Celebrating 35 Years of Service

Pam Bernstein

Department:
Dermatology

More than simply a stellar employee, Pam is the glue that holds the research portion of the department together.  Our department consistently ranks at or near the top Dermatology departments in the country in terms of NIH-awarded funding, as well as number of high-impact papers produced.  Each of our faculty members would attest that this is due in no small measure to the consistent, thoughtful, and efficient work done by Pam on a daily basis. 

As the amount of NIH-awarded dollars has increased over the years, the size of the laboratories and number of investigators has grown; this has increased the scope of Pam’s job.  More and larger awards mean more research personnel, and with more postdoctoral scholars from more countries, with greater entrance restrictions, Pam’s personnel scope alone has increased substantially.  More and larger awards have meant more equipment; this means not just purchasing and inventory issues, but maintenance of equipment, and service contract negotiation and execution.

Pam manages the department's unique Program in Epithelial Biology, which has grown as well.  This program encompasses 26 departments and 75 faculty within the University.  This has meant an immense amount of activity on Pam’s part, including a major weekly seminar series, coordination of shared equipment, and management of interdepartmental initiatives related to the Program in Epithelial Biology.

Perhaps most importantly, Pam’s in-depth and detailed knowledge of Stanford policy and procedure in all areas – research management, finances, human resources, property management, health and safety requirements. Her ability to quickly and efficiently identify and manage specific problems and still keep the “big picture” in focus make her an invaluable resource both to all the laboratory students and staff, as well as the research faculty.  Through all of this growth, Pam is the "go to" person in our research labs, and is the person that holds everything together.

Robin Holbrook

Department:
Department of Microbiology and Immunology/Baxter Lab

It is highly fitting that we are able to honor and congratulate Robin Holbrook on her 35 years of service with Stanford.  Robin, who is the Associate Director of Finance and Administration for the Baxter Lab, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is retiring at the end of May this year.

It has been a long and illustrious career for Robin here in the School of Medicine. She was first hired by Dr. Oleg Jardetzky as an Administrative Associate in May 1981, and worked in the Stanford Magnetic Resonance Laboratory. She was promoted several times over the years as her expertise and responsibilities increased, and was hired as an Administrative Services Manager by Dr. Helen Blau, then Chair of Molecular Pharmacology in 1999.  In 2002, Dr. Blau established an independent lab, the Baxter Laboratory for Genetic Pharmacology, under the aegis of the Microbiology and Immunology Department, and Robin joined her as the Administrative Manager for this new endeavor. It was certainly start-up mode time, and Robin delved into her responsibilities with her typical gusto, energy and smarts!   The lab has grown into a large multi-disciplinary center – now the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, and Robin manages the complex functions of personnel management of over 70 people, over 9,000 square feet of lab space, and a budget of more than $10 million per year. She was then again promoted to Associate DFA, to recognize the complexity and depth of her responsibilities.  Robin handles all of this with a high degree of professionalism, innovative problem solving and, of course, with her wonderful grace and charm.

Many may also know that Robin is an accomplished thespian.  She has performed in many musicals at Stanford, and with other community theater companies throughout the bay area.  She loves to sing and has a wonderful voice, often soloing in church.   Robin brings this energy and joie de vivre to her work as well!

Of the many accomplishments over the years, she has been most proud of handling the organization of several large international conferences, and acting as registrar and course administrator for a one-week International School of Structural Biology and Magnetic Resonance in Erice, Italy, in 1989, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999.  In addition, she was the key administrator at a particularly challenging Gordon Research Conference on Myogenesis in 2011 that took place in New Hampshire in the eye of Hurricane Irene.  With her ingenuity and high spirits, she triumphed and made this meeting a huge success, with a speaker schedule that changed daily as people prevailed and made it to the site.  She also was one of the first administrators to create Web pages – back in the early days of the www!  Robin is not only a financial whiz, who has championed the Baxter annual lab budget negotiations, she excels at diplomacy, managing difficult interpersonal situations with panache.  Additionally, she is a highly skilled writer and editor.  She is proud of having trained and mentored many other administrative staffers over the years. However, her proudest achievement at Stanford is when she was awarded the 2003 Marshall D. O’Neill award for exceptional and enduring support of Stanford University’s research enterprise.

We have been so lucky and fortunate to have Robin as leader of, and an integral part of the Baxter Laboratory team!   We are grateful and appreciative of her time with us, and we congratulate her on a wonderful career. We wish her all the best for new ventures – traveling and performing – in her coming retirement.

