STPI Research Staff

The STPI research staff is made up of experts in numerous S&T fields ranging from engineering and statistics to the natural, physical, and social sciences.

Asha Balakrishnan, Ph.D.
Assistant Director
Asha Balakrishnan has expertise in evaluation for research and training programs, space policy, and STEM education. Some of her projects at STPI include policy research for space situational awareness and small satellites, evaluation of a federal scholarship program, and portfolio analyses for large research facilities and mid-scale facilities. She has worked in the area of metric development and assessment across a number of topics, including cyber research, technology transfer, and STEM education/workforce programs. Asha holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both her master’s and her doctorate are in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ayeisha A. Brinson, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member

Ayeisha Brinson has experience integrating economics, human dimensions, biology and oceanography into natural resources management. Before joining STPI, she worked at the Department of Treasury advancing climate policy at multilateral development banks. Prior to that, Ayeisha worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with the NOAA Chief Economist, as well as with the NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Science and Technology and Northeast Fisheries Science Center. She worked on cross-cutting issues, such as understanding the effects of weather disasters or federal fisheries management to local economies. Ayeisha holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in marine fisheries, economics and policy from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, a master’s in fishery and wildlife biology from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida.

Bill R. Brykczynski, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Bill Brykczynski has conducted extensive analyses involving federal government continuity programs, national security, and emergency preparedness communications and warning systems. Before joining STPI, he was Chief Scientist of the Software Productivity Consortium and led the consortium’s cyber-security program. He has more than two decades of experience conducting technical analyses and leading project teams, including performing applied research and development in information security, analyzing industry research and development and market capabilities, evaluating the software capabilities of large organizations, analyzing information technology risks in major defense systems, and assessing the security of computer systems. Bill holds a master’s in information management from George Washington University and a doctorate in information technology from George Mason University.

Christopher M. Cannizzaro, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Chris Cannizzaro has expertise in critical infrastructure, resilience, emerging technologies, space policy, science policy, and international affairs. Prior to joining STPI, Chris worked at the National Security Council as the Director for Critical Infrastructure and at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Space and Advanced Technology. Additionally, he has served as a research professor at Tufts University, a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a visiting scholar at the University of Hawaii, and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Milan. Chris holds a doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, a master’s degree from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, all in chemical engineering.

Carly S. Cox, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Carly Cox has a background is in molecular biology, and she has worked on a variety of science and technology policy topics, including those related to synthetic biology, biotechnology, and biosecurity. Carly is also interested in topics related to STEM education and workforce. Prior to joining STPI, she was a project manager and Science Policy Fellow at Research!America, a not-for-profit health advocacy organization. Carly received both doctoral and master’s degrees in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Yale University, where she conducted research into the prevention of age-related diseases. She received a bachelor’s from the University of Georgia in biochemistry and molecular biology. 

Dylan H. Cohen
Research Associate
Dylan Cohen has expertise in space policy, whistleblower protection, data analytics, and innovation ecosystem assessment. Before joining STPI, he was a legislative assistant for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. He was lead staffer for hearings on cybersecurity and academic publication fraud; he conducted oversight of federal science agencies; and he provided technical briefs to members of Congress. Prior to that, Dylan conducted an assessment of the technical, economic, and legal feasibility of commercial asteroid mining for his master’s thesis. Dylan holds dual master’s degrees in technology and public policy and in planetary science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and dual bachelor’s degrees in physics and in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Matthew Diasio, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Matthew Diasio joined STPI in 2023. He has experience in materials research, health and biotechnology policy, diplomacy, and science communication. Prior to joining STPI, Matthew worked at the British Embassy to the United States as a policy advisor in the Science and Innovation Network, supporting U.S.-U.K. scientific collaboration, with a focus on health and life sciences, biotechnology, biosecurity, agriculture, and DEI and STEM workforce issues. He previously served as an American Chemical Society Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow in the office of Sen. Tina Smith, advising on education and health. Matthew also briefly worked in science journalism as an AAAS Mass Media Fellow, reporting on science and health stories. Matthew holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia, where he researched nanoparticles and soft materials. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Rice University.

William E. J. Doane, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
William Doane has expertise in computer science, computer science education, computer science education research, information science, instructional design, and curriculum development. Before joining STPI in 2013, he was a research associate at the University at Albany and the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science and Education. Additionally, he has held faculty appointments at the University at Albany, Bennington College, the College of Saint Rose, Skidmore College, and several other institutions. He holds a doctorate in informatics from the State University of New York at Albany, a master’s degree in information and computer sciences from the University of Hawaii, and a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from Hampshire College.

