Grant Writing Mentors

Who We Are



Grant Writing Mentors is a diverse and dynamic team of professionals with 200+ years experience as research scientists, academics, successful grantees, reviewers, scientific review officers, program officers, federal policy makers, science writers, and teachers. As a team, GWM offers numerous expert perspectives when working with institutions to develop effective, coordinated strategies that maximize their strengths and capitalize on diverse opportunities. In addition, GWM works with researchers of all career stages, from pre-doctoral students to early career investigators who need detailed information about funding and support, to mid-career and senior investigators who need to stay current on recent changes in research and grant regulations and policies. The experience and expertise of our mentors is a defining feature of GWM and allows us to assist institutions and researchers in developing the necessary strategies and skills to maintain a competitive edge and achieve their research/career objectives.

  • Institutional Strategic Planning

  • Grant Writing

  • Career Mentoring

  • Science Communication


Sherry Mills, M.D., MPH

Physician; Medical Epidemiologist; Served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH and Director, Office of Extramural Programs, NIH; Responsible for the subject matter review of more than $80 million annually in grants and contracts; Vast experience developing and implementing NIH policies; Served multiple programmatic leadership roles at NIH; Published numerous articles and book chapters; Frequent invited speaker at conferences/symposia. Recipient of numerous awards for outstanding government service.

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Dr. Sherry Mills received her undergraduate degree in human biology from Brown University. She matriculated at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed a Preventive Medicine Residency and a Master's degree in Public Health in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health. She completed post graduate training as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There at the Office on Smoking and Health, she began her career as a medical epidemiologist. In 1991, Dr. Mills joined the National Cancer Institute in the now Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences where she held several extramural program leadership roles. In 2000, Dr. Mills left federal service and joined Abt Associates, a Cambridge-based consulting firm, as the Managing Vice President for Public Health Applications and Research. In 2005, Dr. Mills rejoined the NIH in the Office of Extramural Research (OER) as the senior advisor to the Deputy Director of OER.   In 2009 she was named Director, Office of Extramural Programs (OEP) in OER. Dr. Mills also served as the acting director, Division of Loan Prepayment, OER. Dr. Mills has been recognized with many awards both within government and the private sector for her outstanding contributions to public health interventions, public health policy, mentorship and outreach.


Henry Khachaturian, Ph.D.

Research Scientist; Teacher; Associate Director for Research Training and Career Development (National Institute of Mental Health & National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke); NIH Research Training Program Policy Officer (2006-2017); Chair, NIH Grant Appeals Board (2006-2017); Published numerous peer review articles, book chapters, abstracts; Reviewer of grants and journals; Many invited lectures related to Grant Writing Skills and NIH Research Training and Career Development Programs; Authored 350+ NIH Program Announcements and Policy Notices; Recipient of numerous awards for outstanding government service. 

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Dr. Khachaturian received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology and chemistry from the State University of New York at Brockport. He received his Ph.D. in Anatomy (Neuroscience) from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine. After postdoctoral work, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School as research investigator in the Department of Psychiatry. In 1987 he moved to the University of Tennessee School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and Director of Embryology. Dr. Khachaturian’s research was supported through grants from the NIH to study the development of opioid peptide neuronal systems and monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain. He has authored or co-authored more than fifty peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and he has served on scientific journal editorial boards and NIH peer review panels. In 1988, Dr. Khachaturian moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, where he held several positions including Chief of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Research Branch, Associate Director of Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Science, and Director of Training. In 2000, he joined the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as Associate Director for Research Training and Career Development. Since 2005 he has served in policy capacities in the Office of the NIH Director, including Director of Policy and Liaison Activities, NIH Loan Repayment Office, Training Program Policy Officer, Acting NIH Research Training Officer, and Chair of the NIH Grant Appeals Board. For his dedication to the NIH and public service, Dr. Khachaturian has received numerous NIMH, NINDS, and NIH Director’s Awards.

