributed to social science research at the University of North Texas; her research topic is “Eatertainment... People enjoy and value pleasant experiences."

Christina Valle, Grant and Contract Management Specialist

Christina serves as a Grant and Contract Management Specialist. Christina holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Biola University. Christina brings more than 20 years of experience managing all aspects of grants from pre-award to post-award.

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.

Trang Dinh, Research Compliance Manager

Trang holds a Ph.D in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration. Trang has worked in the Research Compliance field for the past 3 years, first in Export Controls and FCOI at UT Arlington, and most recently focusing on Conflicts of Interest at Rice University. Trang’s doctoral dissertation focused on practices influencing STEM degree attainment of community college transfer students.


Mary-Colette Lybrand, Director of Innovation

Mary-Collette comes to SMU from UTSW where she was a the Program Manager for the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, and responsible for building interdisciplinary programs including internal funding opportunities, research working groups, seminar series, and symposiums. Previously Mary-Colette was the Operations Manager for the newly formed Brain Health Consortium at UTSA where she managed all regulatory affairs, federal grant, and philanthropy activity. Mary-Colette brings 15 years of experience in all aspects of research regulatory affairs, policy development, and research operations. She earned a Master's Degree in Clinical Research Management.