OVPR Leadership Team

Thierry Boudet

Executive Director - Organization Optimization & Research Systems

(612) 624-6560, tboudet@umn.edu

Thierry brings strategic vision and provides expert leadership to boost service quality, organization efficiency, and technology effectiveness in OVPR. He leads organization optimization efforts, information technology, and the research systems function for OVPR. His team specializes in identifying, implementing, and sustaining technology solutions, and delivering insight from large data sets to support the University's research mission. A change leader and innovation catalyst, Thierry orchestrates strategic goal-setting processes, oversees the conversion of objectives into actionable plans, and designs and implements solutions to solve complex business problems. He is passionate about leadership, technology, innovation and creativity. He holds an MS in management of technology from the UMN Technological Leadership Institute, and a masters degree in music composition from the University of Rennes 2 (France).

Kristin Charles

Finance Director

(612) 624-0664, char0183@umn.edu

Kristin is responsible for the financial oversight of OVPR and manages a team that provides expertise in financial analysis, budgeting, and transaction processing for both administrative support units and academic centers and institutes. OVPR's finance team ensures compliance with University policies and procedures and provides high-level reporting and analysis to assist units in achieving their strategic goals. Kristin has worked at the University for over 12 years. She holds a BS in finance, a BA in Spanish, and an MBA, all from the University of Minnesota.

Debra Dykhuis

Executive Director - Human Research Protection Program/Institutional Review Board

(612) 626-4851, dykhu001@umn.edu

Debbie is responsible for leadership of the Human Research Protection Program office, home to the Institutional Review Board, the Quality Assurance program for human research, the scientific assessment process, and the regulatory ancillary review process for Food and Drug Administration regulated research. Prior to assuming the HRPP executive director role in 2012, Debbie spent 20 years in roles supporting biomedical researchers at the University. She holds a BA from the University of Minnesota.

Megan Ferden

Human Resources Director

(612) 624-7921, suth0059@umn.edu

As HR director, Megan is responsible for providing strategic leadership, planning, development, coordination, implementation, and oversight of human resources programs and services in OVPR. She oversees a dedicated OVPR HR Shared Services team. OVPR HR works collaboratively with OVPR administration, business units, and academic centers and institutes to ensure their efforts are aligned with University-wide human resources policies, programs, and strategic initiatives. Megan has been at the University of Minnesota for 18 years and with OVPR for 14 years. She holds a BA from Doane University and is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Senior Certified Professional.

Dan Gilchrist

Communications Director

(612) 624-2609, dang@umn.edu

Dan leads OVPR’s communications department, which plans, coordinates, and implements communications strategies that highlight the role the University plays as one of America’s leading research universities, including its work to understand and address the COVID-19 pandemic, and its contributions to economic development and technological advancement. He advises the vice president for research and his executive leadership on communications and government relations and assists with issue management related to research for OVPR and the University. He previously served the University as a speechwriter to two presidents, federal relations coordinator, and Extension program coordinator. He holds two policy-related degrees from Stanford University.

Rick Huebsch

Executive Director - Technology Commercialization

(612) 625-3760, rhuebsch@umn.edu

Rick oversees the Technology Commercialization office, which facilitates the transfer of UMN research to products and services that benefit the public through licensing and startup ventures.

In addition, his team partners with the University of Minnesota Foundation to lead the University's Corporate Engagement initiative. Before joining Technology Commercialization in 2008, Rick worked for 20 years in the software industry, including executive management with Control Data, OpenVision Technologies, Veritas Software, and Symantec. Rick received a BS in computer science and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.

Amy Kircher

Associate Vice President for Research, External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives

(763) 370-9042, akircher@umn.edu

Amy directs OVPR's external affairs and strategic initiatives, including engagement with national labs and security concerns, government and public institutions, corporate entities, and international bodies. She co-founded and now oversees the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC), which works with researchers and practitioners to establish new large-scale programs that catalyze collaboration, innovate for new discoveries, and deliver practical new solutions. She also leads Research Advancement, which provides seed and matching funds for promising UMN research directions, as well as recognition for research staff and research that has had real-world impact.

