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Meet the Team

Welcome! As you explore the faculty expert guide, current projects, and other research news and information, I am confident that you will come to appreciate the strong commitment of the school’s faculty and students to producing actionable knowledge on behalf of not only a healthier but also a more just and equitable society.

Our diverse portfolio of research attracts extensive funding from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a large number of other governmental and philanthropic sources. The research made possible with this support, reflected in more than 200 peer-reviewed publications annually, is widely recognized for its exemplary and innovative contributions to both long-standing and emerging issues of vital importance to the public's health and well-being, ranging from maternal and child health to the opioid epidemic to health policy and climate change.

The school’s research is grounded in strong partnerships with community organizations and governmental health agencies that reflect an investment in making strides toward better health throughout Chicago, around the nation and in myriad locations around the globe. Closer to home, the school features state-of-the-art research training programs and numerous other opportunities for students and trainees at all levels to acquire critical skills and experience that position them as future leaders in public health research and practice. Whether you are a fellow researcher, community activist, health professional, prospective student or concerned citizen, I encourage you to tap into the school’s research expertise and infrastructure as a resource. As you do, please be in touch and share your ideas for how we can best support your endeavors.

David DuBois, PhD
Associate Dean for Research

David DuBois headshot

David DuBois, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Research.  He heads the Office of Research Services, with a focus on earning grants and strengthening faculty and student research.  He also serves as a Professor of Community Health Sciences and the Deputy Director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy.  His research examines the contribution of protective factors, particularly self-esteem and mentoring relationships, to resilience and holistic positive development and on translating knowledge in this area to the design of effective youth programs.  Contact him at dldubois@uic.edu.

Robin Buell Sylvester headshot

Robin Sylvester is the Director of Research Services. She oversees day-to-day operations for the Office of Research Services. The office provides a range of services to support faculty, researchers, students and staff, including research development, pre-award proposal development, research workshops, and training for research administrators. Robin is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and earned her master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.  Contact her at rbuell2@uic.edu.

Olivia Desormeaux headshot

Olivia Desormeaux is the Assistant Director in the Office of Research Services. She leads office pre-award staff and administers the SPH intramural seed funding program. Olivia has been with the office since 2018 and is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA).  The North Carolina transplant earned her Masters of Social Work and Masters of Public Health in the dual degree program at the UIC School of Public Health and Jane Addams College of Social Work.  Contact her at odesor3@uic.edu.

Yssa Burgos headshot

Yssa Burgos is a Grants and Contracts Associate with the Office of Research Services. She supports pre-award proposal development and coordinates the annual Research and Scholarship Week. Yssa has earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from the UIC School of Public Health and is currently pursuing her MPH with the school. Contact her at mburgo7@uic.edu.

Sara Banai headshot

Sara Banai is a Grants and Contracts Associate with the Office of Research Services. She assists researchers with proposal development, and she coordinates the Lightning Talks event for students. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Sara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Geography at the University of British Columbia and worked in nonprofit development before returning to Chicago. Contact her at banai2@uic.edu.

Avery Piepenburg headshot

Avery Piepenburg is a Grants and Contracts Associate with the Office of Research Services. She initiates, develops, and executes pre-award grant proposals. Avery earned both her Bachelor of Science in Public Health and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact her at averyp@uic.edu.