Vernon K. Dunn, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Vernon Dunn has expertise in STEM education and workforce, postsecondary education, promoting and serving minority communities, and health policy. Prior to joining STPI, he served as a program officer within the Policy and Global Affairs division at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, where he managed projects under the Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy; the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Law; and the New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine program. He previously served as program manager at the Louisiana Board of Regents, where he managed the Louisiana STEM Advisory Council’s efforts to oversee the creation and delivery of STEM programs for the state. Vernon received his doctorate in neurobiology from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s in psychology and chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Abby R. Goldman, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Abby Goldman has conducted analyses of critical and emerging technologies and their ecosystems, of risks to electric vehicle battery supply chains, of STEM education and workforce issues (including of foreign STEM talent), and of federal data sharing practices, among other policy topics. Before joining STPI, her doctoral research focused on learning from biomineralization — the study of how organisms grow crystals — to create new, functional magnetic and electronic materials. Prior to earning her doctorate, she was a Fulbright Fellow at the Technion-Israeli Institute of Technology where she conducted research on novel solar cell materials. Abby holds doctorate and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Mount Holyoke College.

Emily R. Grumbling, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Emily Grumbling has expertise in physical science, information and communication technology policy, quantum science and technology policy, and STEM education. Prior to joining STPI, Emily served as a program officer with the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and the Forum on Cyber Resilience of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation and as an American Chemical Society (ACS) Congressional Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives. Emily is a volunteer member of the ACS joint board-council Committee on Science. She has twice served as a January-term visiting faculty member with the Citizen Science Program at Bard College, where she completed her bachelor’s degree as a double major in chemistry and film. She earned her doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Judith A. Hautala, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Judith Hautala has experience in strategic and business planning, research and development management, technology assessment and licensing, and business development. She has worked on numerous strategic planning projects for the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. These projects have included clinical trials, translational research, and bioinformatics. Before joining STPI, Judith was Vice President of Research and Development at American Red Cross Biomedical Services and Director of the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences. There, she directed both a research and development program in support of blood services and a grant-funded discovery research program related to transfusion medicine and novel cellular therapies. She received a bachelor’s in chemistry from Colorado College and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Northwestern University.

Luba Katz, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Luba Katz has expertise in biomedical sciences, research and development policy, program design and evaluation, performance measurement, STEM workforce development, and organizational needs assessment. Prior to joining STPI, she was a senior associate at Abt Associates, where she developed and led a portfolio of work supporting the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and several other sponsors of scientific research. Luba has also served as a senior researcher on numerous projects in public health, environment, international development, and biosecurity. She holds a doctorate in genetics and cell biology from Cornell University and a bachelor’s in biology from McGill University. After completing her graduate training, Luba was a Ruth L. Kirschstein postdoctoral fellow in computational biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Irina Liu
Research Associate

Irina Liu has expertise in China’s innovation and industrial policy, innovation ecosystems, and international science and technology collaborations. Before joining STPI as a Research Associate, Irina worked at the Rhodium Group, China Practice, engaging on macroeconomic and industrial policy issues on critical technologies such as electric vehicle battery supply chains and artificial intelligence. She was also previously a Science Policy Fellow at STPI, providing research on China’s commercial space industry and other China-related projects and supporting the interagency working group. Irina holds a Master of Management Science in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, where she was a Schwarzman Scholar. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Columbia University in the City of New York and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Sciences Po Undergraduate College, Reims Campus.

Anna B. Mikulska, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Anna Mikulska has background in political science, international relations and law. Prior to joining STPI she was a fellow in energy at Rice University's Baker Institute, where she co-led the Program on Energy and Geopolitics in Eurasia, and a senior fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She focused on markets and geopolitics of energy, including the use of natural gas as a geoeconomic tool and the role of U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas in the context of domestic and international energy security. Anna’s interests also include electoral politics and its impact on energy policy and international systems. She holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Houston, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Windsor in Canada, and a law degree from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. Anna speaks Polish, English, German, Farsi and Russian.

Rebecca K. Miller, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Rebecca Miller has a background in natural hazard mitigation and the impacts of disasters on communities. She was previously a Science Policy Fellow at STPI, where she primarily worked on projects related to climate resilience and earth observations. Rebecca was also a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow at the U.S. Department of State in its Climate Security and Resilience Program, where she focused on natural hazard exposure and mitigation across diplomatic posts. Rebecca holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in environment and resources from Stanford University, a master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University.

