In February, the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering (BBE) welcomed David Warren as its new division operations officer (DOO), charged with overseeing space planning, human resources, logistics, grants and finance, compliance, and other crucial administrative functions of the division.
Warren, who now oversees a staff of about 30 people who support 50 faculty researchers, assumed a position that was previously held by Mike Miranda, who is stepping down after 48 years of service at Caltech and 21 years as BBE's division administrator/division operations officer. Miranda will stay on in a support role for the next several weeks to assist in the transition.
Richard M. Murray, the William K. Bowes Jr. Leadership Chair of the division, says that DOOs "play a critical role in the way that Caltech runs, and David brings an outstanding set of experiences, skills, and insights to this important position. I'm excited to be working with him in supporting the students, postdocs, faculty, and staff in BBE."
Warren comes to Caltech from the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where he served as the Zilkha's director of operations for 15 years. In that role, he acted as the senior budget officer, supervised the support staff of the institute, and supported finance, payroll and personnel, grants management, and facilities and operations. He previously worked at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he began his career; Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; and The Walt Disney Company.
"My immediate goal is to get to know the division and all the folks in it. The people are remarkably wonderful, really collegial, and accommodating," Warren says. "I'm having the time of my life learning about Caltech, with its emphasis on research—even undergrads and especially graduate students and postdocs are focused on experimental work. Caltech is large enough to attempt wonderful things, yet small enough to actually get them done."
Warren says his other goals include identifying ways to use technology to modernize and streamline processes to make the lives of researchers easier: "We want to free up the PIs from day-to-day administrative burdens. They didn't go into science because they wanted to fill out a lot of forms and jump through hoops. I want our team to support them in whatever they need. Basically, ‘don't worry if I'm the right person, just call me and I'll help you.'"
Warren joins the ranks of the Institute's other DOOs, including Candace Younger (HSS), Aleen Boladian (GPS), Marionne Epalle (EAS), and Shruthi Aradhya (PMA). CCE is also currently bringing on a new DOO.
For now, Warren says he is eager to get started: "This is really a dream job for me at an ideal academic setting, working with some of the best and brightest minds in the world. That's humbling every day."