Instructor Biographies



Robert L. Caudle – Research Administration Manager, Office of Research Administration

A North Carolina native, Robert permanently relocated to the Triangle after receiving his bachelor’s degree in the Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Post-graduation, he assumed the role of public relations and publications manager for a non-profit entrepreneurial network in RTP. Shortly thereafter, he began negotiating contracts and trade agreements for the organization.

Robert joined Duke University in the summer of 2007, managing federal contracts and industry-sponsored clinical trial agreements in the Department of Medicine. Two years later, Robert became the pre-award manager for a complex, multi-center, research consortium. For almost five years, he focused most of his attention on negotiating subawards with institutions across the United States and Canada.

Robert joined the Office of Research Administration in February of 2014, where he is responsible for the negotiation and cradle-to-grave central office administration of federal contracts for the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing.

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Jenni Clark – Coordinator for Education and Training, Research Costing Compliance

Jenni Clark is the Coordinator of Education of Training for Research Costing Compliance at Duke University. Jenni develops and delivers research compliance training at Duke University. Prior to joining RCC in May 2014, she was a Grants and Contracts Administrator in the Department of Surgery at Duke University and a Proposal Coordinator in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has 15 years research administration experience. Jenni served on the Research Administrators Symposium Planning committee in 2014.  She was a member of the NCSRA Planning Committee for 2012 and 2013 and co-taught a session on Payroll Challenges in 2012.

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Julie B. Cole, MA, CRA ‐ Director of Research Costing Compliance

Julie Cole is the Director of Research Costing Compliance (RCC) at Duke University. She has served in similar capacities at Wake Forest University, the University of Florida and other higher educational venues. Julie directs Research Costing Compliance in developing and providing dedicated compliance training and in monitoring financial research compliance at Duke University. Her previous appointments have included responsibilities in directing both central pre‐award and post‐award offices to ensure compliant institutional submission and management practices. On the national level, Ms. Cole is a member of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). She has served as international president of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA), and was recognized as one of SRA’s Distinguished Faculty. She currently serves as a member of the national NCURA faculty for the NCURA Traveling Workshops series, teaching workshops for research administrators throughout the country. Julie is an NCURA board appointee to the NCURA Peer Review team that provides expert evaluation of institutional grant management practices.  Julie has just completed an appointment to the national NCURA Professional Development Committee, where she was part of a team developing a groundbreaking webinar series, Life Cycle of a Sponsored Project, designed to support research administration training in institutions throughout the United States. 

Julie is a frequent presenter at regional and national NCURA programs, with specialization in monitoring metrics, compliance, training, and professional development for research administrators.

Julie has served as team lead for the U.S. Public Health Service in a national project designed to train institutions in appropriate research support and compliance practices. She served for four years as a member of a special NIH Study Section as a specialist in research administration structure/policy. She was a member of the national joint SRA/NCURA committee that developed current professional standards for research administration (Body of Knowledge). Her second edition chapter, Training and Education, appears in the 2014 edition of Sponsored Research Administration: a Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices. She is the recipient of the Southern Appalachian Sigma Xiaward in recognition of her work in research development in the region and was honored with the only joint NCURA and SRA achievement award for her work in developing a national training curriculum model.

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Lara Mekeel, MPP – Assistant Director, Research Training, Research Costing Compliance

Lara Mekeel is the Assistant Director of Research Training for Research Costing Compliance at Duke University. Lara develops and delivers research compliance training at Duke University. Prior to joining RCC in June 2013, she was a Financial Analyst II in the Department of Immunology at Duke University, and has 9 years research administration experience. She has been involved with RCC training since 2009. Prior to joining RCC as a full-time employee, she volunteered as a trainer with RCC and has taught courses in post-award management and project closeout. She has served as a mentor for two employees participating in RCC certificate programs. In addition to her role as a trainer, Lara has served on the Research Administrators Symposium Planning committee since 2010 and is currently serves on the Duke Uniform Guidance Implementation Committee. 

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Marianne Ward – Research Administration Manager, Office of Research Administration

Marianne Ward earned her BS degree from Emerson College, Boston, MA.  Marianne has central office research administration experience spanning 15+ years at three institutions.   She began her research administration career at MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH in the Research Administration Business Office as a Grants Specialist.  Marianne then joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN as a Grant and Contract Administrator in the Grant and Contract Management Office. In August, 2007, Marianne joined Duke University’s Office of Research Administration, where she currently manages cradle-to-grave pre- and post-award activities for federal contracts, excluding financials.  This entails contract proposal review and submission, negotiation and acceptance, subcontracting, award management, training and procedure development.

Ms. Ward has presented sessions on federal contracting at NCURA and the North Carolina chapter of SRA International.  She is one of the trainers in Duke’s Federal Contracting Certification Program. She earned her CRA certification (Certified Research Administrator) from the Research Administrators Certification Council in June, 2005 and was recertified in June, 2010.

Ms. Ward has served on the Manuscript Editorial Committee (MEC) for the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities (JHSH) since 2011, first published by the Navy Medicine Institute for the Medical Humanities and Research Leadership and recently published by the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.

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