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David Everett, M.A.

Teacher; Journalist; Communicator; Writer; Editor; Directed graduate programs in creative writing and science writing (Johns Hopkins University); Contributing editor of A Field Guide for Science Writers from the Association of Science Writers; Managing Editor of The Outlier magazine; Editor of wide range of grant applications plus hundreds of scientific articles and essays. Recipient of numerous awards including from the National Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists.

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David Everett, a science writer, educator, and editor, is a writing and editing expert at Grant Writing Mentors. He has edited a wide range of grant applications for federal and private funding, plus hundreds of scientific articles and essays. He also has taught writing and communication to scientists, physicians, and researchers, including at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In a first career as a journalist, David traveled the nation and the world to report on science, economics, social change, labor, energy, and the environment. His news coverage, feature writing, and investigative journalism from 24 states and eight other countries earned many awards, including from the National Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists, and Overseas Press Club. David’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, and many other papers nationally and internationally. His freelance writing and commentary have appeared in various magazines, including Car & Driver, Preservation, Salon, and Scribe, and he has published essays and stories in literary journals and several anthologies, including From Redlining to Reinvestment: Community Responses to Urban Disinvestment (Temple University Press, 1992), A Field Guide for Science Writers (National Association of Science Writers, 2004), and Stress City: A Big Book of Fiction (Paycock Press, 2008). 

After his journalism career, David joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University, where he taught and directed creative writing and science writing programs for graduate students in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. At Hopkins, David founded and led a summer writing conference in Florence, Italy, and Bar Harbor, Maine, and he served as editor of the PennUnion literary journal for 21 years. He retired from Hopkins in 2016 and continues to write, teach, and edit, most recently for AARP, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the American Research Center in Egypt, Baylor College of Medicine, and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He serves as managing editor of The Outlier Magazine, and he has lectured, presented, or read at conferences, festivals, and universities nationwide. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where Patricia Edmonds, his wife, is a senior editor at National Geographic magazine. His professional website is:


Ann Hardy, Dr.P.H.

Senior health science policy analyst; Captain, US Public Health Service (Retired); Extensive experience in federal clinical research, grants policy development and implementation, research ethics and human subjects compliance; Served as Scientific Review Officer, NIH (Center for Scientific Review); NIH Extramural Human Research Protections Officer and Coordinator (2008-2017); Coordinator, NIH Certificates of Confidentiality; Published numerous peer review articles, book chapters, editorials, and government publications; Recipient of numerous awards for outstanding government service.

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Dr. Ann Hardy received her M.S. degree in microbiology and her Dr.P.H. degree in infectious disease epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh.  She has over 30 years of experience as a federal public health scientist, health science administrator, research policy analyst and expert in human subjects protections.  She has served in leadership positions at the Centers for Disease Control, the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She started at NIH in 2001 as a Scientific Review Officer in the Center for Scientific Review and then joined the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) as the NIH Extramural Human Research Protections Officer.  In OER, she developed policies and procedures to ensure the regulatory compliance of NIH funded human subjects research and provided related training and resources to NIH staff and the extramural scientific community.  Dr. Hardy also served as the Coordinator of the NIH Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) program where she established the first NIH-wide electronic application system and helped implement the 2017 NIH policy to automatically issue CoCs for NIH awardees. She is a Certified IRB Professional and is currently serving as a member of the IRB at George Washington University.   She and GWM member, Dr. Sherry Mills have teamed with d’Vinci Interactive in producing the popular interactive, web-based training on human subjects protection, Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP) Online Training.

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Nancy L Desmond, Ph.D.

Research scientist; Effective mentor to individuals across career stages; Successful grantee (NIH, NSF); Reviewer of grants and journal articles; Served as Associate Director for Research Training and CareerDevelopment and as Chief, Neuroendocrinology and Neuroimmunology Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); Recipient of multiple awards for outstanding service to the NIH and the NIMH.

