Meet the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Management Team

Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD


Taubman Institute Director Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD, is Michigan Medicine’s Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism endowed chair, and professor of internal medicine in the department of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes. He also is a professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology in the U-M Medical School, as well as in the U-M Schools of Public Health and Kinesiology.

Dr. Burant developed and is director of the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center, which provides infrastructure and expertise for researchers across the country to perform basic and clinical research in metabolism, obesity and diabetes. His personal research program studies how individual differences in metabolism affect longevity and risk for metabolic diseases, spanning the range from basic to translational to clinical research.

Grace Wu, MS

Managing Director

Grace Wu, MS, was appointed Managing Director of the Taubman Institute in August, 2017. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University.

Since joining the University of Michigan, Ms. Wu has held positions in administration, grants management and organizational management at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and at Michigan Medicine. Most recently, she served as administrator for the Metabolomics and Obesity Center, organizing the activities of the MMOC as well as the NIH grants within the MMOC umbrella, the Regional Metabolomics Resource Core, the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource and Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity.

Contact Grace via or (734) 647-2271

Sunita Cherian

Senior Programmer Analyst

Sunita has joined the Taubman Institute as a Senior Programmer Analyst.  Prior to joining Taubman, she worked for Michigan Medicine Health Information Technology Services on teams supporting Clinical Trial Management Systems and Laboratory Information Systems.  Sunita also has extensive experience in Human Resource Management Systems with over 15 years working on implementations of complex HR systems and data integrations.

Sunita holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University and is a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)





Heidi IglayReger, PhD

Project Senior Manager

Heidi IglayReger, PhDHeidi IglayReger, PhD was appointed Program Senior Manager of the Taubman Institute in June 2018. Her extensive clinical research experience enables her to assist research teams throughout the on-boarding process and beyond, ensuring an efficient, smooth study set-up and that teams have the resources and connections they need to succeed.

Dr. IglayReger earned her honors BS in Animal Science at the University of Delaware, and her dual-title PhD in Foods & Nutrition and Gerontology at Purdue University. She completed her post-doc at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Upon joining the University of Michigan, Dr. IglayReger supervised the Physical Activity Laboratory in its original home within Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, transitioned it to the Michigan Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (MNORC) and remains a key member within PAL and the MNORC Human Phenotyping Core. As sample and data wrangler within MNORC she led the initiative to catalog and transfer over 30,000 samples to the Central Biorepository (CBR) and serves as point in MNORC and TIIP interactions with CBR.

Chrissy Parker, MS

Research Area Specialist

Chrissy Parker, MS joined the Taubman Institute as a Research Area Specialist in July 2020. She has a background working with various research participants and assisting study teams in executing their studies successfully.

Chrissy earned her BS in Exercise Science at Wayne State University and her MS in Exercise Physiology at Eastern Michigan University. She continues to manage the Michigan Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (MNORC) Physical Activity Lab (PAL). She serves as the liaison with several departments and organizations for various research projects.



Melissa Preddy

Communications Director

Melissa Preddy joined the Taubman Institute in 2011 as Communications Director, overseeing internal and external writing, editing, videography, digital channels and development communications for the institute.  

A veteran editor and writer, she has worked as a reporter, columnist and editor, with work appearing in such diverse publications and digital channels.  She has authored and presented training materials to other journalists via seminars and webinars nationwide.  She holds a BA and MA in Journalism from the University of Michigan, and was selected as a Knight-Wallace Fellow in Journalism, Class of ’05.

Contact Melissa via or (734) 218-2043