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Staff Directory

Chinonye Whitley

W 17106
Program Director

Program Responsibilities:
EPSCoR Collaborations for Optimizing Research Ecosystems Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (E-CORE RII)
EPSCoR Research Incubators for STEM Excellence Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (E-RISE RII)
EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII): EPSCoR Research Fellows
Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 (Mid-scale RI-1)


Chinonye "Chi-Chi" Nnakwe Whitley, Ph. D. is a molecular biologist and her studies of DNA repair and DNA damage signaling pathways offer insights into the molecular biology of neuroscience, immunology, and cancer biology.  Dr. Whitley obtained her B.Sc. in Biochemistry with Departmental Distinction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Ph. D. in Pathology from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Whitley joined the NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities in September 2017 and serves as a Program Officer for the NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).   She currently manages a ~$100M+ portfolio of standard grants and cooperative agreements that focus on building basic science research infrastructure, promoting economic development, and broadening participation in STEM. 

Prior to her current role, Dr. Whitley was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NSF in the Computer Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate where she worked on innovation policy programs such as I-Corps™ and SBIR / STTR.  After obtaining her doctoral degree, Dr. Whitley was a management consultant for the healthcare consulting company Campbell Alliance (now inVentiv), where she facilitated product launches and conducted pricing studies of pharmaceutical products. Later, she was appointed the inaugural Director of Graduate Diversity Initiatives in the Office of the Provost at the University of Chicago.  In this role, she led in-reach and outreach programs to promote diversity and inclusion in higher education and the research workforce. She fostered multi-institutional partnerships that led to initiatives like the SPINES Neuroscience Symposium with the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the National Research Mentoring Network-CIC Academic Network (NRMN-CAN) with the Big Ten Academic Alliance.  <