Prior to coming to the University, Amy was an epidemiologist with the Department of Defense and has an extensive background in public health, disaster preparedness and response, homeland security, and supply chains. Amy received her PhD in public health at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Units & Initiatives

  • Research Advancement
  • Strategic Initiatives
  • External Research Partnerships
  • UMN Research Funding Programs

Frances Lawrenz

Associate Vice President (AVP) for Research and Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development

(612) 625-2046, lawrenz@umn.edu

An award-winning researcher, teacher and leader, Frances is an associate vice president for research with responsibilities for the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Office of Biotechnology Activities Oversight (OBAO), and OVPR's research-focused academic centers and institutes. She also directs research policy and review. In her academic work she specializes in science and mathematics program evaluation. She has held departmental and college leadership positions and published well over 100 research papers and over 200 evaluation reports in addition to other scholarly work. She earned her PhD at the University of Minnesota. 

Units & Initiatives

  • Biotech Oversight (DURC, FTR, HGT, IBC, and SCRO under OBAO)
  • Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3)
  • Center for Transportation Studies
  • Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)
  • Consortium on Law and Values
  • Genomics Center
  • Hormel Institute
  • Human Research Protection Program
  • Institute for Social Research & Data Innovation (ISRDI)
  • Institute on the Environment
  • Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC)
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Limited Extramural Opportunities
  • Research Animal Resources (RAR)
  • Research Intelligence and Compliance Team
  • Research policy and review
  • University of Minnesota Press

Danielle Rintala

Director - Risk Intelligence and Compliance Team

(612) 624-8349, rinta015@umn.edu

Danielle directs the Risk Intelligence and Compliance Team (RIACT) in OVPR. RIACT serves as the "eyes and ears" of the VPR by monitoring near- and long-term research risks, conducting compliance investigations, ensuring compliance in research-associated financial transactions and research registries, and managing Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training and the Certified Approver program. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Danielle was the associate director of research compliance and biosafety officer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she developed and managed the biosafety program. She was also responsible for the oversight of human subjects research, animal research, and radiation safety. Prior to research compliance, Danielle was an instructor and program director for 10 years in higher education, with teaching experience in microbiology, anatomy & physiology, biochemistry, and pathophysiology. 

James Wilgenbusch

Director - Research Computing

(612) 624-1355, jwilgenb@umn.edu

James (Jim) is responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the three major computational research areas: the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI), the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII), and U-Spatial. In this role, he leads University-wide initiatives, partners with collegiate senior administrators and works with faculty and administrators to shape research computing at the University of Minnesota, ensures the excellence of existing activities, and facilitates the implementation of new programs. Jim is also involved at a regional and national level in the promotion and development of research cyberinfrastructure and plays a variety of roles in organizations such as the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), the Campus Research Computing Consortium (CARCC), and the National Science Foundation’s Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs.  Jim maintains research activities in the study and implementation of models, methods and software used in phylogenetic inference, and leads efforts to develop cyberinfrastructure for biological research and research and engineering in general. Jim earned his PhD at George Mason University. More information about Jim is available on his ORCHID profile.

Lisa Warren

Assistant Vice President and Chief of Operations

(612) 625-2042, carls044@umn.edu

As chief of operations, Lisa ensures effective planning and coordination of the research agenda including strategic initiatives, priority setting, and work planning. Lisa manages OVPR's centralized shared services, including communications, information technology, human resources, finance, and the administrative support team. She began her career in accounting positions and expanded her experience to include research administration, information technology, compliance policy, business analysis, strategic planning, and project management in her more than 30 years at the University of Minnesota. Lisa holds a BS in accounting from the Carlson School of Management and an MPA from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Units & Initiatives

  • Communications
  • Human Resources & Administration
  • Information Technology & Systems

Pamela A. Webb

Associate Vice President for Research

(612) 624-1648, pwebb@umn.edu

Pamela is responsible for pre-award and post-award nonfinancial services supporting nearly  $1 billion in research awards annually, as well as negotiation of facilities and administrative rates, effort reporting, and research policy and education. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota in 2007, Pamela led pre-award and post-award administration at Stanford University, and served in research administration at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and Northwestern University. In August 2016, she received her industry’s highest honor, the Outstanding Achievement in Research Administration Award. She is a leader in national research organizations, including the Council on Government Relations, and holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin.

Units & Initiatives

  • Cost Analysis
  • Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)
  • System Campus SPA Offices