The University of Arizona

Meet the Team

  • Kim Patten Kim J. Patten, M.S.

    Kim Patten is Associate Director, Research Development Services, at the University of Arizona. When assisting with proposals she specializes in the Environmental & Data Sciences. She brings more than 10 years of experience managing projects and programs in conservation, renewable energy, and distributed data systems both nationally and internationally. Most recently she was Assistant Director at the Arizona Geological Survey where she managed and conducted research on a more than $30m portfolio, including Co-PI on a $3.6m National Science Foundation funded project and project manager of a $22m U.S. Department of Energy funded project. Prior to her work at AZGS, she was Programs Director at a science-based non-profit organization where she helped expand the organization's research portfolio.

  • Robin Richards photo Robin E. Richards, Ph.D.

    Robin Richards is a Senior Associate, specializing in Physical Sciences, at the University of Arizona. He has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Imperial College London and is a co-inventor on 19 issued U.S. patents. Robin joined UA in 2006 after gaining 20 years of industrial experience in both R&D and the electronic chemicals business. Robin has managed inter-disciplinary basic science and advanced technology collaborations involving government, universities, national laboratories and industry with multi-million dollar annual budgets. Prior to joining Research Development Services he was the Assistant Director for a UA-led Energy Frontier Research Center for 4½ years – funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Jamie Boehmer, M.S., Ph.D.

    Jamie Boehmer is a Senior Associate, specializing in Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, at the University of Arizona. She has a Ph.D. in Animal Science (Biochemistry) from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Genetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Jamie joined UA in 2016 after 13 years in the federal government, including service as a Research Biologist at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), where she directed a proteomics-based biomarker research program focused on host-pathogen interactions. More recently, Jamie served as a program officer within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development (ORD), where she managed the clinical trials, infectious disease, and epidemiology research portfolios. Prior to her federal service, Jamie conducted research at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and at the Medical College of Georgia Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, where she studied the genetic control of programmed cell death and T-box gene expression during development, respectively. Adjunct to her research career, Jamie has served as a freelance scientific editor with a broad focus in clinical and biomedical disciplines, and has an extensive background in scientific writing and editing. 

  • Picture of Kaushik Balakrishnan Kaushik Balakrishnan

    Kaushik Balakrishnan is a Research Development Associate focusing on university-wide engagement for industrial partnerships. In addition, he provides competitive intelligence on sponsor activities.  He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and did his postdoctoral research advancing nanomaterials for energy and sensing applications at the Materials Science Department at Rice University.  He subsequently joined the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences as an Assistant Research Professor in January of 2012. From January 2016 to June 2017, he was a Program Manager, Research at Arizona State University where he managed the portfolio’s in Transportation, Materials Science, and Sustainability.  Dr. Balakrishnan has experience in project management and crafting complex proposals to federal agencies, industry, and foundations.  He has also been a PI, Co-I and senior personnel on several federal and industry sponsored research. He has one patent, two book chapters, and more than 30 peer reviewed journal articles and communications that have been cited over 3000 times.

  • Erin M. Gill, Ph.D. Erin M. Gill, Ph.D.

    Erin Gill is a Research Development Associate, specializing in Biomedical and Life Sciences, at the University of Arizona. She has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. in Physics from the University of Colorado Boulder. Erin brings more than 9 years of experience in biomedical research and 7 years of experience in multidisciplinary program leadership. Prior to joining Research Development Services she was the Administrative Director for the NSF funded Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) where she advanced the center’s international and translational goals. Erin has been a primary or contributing writer and editor on proposals including SBIR/STTR (Phase I & II), IUPUI Signature Center Initiative, Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, and MRSEC that collectively won $20m in peer-reviewed funding.

  • Photo of Kim Nicolini Kim Nicolini, B.A.

    Kim Nicolini is a Research Development Associate specializing in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. As Executive Director of a non-profit arts education program in the San Francisco Bay Area she grew the organization from the ground up by cultivating funding and creating partnerships. She garnered support from corporate sponsors, state and federal agencies as well as private foundations while organizing multiple fundraising events and an expansive individual donor base. In addition, she launched a number of PR campaigns, conducted interviews, and built a website in the early days of the web.

    Ms. Nicolini moved to Tucson in 2000 and joined the University of Arizona. At UA she has applied her expertise by coordinating, writing and administering grants, including large complex, individual investigator, and private foundation proposals. Her expertise helps investigators strategize, bring collaborative efforts together and build programs. These endeavors have contributed directly to generating nearly $100 million dollars in peer-reviewed funding for UA


  • Jennifer Columbus

    Jennifer "Jenny" Columbus is a Research Development Associate specializing in international academic program development and knowledge-transfer projects. Jenny works within RDS and Global Research Alliances (GRA) to build multi-government-industry partnerships between UA research faculty, foreign governments, foundations, NGO’s, defense contractor offset obligors, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Via team and resource mobilization, and including capture development proposals crafted for industry, foreign government and/or academic audiences, Jenny links UA research with defense contractor offset obligors’ knowledge transfer needs, as well as foreign government capacity development needs – submitting custom, award-winning knowledge transfer project-proposals that support UA research, and serve in-need foreign government(s). Jenny has a MFA in Poetry from Goddard College. 

  • Jennifer Fields Jennifer Fields, M.A.

    Jennifer Fields is a Research Development Associate, specializing in STEM Education and Inclusion. She has more than 20 years of experience in proposal development, project implementation and evaluation, nonprofit administration, and informal science education. Through working in science centers, higher education, and as a consultant, she has broad experience in developing, assessing, and disseminating exemplary programs and experiences for general and targeted audiences. Her work has resulted in a range of capabilities including grant writing, project conceptual development and management, curriculum development for informal and K-12 audiences, education research, project evaluation and dissemination of best practices through publications and workshops for practitioners. Jen has developed successful proposals for $500 to $5 million from local and national foundations, corporations, and federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Education. She has also served as a reviewer for federal agencies, and contributed to a guide for grant-writers, giving her insight and understanding as to what funders expect from highly rated proposals. She has a demonstrated commitment to improving the education and career-readiness of underserved and underrepresented youth, with programs under her direction receiving two prestigious national awards: The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (2005), and the National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Service (2001).

  • Connie Gardner photo Connie Gardner

    Connie Gardner is a Senior Program Coordinator in the Office for Research & Discovery. She provides programmatic and administrative support to Research Development Services. She is responsible for internal funding program support, including the Seed Funding Program and she also plays an integral role the Limited Solicitations process at the University of Arizona. She brings 15 years experience at the UA and continues to assist with the University's Research mission daily.