Thomas D. Olszewski, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Thomas Olszewski has a background in the geosciences and brings expertise in the areas of environment, ecology, energy, and quantitative analysis. From 2003 to 2016, he was a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M University, where he was Associate Chair of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Degree Program and taught courses in Earth system history, multivariate statistical analysis, and numerical modeling. From 2016 to 2018, he was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of Central European Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where his primary focus was energy security in the region. He holds a doctorate in geosciences from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in geology from Kansas State University, and a bachelor’s from Franklin and Marshall College.

Pavel Panko, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Pavel Panko brings expertise in applied statistical modeling, quantitative methodology, and experimental social science research. Prior to joining STPI, Pavel worked as a statistical analyst and software developer at Texas Tech University focusing on areas such as social epidemiology, global mental health, and special education. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology with a specialization in quantitative methods, and master's degrees in educational psychology and data science from Texas Tech, as well as a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Kansas.

Sally S. Tinkle, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Sally Tinkle has expertise in human health research, policy, and administration, especially as they relate to emerging technologies and environmental exposures. Before joining STPI, she was the Deputy Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office of the National Science and Technology Council where she led strategic planning and implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. As a Senior Science Advisor at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Sally worked on health issues related to biofuels and the bioeconomy, nanotechnology, and more. She also served as a research laboratory team leader at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, focusing on the relationship of skin exposure to the development of occupational lung disease. Sally received her doctorate from the University of Colorado and was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine.

Walter D. Valdivia, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Walter Valdivia has expertise in policy analysis and program evaluation with an empirical focus on innovation policy and the political economy of innovation. He has published on a wide variety of topics in the governance of innovation, including technology transfer, industrial policy, the federal research and development budget, responsible innovation, geoengineering and export controls. Prior to joining STPI, he held positions as a research editor at George Mason University and a research fellow at the Brookings Institution. He held honorary appointments as visiting faculty at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, senior fellow at the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes, nonresident fellow at Brookings, and visiting pre- and postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley. Walter has taught at Johns Hopkins, George Mason and Arizona State universities and has been a consulting editor for the journal Issues in Science and Technology.

Lisa M. Van Pay, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Lisa Van Pay has extensive experience communicating science and technology issues to broad audiences. Prior to joining STPI, she was the Director of Research Communications at the George Washington University, working to highlight research into autism, computational biology, and violence against women. Lisa has experience developing strategic plans, helping develop scientific multimedia content, and providing media and communications training for researchers. She was previously a media contact and agency spokesperson for the National Science Foundation, where she handled communications for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate. As a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NSF, she helped create and manage the foundation’s social media presence. She earned a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and genetics and a doctorate in molecular and environmental toxicology, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sharon R. Williams, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Sharon Williams has expertise in the areas of global health, health policy, aging and chronic disease, and social science methodology. Prior to joining STPI, she served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow in the Office of Science Policy at the National Institutes of Health. She was previously on the faculty at Purdue University, where her research focused on global aging; the interaction between culture, behavior, and biology in the development of chronic disease; and the development of field-friendly methods collecting biological markers of health. Sharon received both her doctoral and master’s degrees in anthropology and a bachelor’s in molecular genetics, all from the Ohio State University.

Gifford J. Wong, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Gifford Wong has experience and expertise in the areas of environment, energy, resource management, ecology, U.S.-China bilateral relations, and science communication. Before joining STPI, he served as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State through a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. His portfolio included oceans management, maritime security, Polar issues, energy, public health, environmental change, wildlife trafficking, and space. Prior to that, Gifford served as climate and environment adviser to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse while on the American Geosciences Institute Congressional Science Fellowship. He holds a doctorate in Earth sciences from Dartmouth College, an Honours in Antarctic Studies from the University of Tasmania at Hobart, and a bachelor’s in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

Brian L. Zuckerman, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member
Brian Zuckerman has expertise in the areas of program evaluation and scientometrics. His work focuses on federal research and development program performance and agency-wide research portfolios. Brian has also analyzed federal research and development data systems and statistical data collection programs. Before joining STPI, he was a principal at C-STPS LLC and at the Center for Science and Technology Policy of Abt Associates Inc. He is a past co-chair of the Research, Technology, and Development Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association. Brian holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from Harvard College and a doctorate in technology, management, and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



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