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Dr. Nancy Desmond obtained her PhD in physiological psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and did postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the University of Virginia. Before joining the NIH in 2003, she was an associate professor of neurosurgery and a member of the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She was the principal investigator on grants from NIMH/NIH and NSF that focused on understanding synaptic modification in the hippocampus.  At the NIMH, Dr. Desmond directed the Office of Research Training and Career Development in the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, co-coordinated research training for the NIMH, and was chief of the neuroendocrinology and neuroimmunology program. As an NIMH Program Officer, she fostered the training and career development of new investigators and worked effectively with independent investigator to encourage innovative research grant applications with potential to advance the Institute’s priorities in neuroendocrinology and neuroimmunology. She contributed to multiple NIH-wide efforts on research training and career development, including co-chairing the NIH Training Advisory Committee and participating in NIH Roadmap, NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research and NIH BRAIN training initiatives. Nancy also served as the acting NIH research training officer (2013-2014), where she led the re-issuance of parent NIH training and career development funding announcements and contributed to implementing recommendations from the Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director. She received awards recognizing outstanding contributions to the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint and the NIH BRAIN Initiative as well as awards recognizing exceptional mentoring from the NIMH Director and the NIH Director. 

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David Armstrong, Ph.D.

Professor; Successful grantee (NIH, private foundations); Frequent review service for grants and journals; Published numerous peer review articles, book chapters, abstracts; Frequent invited lecturer related to peer review and navigating the NIH grant process; Served as Chief of Review, NIH (Center for Scientific Review and National Institute of Mental Health).  Recipient of numerous awards for outstanding government service. Currently, President of Grant Writing Mentors, LLC and co-director of a graduate course in Grant Writing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. 

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Dr. David Armstrong received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University following studies at the Ohio State University and Cornell Medical College. Dr. Armstrong was a post-doctoral fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was thereafter appointed Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and University of California, San Diego; Associate Professor, Georgetown University Medical College; Professor and Associate Director of the Institute of Aging at the MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine; and Professor and Deputy Director of the Lankenau Institute of Medical Research, Jefferson Health System. Dr. Armstrong was the principal investigator on multiple grants from the NIH and private foundations to study neuronal vulnerability in Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.  He has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has served on numerous NIH review panels and maintained positions on the editorial boards of many journals. In 2001 Dr. Armstrong joined the Center for Scientific Review, NIH as Chief of Brain Disorders and Clinical Neurosciences, Integrated Review Group and in 2005 accepted the position as Chief of the Scientific Review Branch, National Institutes of Mental Health, NIH. For his dedication to the NIH and public service, Dr. Armstrong has received numerous NIMH and NIH Director’s Awards. 

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Maryann Martone, Ph.D. - Consultant

Professor Emerita, University of California, San Diego, Successful grantee (NIH, NSF, private foundations); Frequent review service for grants and journals; Published numerous peer review articles, book chapters, abstracts; Extensive teaching and mentoring experience; Past President of FORCE 11, the Future of Research Communications and e-scholarship; Editor-in-Chief of Brain and Behavior, an open access journal for Neuroscience; Former US representative to the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and currently Chair of itsCouncil for Technology, Science, and Infrastructure.

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Dr. Maryann Martone received her BA from Wellesley College in biological psychology and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. Currently, she is a Professor Emerita at UCSD, but maintains an active laboratory. She started her career as a neuroanatomist, specializing in light and electron microscopy, but her main research for the past 15 years has focused on informatics for neuroscience, i.e., neuroinformatics.  She led the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), a national project to establish a uniform resource description framework for neuroscience, and the NIDDK Information Network (dknet), a portal for connecting researchers in digestive, kidney and metabolic disease to data, tools, and materials.  She is Editor-in-Chief of Brain and Behavior, an open access journal, and on the editorial board of Nature Scientific DataFrontiers in Neuroinformatics and Journal of Neuroinformatics. Dr. Martone is a strong advocate for open science, open data and revamping our current systems of scholarly communication, dissemination and assessment.  Dr. Martone is past President of FORCE11, an organization dedicated to advancing scholarly communication and e-scholarship and currently serves as the chair of the Council on Training, Science and Infrastructure for the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility.  She was one of the authors of the FAIR principles for making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.  Since retiring from UCSD, she has served as the Director of Biological Sciences for Hypothesis, a technology non-profit developing an open annotation layer for the web and she founded SciCrunch, a technology start up based on technologies developed by NIF and dkNET.  