Karen Mulkey

Department:
Research Management Group

Karen began her Stanford career in 1981 as an Accounting Assistant in the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program (now Stanford Prevention Research Center) in the Department of Medicine.  She advanced her career, accepting an Assistant Business Manager position in the Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery in 1987.  Karen spent 10 years in that role where she gained a reputation for her professionalism and hard work.  In 1995, the School of Medicine launched a pilot project to re-engineer and streamline research administration.  The idea was to create an expert partner group that would be responsible for sponsored project processes.  We selected 20 department administrators to participate over 4 phases of the pilot.  We quickly recognized Karen’s competencies as a perfect fit for the new role of Research Process Manager.  In 1997, Karen brought her enthusiasm and tremendous experience to the Research Management Group (RMG) during phase 2 of the pilot.  She was a key member of the pilot team and to the success of the pilot.

We are proud to say that after 20 years, Karen is still with us in the Research Management Group!  She has provided outstanding customer service and developed strong partnerships with the faculty, postdocs and administrative staff she serves.  As a Research Process Manager, Karen represents Stanford University as the institutional official for submission of sponsored project proposals and acceptance of grant awards.  She works closely with and provides guidance to faculty and research administrators on proposal and budget development and post-award management.  Karen manages an ever-increasing workload and handles the pressure of proposal deadlines with confidence and a can-do attitude.  

When Karen can escape the world of research administration, she and her husband enjoy traveling.  She is also a big sports fan and enjoys cheering on the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants.

Karen has made a lifetime career at Stanford University.  We are pleased to recognize Karen for her significant contributions to the Research Management Group and the School of Medicine.  We are extremely proud to have her on our team.

David Parks

Department:
Genetics

David Parks is one of those people who comes to Stanford and never finds a good reason to leave. He does go away to experience the natural and human scene in various parts of the world and do photography and sound recording, but he always comes back to continue his work extending the capabilities and applications of flow cytometry in biomedical research. 

Dr. Parks’ career at Stanford began in 1967 with graduate study in nuclear physics leading to a PhD on “The effect of nuclear orientation on alpha and proton scattering from 165Ho.” In 1975, he switched gears and joined the Herzenberg laboratory, combining his physics skills and biological interests to carry forward development of the recently invented Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorter (FACS), now a worldwide clinical and research instrument central to HIV patient care, leukemia diagnosis, bone marrow transplantation and stem cell development and use.  

Since the mid-1980s, Dr. Parks has led the FACS Development Group in the Herzenberg lab. At the same time, he been a mainstay of the Stanford Shared FACS Facility (SSFF) since its inception, also in the mid-1980s.  In 1989, Dr. Parks became Director of the SSFF when it was constituted in its present form as a Beckman Center resource.  In this joint position, he has participated in the invention of technologies that extended the capabilities of fluorescence compensation and FACS cloning, the introduction of high-quality log amplifiers and the extension of the number of available simultaneous fluorescence measurements from 2 to 12 and more.  In the early 2000s, with (40-year staff member) Wayne Moore, he invented “logicle” methods for improving the display and interpretability of FACS data that are now widely used and incorporated into most flow cytometry software.  Along the way, he also served as a board and task force member with the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry and has maintained a commitment to environmental and political activism, including many years on the board of the Fund for Wild Nature.

In 2008, Dr. Parks helped to recruit his replacement as the SSFF Director, enabling him to travel more and spend more time optimizing the use of FACS instruments and supporting researchers in their use of flow cytometry. He currently serves as a Technical Specialist with the SSFF, the Herzenberg lab and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.  His assessment is, “I’ve been privileged to take part in the flowering of a major new technology and contribute to hundreds of important research projects while enjoying most of the work.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Georgette Stratos

Department:
Medicine/General Medical Discipline

35 years is a very short time when one has a colleague like Georgette Stratos. As a person who was lucky enough to meet her in 1979, I can say that she makes time fly by.  

How is it that she was able to bend and slow time, making 35 years seem like a week?  Quite simply, it is by having a set of wonderful core human characteristics that shrink time, including:

  • deep caring and respect for others
  • pleasure in seeing others achieve their goals
  • a positive attitude and appreciation of our good fortune
  • insatiable intellectual curiosity and desire to consistently improve
  • a sense of humor and quickness to smile
  • a delight in being able to help others
  • a respect for the field of medicine with its joys and challenges, but more importantly a respect for all the individuals in healthcare


These characteristics have enabled Georgette to be a central power in our group, a power that has enabled us to have our work reach across countries, across cultures, and across the various aspects of medical education. Her caring for medical educators and her respect for the challenges that they face cannot be overstated. She has been a delight and a gift to all of us in medical education.

I thank her for making her 35+ years at Stanford one of the best weeks in my life.