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A Comprehensive Approach to Research and Innovation

Leadership and Staff

Deb Wiebe

Deb Wiebe - Director

School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts


Phone: 209-228-4614

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building

Background and Bio: 
Deborah (Deb) Wiebe joined UC Merced as professor of psychological sciences in 2013, and became the director of HSRI in January 2019. Previously, she served as director of research and professor of psychology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Wiebe's research focuses on the roles of self-regulation and social relationships (e.g., family, peers, health care providers) in preventing and managing chronic diseases, and how these processes change across developmental transitions and sociocultural contexts. Her current work examines families managing type 1 diabetes during adolescence, but the concepts are general and she has studied other health and developmental contexts (e.g., older couples coping with prostate cancer; parental decisions regarding HPV vaccine in a safety-net health care setting).

Wiebe received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Bethel College, an MPH in epidemiology from University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a PhD in medical psychology from University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Trevor Hirst

Trevor Hirst - Executive Director


Phone: (209) 756-6417

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building, Room 363A

Background and Bio: 
Trevor Hirst read law at the Victoria University of Manchester, went on to train as a solicitor (attorney), and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 1999, practicing civil litigation in Altrincham, Cheshire in the United Kingdom.

He changed his focus from litigation to education upon moving to California in 2002, working at the University of California in Santa Barbara as a program manager at the university's California NanoSystems Institute. Trevor joined the staff at UC Merced in November 2009 as Program Manager for the Center of Excellence on Health Disparities before joining HSRI in July 2012.

As HSRI's founding Executive Director, Trevor is responsible for the operations of the institute, including staffing, strategic planning, budget, communications and development, and is the intial point of contact for researchers as they draft and submit proposals to federal and other research funding agencies. 


Leann NascimentoLeann Nascimento - Business Officer and Grants Manager


Phone: (209)-285-9249

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building, Room 364A

Background and Bio: Leann joined UC Merced in January 2012 in the Office of Admissions. She then joined HSRI in September 2014 in a duo role as the Management Services Officer (MSO) and Grants Post-Award Manager. As department MSO, Leann oversees and approves all transactions and manages the operational budgets, as well as supervises the academic and Human Resource personnel hirings. Prior to coming to UC Merced, Leann worked for a non-profit agency as an Accountant II managing grants that support vocational programs, as well as assisting with internal audits.

Leann has lead the Post-Award team in HSRI starting with 15 awards to now managing over 60 awards from funders including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Public Health, Cancer Research Coordinating Committee, Department of Army Research, Airforce Research, as well as the Medical Education Program. Leann and her post-award team has established an excellent working relationship with faculty in providing them with the customer service and administrative support to alleviate as much of the administration burden so that the Principal Investigators can strictly focus on their research.

She has received certificates of completion in Financial Management through the Society of Research Administrators International, Supervisory Certificate Program at UC Merced, Risk Management, and received the Staff Award of Excellence in Customer Service and Job Performance in 2018. Leann holds a degree in Accounting and Business Management which lead her to a career in the Governmental Accounting field, and now Research Administration.

Monica AlvaradoMonica Alvarado - Administrative Specialist


Phone: (209)-228-2491

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building, Room 362B

Background and Bio: Before joining HSRI, Monica provided administrative and accounting services to the Central Valley Regional Opportunity Center (CVOC), which provides vocational training and other supportive programs to low-income and farmworker families.  After 14 years at CVOC, Monica now works closely with the department MSO to manage HSRI's academic personnel, postdoctoral scholars, undergraduate and graduate students. 


Alex Mellor

Alexander Mellor - Projects Manager


Phone: (209) 355-9280

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building, Room 362A

Background and Bio:  Alex joined UC Merced in 2017 as an HSRI project manager helping manage and coordinate large grant submissions. In 2018, following a $3.8 million award from the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program of UCOP, he became the Head of Operations for the new HSRI/UC Merced Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center (NCPC), which has offices both on campus and in downtown Merced. 

Originally a native of the United Kingdom, prior to joining UC Merced, Alex spent over 20 years working within large pharmaceutical advertising agencies and marketing departments of companies both in the U.S. and Europe. Alex is tasked with efficiently running all aspects of the NCPC, and utilizes his extensive experience of project managing the daily activities of complex programs, while overseeing multi-million-dollar budgets; planning and driving development of digital and print research materials, while also drafting and implementing effective communication & dissemination plans.


Mika - HSRI MascotMika - HSRI mascot


Phone: (209)-355-9280

Location: Social Sciences & Management Building, Room 362A

Background and Bio: Mika has been providing comfort dog services to HSRI and the wider campus community since 2018. Her specialties include sprinting, running, and being adorable.