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Senior Staff

Tomas Diaz de la Rubia

Tomás Díaz de la Rubia
Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Telephone: 405-325-3806
Email: tddlr@ou.edu

Tomás Díaz de la Rubia is a science and technology leader, strategist and administrator with extensive experience in government, academia and the private sector. At present, Tomas is the Vice President for Research and Partnerships at the University of Oklahoma. In this capacity, he leads OU’s efforts to enhance the scale and scope of the university’s research enterprise, and to develop a new strategic framework for research to propel the university forward, particularly in the areas of national security, energy and sustainability, and the life sciences.

Prior to this assignment, Tomas was the Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Purdue University.  In that capacity, he helped the university pursue major new research initiatives and contracts, and led Discovery Park, a transdisciplinary complex of centers, institutes and facilities focused on turning new ideas and discoveries into disruptive innovations with global impact on society.  During Tomas’ tenure at Purdue from September 2015 to September 2019, Discovery Park’s focused strategically on the development of real world solutions to major global challenges in health and the life sciences; sustainability and the nexus of energy, food, water, climate and the environment; and national security and defense. Over the same period, Discovery Park saw growth in research funding from industry, government, foreign institutions and philanthropic organizations of over 120%. Tomas was also responsible for the success of the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Purdue Foundry, a hub to nurture and launch new start-up companies based on faculty and student intellectual property (IP) into the market.  Over 100 new companies have been created over the last four years.

Prior to Purdue, Tomas worked for Deloitte Consulting, LLP where he was the innovation leader and a Director in the energy and resources industry practice. Based in Washington, D.C, he advised C-Suite executives at major multinational Oil and Gas companies and electrical utilities on ways to identify and capitalize on new technologies such as Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, robotics, augmented reality and wearable technologies, and predictive analytics.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Tomás was the Deputy Director for Science and Technology (DDST) at the U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, where he served as the Laboratory’s Chief Research Officer (CRO) and oversaw a $250M program of basic and applied research in support of the Laboratory’s missions in science and technology, nuclear security, defense, counterterrorism, energy and technology commercialization.

In addition to these leadership roles, Tomas is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Intelligence Community Studies Board, which was tasked in 2016 by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and discusses science and technology issues of importance to the nations’ intelligence community.  He is a board member of the National Defense Industry Association, and of CRFD Global. Among his hobbies, he is a member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a worldwide group dedicated to promoting the virtues of the wines and foods of Burgundy. 

 


 

John Antonio

John Antonio
Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Telephone: 405-325-3806
Email: antonio@ou.edu

John Antonio has vast experience in research and leadership, both in academia and industry. He currently serves as Senior Associate Vice President, responsible for forging partnerships with colleges, departments, and other entities both on and off campus to create opportunities that enable faculty to pursue their research endeavors. He is particularly focused on forming collaborations aimed at transdisciplinary and convergence research to tackle societies’ most challenging problems. He is providing leadership in furthering the development and implementation of the OU Norman Research Strategic Framework and Plan, in support of OU’s Lead On Strategic Plan

Prior to his current position, John was Associate Dean (2014-2016), Senior Associate Dean (2017-2019), and Interim Dean (2019-2020) for the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Prior to his service in the Dean’s office, John served as Director for the School of Computer Science at OU where he oversaw rapid growth in the size of the school’s faculty and in the School’s research productivity. He currently holds the Howard and Suzanne Kauffmann Chair and is a professor of computer science.

