Meet Our Staff
Nathan Blouin, MBA, CRA
Nathan has over 10 years’ experience in Research Development and pre-award Sponsored Research Administration. As Director of UNC’s Office of Research Development, he constantly looks for new ways to support the research mission of the university. Prior to joining UNC in 2016, Nathan led a large and complex proposal support effort at New York University (NYU) within the Office of Sponsored Research. Over the years, Nathan has supported dozens of successful large scale proposal efforts, across a number of federal, state, and private grant-making agencies. He holds an MBA in Finance, Marketing, and Strategy from NYU, and a BA in Chemical Biology and Philosophy from Boston University.
Leigh Ann Samsa, PhD
Research Development Manager
Leigh Ann holds a doctorate in Cell and Molecular Physiology from UNC-CH and BS in Biology from Duke University. She completed a research postdoc in UNC’s School of Medicine and a teaching postdoc in NC State’s Biotechnology Program before joining the Office of Research Development in 2020. Leigh Ann’s primary role is to support strategic initiatives that grow the UNC’s research with an emphasis on large grant opportunities proposal development.
Nate Warren, PhD
Research Development Manager
Nate Warren helps identify relevant large grant opportunities for UNC researchers, builds teams applying for those grants, and provides administrative support for applications. He joined the Office of Research Development in 2022. Nate holds a doctorate in Nutrition Sciences from University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed postdoctoral research at Duke University. He received a BS in Foods & Nutrition from Appalachian State University.
Rachelle Davenport, BS, BA
Limited Submissions Coordinator
Rachelle oversees the universityʼs federal and foundation limited submission opportunities for faculty and postdocs. She joined UNC in 2019 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Kelley Cardone, MSW, MAT
Research Development Coordinator
Kelley’s responsibilities include agency outreach and engagement, development of affinity groups for the OVCR research priority areas, identification of funding opportunities, and proposal development support. She has over 10 years of experience in program and grants management at UNC prior to joining the Office of Research Development in 2021. She holds a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
B. Gail Whitfield, BA (retired)
Executive Assistant to the Director
Ms. Whitfield retired from UNC in 2020 after 24 years of exemplary service to the University. She supported ORD, OPA and the OVCR with a broad range of administrative, financial, internal grant coordination, and personnel management functions. Gail was a founding staff member of ORD, where she played an integral role in structuring office policies, procedures, and standards of operations.
Contact Our Office
Office of Research Development
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
308 Bynum Hall, CB# 4012
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-4012
Phone: (919) 962-7503