Home > STPI > STPI Research Staff

STPI Research Staff

Leslie S. Abrahams has experience in the areas of energy and environmental issues. Prior to joining STPI, her research explored a range of environmental impacts associated with energy systems, including land change, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, she has experience quantifying urban vulnerability to climate change hazards and on climate change adaptation measures. Dr. Abrahams has previously worked in the oil and gas industry focusing on energy distribution, and worked as a summer associate for the RAND Corporation assessing operational energy consumption. Dr. Abrahams received a joint PhD from the Departments of Engineering and Public Policy and Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an MS from the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She also holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.

Asha Balakrishnan brings engineering expertise to STPI work in the areas of innovation, competitiveness, and STEM education. Some of her projects at STPI include work related to underrepresented minorities in STEM education and high-skilled immigration of students studying STEM. Some of her previous research focused on developing experimentation techniques and biomechanical models of the brain to understand traumatic brain injury. Dr. Balakrishnan holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. Both her MS and PhD are in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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. Dr. Brykczynski holds an MS in information management from George Washington University and a PhD in information technology from George Mason University.

Christopher T. Clavin brings expertise and experience in environment and energy topics such as energy technology development, climate change mitigation and adaptation policy analysis, and federal science and technology policy for disaster risk reduction and resilience policy. His work at STPI and professional interests involve science policy analysis at the intersections of energy technology research and development, Earth science policy, disaster risk reduction and resilience, and design and management of civil infrastructure systems. Prior to joining STPI, he advised government agencies, public and private utilities, environmental non-governmental organizations, and private energy developers on issues pertaining to renewable energy and biofuels technology development, environmental and ecological impacts of climate change, and market-based approaches for regulating the provision of ecosystem services. Mr. Clavin holds an MS and BS in civil and environmental engineering, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Benjamin A. Corbin's research background touches on a variety of subjects related to space exploration. His doctoral research was on the design and evaluation of distributed satellites and how to leverage the emergent capabilities of distributed satellites in space science missions, while his masters’ research studied ultraviolet emissions of hydrogen in the upper atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter. Dr. Corbin’s other theoretical research has included concept studies for shared human and robotic missions to Mars orbit, asteroid detection, deflection, and mitigation strategies, and space science satellite constellations. In addition, he has designed and built hardware for research on flame speed gas dynamics, sounding rocket telescopes, plasma ramjet thrusters, and small satellites. Dr. Corbin holds a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics with a focus in space systems engineering, MS degrees in aeronautics and astronautics and Earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Keith W. Crane is an economist who works on issues pertaining to energy and environmental technologies with a focus on those designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.  Prior to coming to STPI he was Director of the RAND Corporation’s Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program and Acting Director of its Transportation, Space, and Technology Program.  In addition to his work on technology, energy, and the environment, he has written extensively on Afghanistan, post-conflict nation building and economic development, China, and the transition economies of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.  In the fall of 2003, Dr. Crane served as an economic policy advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.  Prior to rejoining RAND in February 2002, Dr. Crane was Chief Operating Officer and Director of Research at PlanEcon, Inc., a research and consulting firm based in Washington, DC, that focuses on Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.

William E. J. Doane has expertise in computer science, computer science education, computer science education research, information science, instructional design, and curriculum development. Before joining STPI, Dr. Doane was a research associate at the University at Albany and the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science & 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. Dr. Doane holds a PhD in informatics from the State University of New York at Albany, an MS in information and computer sciences from the University of Hawaii, and a BA in cognitive science from Hampshire College.

Jason A. Gallo has expertise in mass communications, information policy, information and communication technologies, and policy analysis. Dr. Gallo leads STPI’s Earth observation work with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) U.S. Group on Earth Observation Subcommittee and Program. Before joining STPI, Dr. Gallo was a visiting lecturer in the Communications Studies Department at Northwestern University and a dissertation fellow at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His academic research focused on the role of the National Science Foundation in the development of U.S. information infrastructure. He holds an MA in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Media, Technology, and Society from Northwestern University.

Xueying "Shirley" Han brings experience and expertise in the areas of China science and technology (S&T) policy, STEM education, global migration of talent, survey and experimental methodology, community ecology, and marine science. Prior to joining STPI, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where her research focused on the role of industrial policy on S&T innovation and STEM education in China. Her doctoral research focused on the importance of herbivore functional groups to coral reef recovery and resilience. Dr. Han holds a PhD in ecology, evolution, and marine biology from UCSB with a focus on coral reef community ecology, a master’s degree in applied statistics and probability from UCSB, and BA degrees in mathematics and biology from Colgate University.

Judith A. 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, Dr. Hautala 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 BA in chemistry from Colorado College and a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University.

Susannah V. Howieson brings legal, economic, and biological expertise to STPI. Since joining STPI in 2010, Ms. Howieson has focused on assessments of research organizations. Specifically, she has led projects evaluating Federal laboratories in terms of technology transfer, governance structures, facilities and infrastructure, and workforce and personnel policies, among others. Ms. Howieson also co-led the research team for the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). She has significant experience in strategic planning and policy development, primarily through her work for the National Security and International Affairs Division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to joining STPI, she worked as an attorney at Sidley Austin, LLP in New York, NY, and for the Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology at DOE. Ms. Howieson has a BA from Rice University, a JD from Boston University, and an MEM in Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University.

