University of Chicago RDS

The Best People, The Best Ideas, The Best Research

We attract smart, interesting, and principled people who come from a variety of backgrounds including academia, social enterprise, business, law, development, and non-profits. This diversity allows us to bring an innovative, and sometimes unorthodox, approach to research strategy. As a team, we collaborate and learn from each other, our faculty partners, and their work. We value giving our team members an equal seat at the table.

Our team is composed of members from three campus units: Research, Innovation and National Laboratories, the Office of Alumni Relations and Development (Foundation Relations), and the Office of Civic Engagement (Federal Relations). This unique composition allows us to work on projects across campus as well as federal and foundation funding opportunities. Our goal is to accelerate complex research projects while navigating barriers among faculty, funders, and University leadership in the most effective, efficient, and experienced way possible.

Kate Von Holle
Kate Von Holle
Director of Federal Research Development
Kate Von Holle
Director of Federal Research Development

I enjoy acting as a resource for faculty. My job allows me to learn about many different topics, and encourages me to be able to communicate that information to a broad variety of audiences.

Spending the past eight years of my career in Washington DC, working with the sole aim to understand the workings of the executive and legislative branches has prepared me for the unique challenge of navigating the federal agencies on behalf of the University of Chicago. I spent my first year in Washington as a science fellow at the State Department, learning the intricacies of international science policy with regard to marine conservation issues. Moving on to work at a scientific non-profit like the American Geophysical Union prepared me to work with scientists, and helping them communicate with their Congressional delegations and informing of them of new developments in science policy and funding. Lastly, my previous position working for the UK government at the British Embassy in Washington DC allowed me to work with a broad swath of the science agencies, engaging them on many different levels, leading me to develop an in-depth understanding of how they operate. All of these experiences gave me unique insights which have informed my work at RDS.

I appreciate trying out the variety of restaurants that DC has to offer, as well as working off those calories by getting outdoors whenever possible in a variety of pursuits which include running, co-ed softball, and surfing.  

B.S. Biology, College of William & Mary, full athletic scholarship for basketball, M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois, full academic fellowship.

kvonholle@uchicago.edu
Julia Lane
Julia Lane
Interim Executive Director
Julia Lane
Interim Executive Director

To me, good research serves to create an environment where curiosity and unorthodox thinking are valued. At RDS, I love that I am surrounded by people with very different intellectual histories, who are not afraid to question assumptions or champion socially impactful research.

I have experience working in innovative, fast-paced, and often risky environments -- from a startup and venture capitalist firm in Chicago to an NGO in rural China. I learned not only how to be comfortable with uncertainty, but also how to get things up and running quickly and effectively in chaotic environments. My experience with high-level research in graduate school has reinforced the notion that innovative ideas should not be hindered by bureaucratic obstacles or imperfect execution.

In my role at RDS, I strive to make navigating these hurdles as easy and painless as possible. I give messy things structure in an artful and principled way. No task is too insignificant to be done with elegance.

M.A. in International Relations, Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago, B.A. in International Comparative Politics and History (with honors), The American University of Paris.

jlane2@uchicago.edu LinkedIn Twitter
Kate Waimey Timmerman
Kate Timmerman
Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Kate Waimey Timmerman
Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations

I have a passion for science that has endured since my childhood days attending Space Camp. I believe that rapidly advancing research should be disseminated to both academics and an informed public in order to ensure integration with broader society.

As an advisor at RDS, I draw on my advanced training in the sciences and experience in biomedical research to facilitate interdisciplinary research in fields such as neuroscience, population health, and environmental law. I also integrate traditional and next-generation methodologies to ensure communication of such research to diverse audiences. Prior to joining this team, I served as the director of science communication and program director for the Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University, where I developed strategic media plans, implemented print and social media campaigns, and co-edited a textbook on Oncofertility Communication. This background provides me with the experiences and skills to support the launch and dissemination of ambitious research programs here at the University of Chicago.

I am currently on the boards of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Illinois, which provides financial awards to academically outstanding graduate students in the STEM fields, and Timmerman Ventures, which oversees all aspects of the launch and development of a well-rounded toddler.

B.A. Neuroscience, Oberlin College; Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of California at Davis; Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Chicago in the Department of Human Genetics.

ktimmerman@uchicago.edu LinkedIn
Elena Zinchenko
Elena Zinchenko
Director of Research Innovation
Elena Zinchenko
Director of Research Innovation

I love research for its systematic capacity for surprise and beauty. It is also a framework for how to change the status quo - something that I have been engaged in my whole life.