John received his PhD in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1989. After graduation, he served as a faculty member at Purdue University and Texas Tech University before joining OU as professor and director of computer science in 1999. John is a senior member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and member of the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) and ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education). He has been active in professional service including serving five years as Associate Editor and Member of the Editorial Board for the IEEE Transactions on Computers.  Recently, he served as Program Chair (2019) and General Chair (2020) for 28th and 29th Heterogeneity in Computing Workshops, sponsored by the IEEE.  He has been an investigator for a number of funded research projects, with contract awards totaling over $20M. He holds two US patents and has published over one hundred articles, book chapters, and reports, including 83 peer-reviewed articles. Several defense agencies have supported his research, including Rome Laboratory (Air Force Research Laboratory), NRaD (Navy Research and Development), DoD/STTR, DIA, and DARPA. Dr. Antonio has also received grants and contracts from the industry sector, including from Boeing and RiskMetrics Group, Inc. From 2011 to 2013, John was on leave from OU and worked for MSCI, Inc. where he led a global team chartered with optimizing the performance and stability of the company’s massively parallel production computing platform. 

 


 

Janet Ward

Janet Ward
Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Telephone: 405-325-3806
Email: janet.ward@ou.edu

Janet Ward, Brammer Presidential Professor of History, is the Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships at the University of Oklahoma. A strong advocate of OU’s research engagement in our society and in our state, Janet builds purposeful collaborative and transnational partnerships across multiple fields of study. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Janet is co-organizing a “Humanity and Health” webinar series that exemplifies how OU research makes meaningful contributions in the public realm.  

As the founding director of the OU Arts and Humanities Forum, Janet helped develop research opportunities for faculty and graduate students, with a particular focus on community-focused events. Janet will serve as the President of the German Studies Association during 2021 and 2022. A transdisciplinary scholar of urban studies, visual culture, and European cultural history and memory, she has received fellowships and awards from the ACLS, Fulbright, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Getty Research Institute, NEH, Summer Institute for Israel Studies, and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Janet is completing her current book, Sites of Holocaust Memory, for Bloomsbury Academic; she has authored two other monographs, Post-Wall Berlin: Borders, Space and Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Weimar Surfaces: Urban Visual Culture in 1920s Germany (University of California Press, 2001), and thirty-five peer-reviewed essays and articles. She the co-editor of four additional books, with a fifth underway on “Fascism in America,” as well as journal special issues on the Oklahoma City bombing and on confronting racial hatred.

After joining OU in 2011 as Professor of History, Janet was a Faculty Fellow for Humanities and Social Sciences Research in the College of Arts and Sciences. Previously, Janet was Associate Professor of History at UNLV (2002-2011) where she served as Director of Interdisciplinary Programs. From 1993 to 2002 Janet was Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at CU-Boulder. She received her Ph.D. in German Studies from UVA, her M.A. in Comparative Literature from Penn, and her B.A. in French and German from the University of London.

 


 

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer
Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships
Executive Director, Advanced Radar Research Center

Telephone: 405-325-6319
Email: rpalmer@ou.edu

Professor Robert D. Palmer was born in Fort Benning, GA on June 3, 1962. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, in 1989. From 1989 to 1991, he was a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow with the Radio Atmospheric Science Center, Kyoto University, Japan, where his major accomplishment was the development of novel interferometric radar techniques for studies of atmospheric turbulent layers. After his stay in Japan, Dr. Palmer was with the Physics and Astronomy Department of Clemson University, South Carolina. From 1993 to 2004, he was a part of the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Nebraska, where his interests broadened into areas including wireless communications, remote sensing, and pedagogy. Soon after moving to the University of Oklahoma as the Tommy C. Craighead Chair in the School of Meteorology in 2004, Dr. Palmer established the interdisciplinary Advanced Radar Research Center (ARRC). He currently serves as the Executive Director of the ARRC and OU's Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships. While at OU, his research interests have focused on the application of advanced radar signal processing techniques to observations of severe weather, particularly related to phased-array radars and other innovative system designs. He has published widely in the area of radar remote sensing of the atmosphere, with over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 30 international invited talks, and over 300 conference presentations. His research has an emphasis on generalized imaging problems, spatial filter design, and clutter mitigation using advanced array/signal processing techniques.

Prof. Palmer is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and has been the recipient of several awards for both his teaching and research accomplishments.

Prof. Palmer lives in Norman with his wife Masami and three daughters, all of whom have attended OU.