Seth Jonas has experience in policy analysis, strategy and metric development, program evaluation, and quantitative analysis across a broad range of topics and agencies. Select areas of study include space weather, hazard preparedness, infrastructure security and resilience, federal government continuity programs, national security, and emergency preparedness communications. Dr. Jonas has held fellowships at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and with the JASON scientific advisory group for U.S. national security. He holds an MA and a PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University, and two BS degrees from the University of Central Florida in physics and liberal science studies (math and chemistry).

Bhavya Lal leads strategy, technology assessment, and policy studies and analyses at STPI for various Federal space-oriented agencies. Her recent work has focused on issues related to space nuclear power, planetary defense, space situational awareness, commercial space, space property rights, small satellites, and global trends in space. Dr. Lal is an active member of the NOAA Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing and has recently served on two National Academy of Science committees: Space-Based 3D Printing (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, 2014), and CubeSats for Science Applications (Space Studies Board, 2016, as Vice-Chair). Before joining STPI, Dr. Lal was president of C-STPS, LLC, a science and technology policy research and consulting firm in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Studies at Abt Associates, Inc., a consulting company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Lal holds BS and MS degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a second MS from MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, and a PhD from George Washington University.

Steven M. Lev brings experience and expertise in the areas of earth science, environmental chemistry, critical minerals, and energy and environmental policy. Prior to joining STPI, he was at Towson University where he worked as Director of the Environmental Science Graduate Program and was awarded a W.H. Elkins Endowed Professorship from the University System of Maryland. His research focused on examining the impact of urbanization on soil and water resources. He served as a AAAS Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate, where he worked on policy issues related to nuclear power, electric grid capacity, toxic chemicals, cybersecurity, and STEM education. Dr. Lev holds a PhD in geochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an MS in geoscience from the University of Cincinnati. After earning his PhD, he was a National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and worked as Project Manager in the Environmental Restoration and Redevelopment Program at the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Justin C. Mary has expertise in the fields of cognition and education, social and behavioral statistics, survey and experimental methodology, and evaluation. Before joining STPI, Dr. Mary worked on the Web Interface for Statistics Education (W.I.S.E.), where he designed and evaluated web-based tools supporting the learners and instructors of statistics. He also served as an adjunct professor of social and behavioral statistics as well as a statistical and methodological consultant in the fields of E-marketing and litigation consulting. Dr. Mary holds a PhD in applied cognitive psychology from Claremont Graduate University (CGU), where he received the CGU Transdisciplinary Grant Award, Stuart Oskamp Fellowship, and Western Psychological Association Student Scholarship Award. At STPI, Dr. Mary has worked on portfolio analyses for the National Institutes of Health, assessed human performance, and supported the Operational Evaluation Division at IDA.

Alexis M. W. McKittrick brings a range of environmental and energy expertise to STPI, including experience in corporate research and development (R&D), technical analysis, policy analysis, and government regulations. Prior to joining STPI, Dr. McKittrick worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, where she focused on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors. She also has significant corporate experience leading R&D lab-scale and commercialization efforts for environmental and energy applications and managing R&D program portfolios across a number of sectors, including the refining, chemicals, and steel industries. Dr. McKittrick holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a member of the prestigious Meyerhoff Scholarship Program.

Ian D. Simon brings expertise in  biosecurity, health care policy, STEM education, and international science policy. Before joining STPI, he served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy fellow at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the State Department, Dr. Simon served as public health and science adviser to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid while on the American Society for Microbiology Congressional Science Fellowship. Dr. Simon began his career as a microbiologist and transitioned to science policy through the Henry Luce Scholarship, which enabled him to conduct international science policy research in South Korea. He earned his BS degree from the University of Maryland, College Park; and his MS degree and PhD in microbiology from Yale University, specializing in AIDS vaccine research and development.

Emily J. Sylak-Glassman has expertise in physical chemistry and biophysics. At STPI, she focuses on Earth observations work with OSTP and the U.S. Group on Earth Observation Program, as well as work related to climate policy. Prior to joining STPI, her research focused on developing spectroscopic techniques to study energy quenching in plants for the purpose of improving photosynthetic efficiency. Dr. Sylak-Glassman holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and BS degrees in chemistry and biological chemistry from the University of Chicago.

Sally S. Tinkle brings to STPI expertise in human health research, policy, and administration, especially as it relates to emerging technologies and environmental exposures. Before joining STPI, she served as 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 in the Office of the Deputy Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Tinkle worked on health issues related to biofuels and the bioeconomy, application of global earth observations to human health monitoring, environmentally-induced pulmonary health conditions, as well as nanotechnology. Dr. Tinkle 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. Dr. Tinkle received her PhD from the Department of Physiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Science.

Sharon R. Williams brings expertise to STPI in the areas of global health, health policy, aging and chronic disease, and social science methodology. Prior to joining STPI, she served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy fellow in the Office of Science Policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 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. Dr. Williams received her BS in molecular genetics and an MA and PhD in anthropology from the Ohio State University.

Brian L. Zuckerman brings expertise to STPI in the areas of program evaluation and scientometrics. His work focuses on Federal research and development program performance and agency-wide research portfolios. Dr. Zuckerman 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. Dr. Zuckerman holds a BA in chemistry from Harvard College and a PhD in Technology, Management, and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.