The Biosciences Strategic Programs Development Group (SPDG) leads, manages, and executes program development activities to source and build new research programs in the Area. We work with Technical Champions to build programs from a nascent idea to funding opportunity.
Who we are
Katy Christiansen, Head of the Strategic Programs Development Group
Katy leads program development activities and strategic planning for the Biosciences Area. She develops and implements program development processes, including building new multi-institutional research programs with other national laboratories. In this role, she has also led strategic planning processes for Berkeley Lab and DOE. Katy was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at DOE in the Bioenergy Technologies Office from 2012 to 2014, where she served as a technical adviser and assisted in development of funding opportunities. Katy pursued postdoctoral research in the plant systems biology group at the Joint BioEnergy Institute at Berkeley Lab and earned her PhD in plant science from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Lauren Jabusch, Program Developer (Environmental Biology)
Lauren nurtures audacious ideas in environmental biology into supported research programs and tracks the Biosciences Strategic Plan. Previously, she was a postdoc at Berkeley Lab on the m-CAFEs project in the Northen Lab. She has a decade of experience in nonprofit and academic sustainability advocacy and has worked in the University of California system, statewide in California, and nationally. Lauren’s contributions to the UC system in climate advocacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion were recognized by former UC President Janet Napolitano when Lauren received the UC President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership in 2016. Lauren earned a MS and PhD in biological systems engineering at UC Davis.
Simone Giacometti, Program Manager (Computational Biology)
Simone is a member of both the Biosciences Strategic Programs Development Group (SPDG) and the Computing Sciences Area Office. He is responsible for identifying and developing strategic research portfolios based at the intersection of biosciences and computing sciences core capabilities. Prior to joining Berkeley Lab, Simone was Director of the Bioinformatics Core for the Diabetes Center at UC San Francisco (UCSF), where he developed, coordinated, and executed the Core’s strategy and operations. He has a decade of experience at the intersection of biosciences and computational biology, as well as experience in strategic planning and program/project management in the nonprofit and academic sectors. Simone earned a PhD from Aarhus University (Denmark) and Montpellier University (France) in 2016, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF.
Harshini (Harshi) Mukundan, Program Manager
Harshini Mukundan is the program manager for chemical and biological technologies within the Office of National and Homeland Security at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. She is also a scientist in the Biosciences Area. Before joining Berkeley Lab, Harshi was the group leader for physical chemistry and applied spectroscopy at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and led the development of diagnostics and surveillance technologies in the interest of national and homeland security. In this capacity, she has worked with several agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Agriculture, Nuclear and Nonproliferation Security Administration, National Science Foundation, and several foundations and intelligence agencies. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and is an inventor on eight provisional and issued patents. Her technologies have received three R&D 100 Awards, including a gold award for corporate social responsibility. Harshi is a AAAS Fellow, a AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, was recognized as a Woman in Technology by the New Mexico Tech Council, and has received several other awards.
Technical Champions are researchers who generate new science programs with SPDG staff. They may propose ideas, which are vetted by Biosciences leadership. They are committed to this future research, an intellectual technical champion in the true sense of the phrase. SPDG can help Technical Champions financially support their program development time and resources.
Who has access to SPDG support?
- SPDG is supported by the Biosciences Area
When should you engage with the SPDG?
- When you have an idea that needs SPDG support (see intake form and flow chart below)
- During Biosciences Area strategic plan visioning sessions and goal reporting periods
- When you are thinking about writing a white paper
- During SPDG workshops
How do I share my ideas with the SPDG?
- Via the Google intake form, which includes a checklist of what SPDG supports
What is the process from idea to opportunity for research investment?
What is the typical timeline for program development?
- 3 years