Growing up in Northern Siberia, I tried to challenge the way things were done – I did it by co-founding some of the first non-profit organizations in the area. After coming to the US on a scholarship, I worked with hi-tech startups to push forward the adoption of new technologies. I went to graduate school because cognitive science is reframing some age-old philosophical views about the relation between the mind and the brain. For my doctorate, I studied abstract thinking development in young children, and in my post-doctoral studies I worked on determining the brain activation signatures that support metaphoric thinking across lifespan. I now run the Big Ideas Generator at RDS - supporting early-stage, risky and very ambitious research projects. It speaks to my intellectual passions and my impatience about making things better and more fun.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, Booth School of Business; Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago; Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

elenaz@uchicago.edu LinkedIn
Meera Raja
Meera Raja
Associate Director of Research Innovation
Meera Raja
Associate Director of Research Innovation

Growing up in a family of scientists and mathematicians, I have always been excited by scientific inquiry. Research gives the opportunity to dream about grand ideas and possibilities, while still allowing for systematic problem solving.  At BIG, I am excited to be a part of a team that places such high value on novel ideas, while helping navigate the challenges that come with these great ambitions. 

Prior to joining the team, I was involved in both the scientific and the business consulting world.  My doctorate work in chemistry involved studying the roles and effects of metals in disease areas.  Being a scientist in the business world, I was able to bring a unique view when helping clients optimize their current vision and assess new opportunities.  These experiences have given me the skills to work through broad problems in diverse settings. 

When I am not busy thinking about science, research, and problem solving, you can usually find me running or biking along the lakefront.  I also enjoy cold weather, bad jokes, and good pie.

B.S. Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry, Northwestern University; Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University

mraja@uchicago.edu LinkedIn
Lindsey Rogers
Lindsey Rogers
Assistant Director, Research Initiatives, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Lindsey Rogers
Assistant Director, Research Initiatives, Foundation and Corporate Relations

After spending a few years in the private sector, I switched to higher education with the goal of using my analytical skills, curiosity, and understanding of human behavior to help advance the pursuit of knowledge and push humanity forward. As a member of the RDS team, I’m thrilled to help faculty on their path to solving problems and better understanding the world at large.

Before taking on my current role, I worked at the University as a prospect research analyst in the Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations. In this position, I gained a deep understanding of the private funding landscape and the trends driving it. Prior to that, I worked as a consumer analyst at Mintel, a market intelligence agency, where I was involved at all stages of the research process, from developing research objectives, to designing questionnaires, to analyzing data. I also consulted with clients, helping them to understand findings and develop research-based strategies.

I’ve always been enthralled by people and their stories, as evidenced by my love for narrative non-fiction and my early experience writing features for my hometown newspaper. This interest in people has translated into a fascination with assembling and developing effective teams, something I hope to do across the University as part of my role.      

B.S. Mass Communication (public relations emphasis) and double minor in rhetoric/writing and marketing, St. Cloud State University.

lsrogers@uchicago.edu LinkedIn
Katie Bailey
Katie Bailey
Associate Director, Research Initiatives, Foundation and Corporate Relations
Katie Bailey
Associate Director, Research Initiatives, Foundation and Corporate Relations

The pursuit to understand ourselves and our world is both gratifying and awe-inspiring. In seeking answers, we often raise more questions, highlighting not only the value of research but also how much we have yet to learn.

My scientific training and experience in genetic research have taught me how to think critically about a problem, ask the right questions, and strategically pursue solutions. In studying complex diseases affecting multiple biological systems, I integrated ideas and evidence supporting each varied piece of the puzzle to assemble a unified picture. As part of the RDS team, I leverage this experience to bring people and ideas together, facilitating interdisciplinary research initiatives that would not be possible in isolation.

Beyond my work developing innovative research ideas, I am a board member and co-founder of CHIentist, a collaborative organization dedicated to building connections among the stakeholders in Chicago’s life science ecosystem to facilitate the exchange of ideas and opportunities. I am also an avid Irish dancer, teacher, and choreographer.

Ph.D. Human Genetics, University of Chicago; B.A. Biological Sciences, Specialization in Neuroscience, University of Chicago