Hear Professor Maryann Martone from University of California, San Diego, explain why she is involved in the INCF. The International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), together with its 17 member countries, coordinates collaborative informatics infrastructure for neuroscience data integration and manages scientific programs to develop standards for data sharing, analysis, modeling and simulation in order to catalyze insights into brain function in health and disease.

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Elba Serrano, Ph.D. - Consultant

Regents Professor, New Mexico State University; Successful grantee (NIH, NSF, NASA, CINT, Whitehall Foundation); Frequent review service for grants and journals; Member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (2013-2017); Numerous honors and awards including Distinguished Research Mentor Award, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ford Foundation Fellow, Manasse Endowed Scholar; Extensive teaching and mentoring experience including gender and ethnic equity in STEM disciplines; Published numerous peer review articles, abstracts, and book chapters; Frequently invited to speak at conferences, symposia, and public lectures; Chaired and/or organized numerous symposia/workshops including workshops on Professional Development. 

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Dr. Elba Serrano, Regents Professor at New Mexico State University, received her undergraduate degree in physics with distinction from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University, with an emphasis in neuroscience and biophysics. Dr. Serrano completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University Medical School (Neurology) and UCLA School of Medicine (Brain Research Institute) prior to accepting a position at New Mexico State University. Her current research interests focus on neural tissue engineering and disorders of hearing and balance. She has been continuously funded by awards from diverse agencies and the private sector since her arrival at NMSU (NIH; NASA; NSF; CINT; Whitehall Foundation). Her grants portfolio includes leadership of grants for research, research education, instrumentation, institutional partnerships, and faculty professional development. 

Dr. Serrano has worked to broaden participation in STEM for over 10 years as PI/PD of NIH R25 research training programs (RISE; BP-ENDURE BRAiN) and as primary research mentor for more than 120 NMSU graduate and undergraduate students, with whom she has published over 100 journal articles and abstracts. Many of her advisees are participants in mentored research programs supported by federal agency training grants (NIH RISE, MARC, BRIDGES, BP-ENDURE; NSF AMP, CREST, IGERT; NMSGC; HHMI). Her former students hold faculty positions in diverse academic settings, from minority-serving community colleges to research intensive medical school departments. Prof. Serrano has taught over 3000 NMSU students and developed 23 different courses at all academic levels (non-majors freshman to graduate doctoral).  She is committed to the professional development of junior faculty and young investigators. Dr. Serrano has participated as a mentor in the NSF ADVANCE program since its inception at NMSU and is a member of the NIH ACD Next-Gen Working Group.   

Her distinctions include election as an AAAS Fellow, the 2015 SACNAS Distinguished Research Mentor Award, and the NMSU Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence. She has contributed to the NIH research mission through service on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (Dr. Francis Collins), NIH NIDCD Council, AUD and TWD Study Sections, and the BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group (Neuroethics Division). As co-Chair of the NIH ACD Working Group on Diversity, Dr. Serrano worked to develop the June 2017 recommendations for increasing representation of diverse groups in biomedical research. She has a special interest in neuroethics and has offered courses, workshops, and lectures on science, ethics, and society for two decades. 

Dr. Serrano is a Hispanic-American, the daughter of a US Army Sergeant, and the first member of her family to earn a college degree.


Interview with Elba Serrano from a conference by Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University