 


 

Melany Dickens-Ray

Melany Dickens-Ray
Chief of Staff, Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Telephone: 405-325-5208
Email: mdickens@ou.edu

Melany is the Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships and is Tomas’ Chief of Staff. She is also the Director of Planning and Operations for the Office of the Vice President and Partnerships (OVPRP). Melany has been at the university for 31 years and in her current position as Associate VPR for the past 10 years, but her position has changed and grown in the past eight months since Tomas arrived. She earned both her bachelor’s and masters degrees at OU, and spent 10 years post graduate school working as a Research Associate with several faculty in the areas of Physical Geography, Environmental Science and Plant Biology. Her area of research expertise is interpreting and analyzing satellite remotely sensed data related to categorizing and identifying vegetation coverage in Oklahoma.

Melany’s duties and tasks are related to managing projects for the OVPRP, and she works closely with faculty all over the Norman campus to design and implement the creation or renovation of lab space. Working closely with faculty also gives her knowledge about the condition and amount of research space in use on the Norman Campus, and this initiated an indepth research space inventory that is now conducted on an annual basis. Melany also supervises the VPRP Administrative Staff.

 


 

Ann West

Ann H. West
Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Telephone: 405-325-1810
Email:
awest@ou.edu

West earned her B.A. degree in Biology from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. degree in Genetics from Yale University. She gained further research training in protein biochemistry and structural biology as a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University before arriving at OU in 1996 as an Assistant Professor. She rose quickly through the ranks and was promoted to Full Professor in 2006. She has been recognized with a Cottrell Scholar Award (1999, Research Corporation), Irene Rothbaum Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor (2001, College of Arts and Sciences), Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professorship (2001-2008), Joseph A. Brandt Professorship (2008-2015), and currently holds the endowed Grayce B. Kerr Centennial Chair (2015-present). In addition to significant service roles at the departmental, college, and university level, West has served on numerous NSF and NIH grant review panels as well as executive advisory committees.

 


 

David Ebert

David Ebert
Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships
Director, Data Institute for Societal Challenges (DISC)

Telephone: 405-325-3806
Email:
 ebert@ou.edu

David S. Ebert is currently a Gallogly Chair Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and the Director of the Data Institute for Societal Challenges. He is the recipient of the 2017 IEEEComputer Society vgTC Technical Achievement Award, member of the IEEE vgTC Visualization Academy, an adjunct Professor of electrical and computer engineering with Purdue University, and the Director of the Visual Analytics for Command Control and Interoperability Center (VACCINE), the Visualization Science team of the Department of Homeland Security’s VisualAnalytics and Data Analytics Emeritus Center of Excellence. He received the Ph.D. degree in computer and information science from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA and performs research in visual analytics, novel visualization techniques, interactive machine learning and explainable AI, human–computer teaming, advanced predictive analytics, and procedural abstraction of complex, massive data. He is an IEEE Fellow. 

 


 

Michael Purcell

Michael Purcell
Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships
Executive Director, Office of Research Services

Email: mp@ou.edu

Michael Purcell is the Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships and Executive Director of the Office of Research Services at the University of Oklahoma-Norman campus. Michael is responsible for ensuring the continuity of daily operations of all pre-award functions related to the administration of sponsored research and creative activities for the Norman campus and related programs on the Tulsa campus.

Michael previously served as a Staff Attorney for the Board of Regents through the University of Oklahoma’s Office of Legal Counsel. During that time, he advised the Office of Research Services (ORS) with contract review and negotiation, legal analysis, and general advice. His accomplishments while working with ORS as a Staff Attorney included assistance during several phases of the NASA Geocarb Project and negotiating several master research agreements with Fortune 500 companies. Research awards grew from $97 million in FY2017 to $255 million in FY2020 in part because of his legal review of agreements applicable to such projects.

Before serving at the University, Michael was in private practice at Chubbuck, Duncan, and Robey, specializing in litigation. Michael received his Juris Doctorate in 2011 from the University of Oklahoma, where he also earned a B.B.A. with Distinction in Finance in 2008.