Sponsored Programs Office


Staff Directory

Aurora Research Institute
Patient-Centered Research
960 N. 12th Street; Suite 4120
Milwaukee, WI 53233

All inquiries should be directed to Mary Groce at (414) 219-4763

Vani NilakantanVani Nilakantan, PhD
Director, Investigator-Initiated Sponsored Research


As director of Investigator-Initiated Sponsored Research, Dr. Nilakantan has oversight of the Sponsored Programs Office. She is responsible for setting research priorities in alignment with Aurora’s strategic vision.


Toby WolfTobias (Toby) Wolf
Manager Research Grants

Toby has 10 years of experience in grant development and management. He specializes in large infrastructure and program grants. Toby oversees all aspects of the pre-award process.



Lisa Klement

Lisa Klement
Administrative Assistant Senior

Lisa Klement provides administrative support to the directors of Investigator-Initiated Sponsored Research and Clinical Research Trials. She has been an administrative professional for 12 years with Aurora Health Care in a variety of roles, including positions in the departments of Human Resources, Quality Management and Nursing Administration.      


Mary GroceMary Groce
Administrative Assistant

Mary Groce is responsible for covering the Patient-Centered Research reception desk. Mary also provides administrative support to the Sponsored Programs Office and Investigator-Initiated Research staff. She has been with Aurora Health Care for six years, four of which were spent in the Philanthropy/Foundation Department.

Cathy BrussCatherine (Cathy) Bruss

Grant Specialist Senior

Cathy has eight years of experience in grant and budget development, and management. She has also served as principal investigator on several federally-funded grants.



Neha GlandtNeha Glandt
Grant Specialist Senior

Neha has more than six years of grant development experience and has worked at local nonprofits for more than 10 years.




Carrie LauerCarrie Lauer, MS
Grant Specialist Senior

Carrie has more than 9 years of scientific writing, editing and research experience in both academic and industry settings. She has a Master of Science degree in biology and has led the design and development of government grant and contract proposals. 



Jamie Oberlander
Grant Specialist Senior

Jamie has more than 7 years of experience in grant and budget development. She specializes in large, multi-disciplinary grants and contracts, training grants, educational outreach and international collaborative projects.