Staff Office of Research Discovery and Innovation

Office of Research Discovery and Innovation Staff

The Office of Research, Discovery, and Innovation provides services and support necessary to the research mission of the Adams School of Dentistry. In order to facilitate these endeavors, the Office is charged with administrative oversight of all sponsored research funding.

This includes support for pre-award and proposal submissions; financial management for contracts and grants; and assistance with compliance requirements. The professional staff in the office are exceptionally knowledgeable and service oriented, and committed to promoting the research mission through assisting faculty, students and staff. Compliance is an important aspect of any research enterprise.

In conjunction with the University, our office is dedicated to providing resources and guidance, promoting compliance within the research environment. The following provide additional information.

Major Services provided:

Proposal and Pre-Award: The Office of Research, Discovery and Innovation reviews and approves all proposal submissions on behalf of the associate dean for research and/or the dean. In addition, our office offers guidance and resources for faculty and students submitting proposal applications to both external and internal sources.

Post-Award: The Office of Research, Discovery and Innovation provides post-award administration and financial reporting for all college sponsored research funds (restricted and unrestricted). The staff meets with principle investigators (PIs) on a regular basis to provide guidance and managerial assistance.

Marisa Sears – Post-Award Accountant


Entered UNCCH service on August 1, 1994 after a career in retail that started when I was 16 and continued through three retailers. But after closing three stores within two years, felt it was time to find something else. Customer Service is an idea learned in my retail years and holds true through my work with UNC.

I first worked in the University Development Office under The Awesome Jean Vickery. Worked there until September 2002 as Gift Processing Technician – had fun making deposits of donor gifts, processing charge gifts and departmental gifts. Still talk to one of my favorite donors to this day!

Finally took the plunge and took some Accounting courses through Durham Tech so I could qualify for Accounting Technician positions. Once completed, applied to a few and was thrilled when I was offered an Accounting Tech position with Dentistry.

Joined the Adams School of Dentistry in September 2002 and have been here ever since. Went with the displaced labs out to RTP while Koury Oral Health Sciences Building was being constructed.

Enjoyed the time getting to know many of the lab folks and enjoy the friendships to this day! Enjoy cross stitching, sewing and reading – have gotten a lot done with being home for the pandemic. Non-pandemic activities include going to craft shows (oh, how I have missed them this past season!) and volunteering for bike rides with husband (Dan Sears – we’re both amateur radio operators).

We are the proud parents of a Maine Coon furbaby (Blue) who keeps up on our toes! Enjoy my job and enjoy working with the researchers to help them with any and everything that I can.

Katrina Person - Post-Award Accountant

Katrina PersonI am originally from the Eastern part of the state of North Carolina, known as Pirate Nation in Greenville, NC. I grew up; in a small town five minutes away from Greenville named Winterville. My experience with the UNC System spans twenty-three years, with a Bachelor of Science in University Studies with an emphasis in Health and Wellness Administration. While serving on several campuses, I had the opportunity to manage budgets, contracts, and grants and assist the campus communities. My previous employers were East Carolina University and UNC Charlotte.

In 2020, I began my career path with UNC-Chapel Hill when I relocated from Charlotte to Burlington, NC, for the opportunity to work as an Accounting Specialist at the OVC Business Hub in Student Affairs. In May of 2022, I was offered an Accountant position at the Adam School of Dentistry. I am looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know everyone.

When in my free time, I enjoy shopping, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family. In addition, taking time out for myself is also one of my favorite things to do.