Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII) provides support services to USC investigators through a number of activities and programs, including administering internal funding programs, overseeing nominations for limited submission funding opportunities to external sponsors, managing of shared resources through Priority Software FBS and facilitating faculty mentoring and training through the Office of Research and Innovation (OORI)’s Center for Excellence in Research.

Silvia da Costa, Director

Silvia da Costa serves as Director of Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII), as well as Diversity Officer for Research and Innovation and is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Mann School of Pharmacy. RII advocates for faculty research interests and supports faculty-led research across the university, including faculty mentoring, development and training, through the Center of Excellence in Research. Additionally, RII has oversight of shared core facility resources, internal USC-funded grants and awards programs and research funding.

She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California. Her research focused on cytoskeletal filament system regulation of membrane traffic and development of a disease model for Sjögren’s syndrome. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in Physics, French and Journalism, is a native speaker of English and Portuguese, and has working knowledge of Spanish, French and Italian. Previously, she worked as a Research Scientist for Access Business Group, investigating the efficacy and safety of medicinal plants for use in therapeutic product development. Silvia holds various product patents.

Melody Pham, Program Administrator

Melody Pham is the Program Administrator for Research Initiatives and Infrastructure. She manages all the Research and Innovation internal award programs alongside providing support for the shared facility invoicing software FBS.

For questions about internal award programs supported by Research and Innovation, please email
For questions about FBS Shared Facility Invoicing, please email

Araceli Roach, Communications Coordinator

Araceli Roach is the Communications Coordinator for the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure. In this role, she manages the Research and Innovation websites and social media, as well as coordinates workshops for the Center for Excellence in Research. 

For edits to this website or the Research and Innovation website, please email
For questions about the Center of Excellence in Research workshops, please email

Amy Wood, Project Assistant

Amy Wood is the Project Assistant for the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII) and manages the Research and Innovation seed grant programs. Amy also provides support to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and the CITI helpdesk.

For questions about internal award programs supported by Research and Innovation, please email
For any questions about the CITI Help Desk, please email

Mike Yarsky, Program Specialist

Mike Yarsky is the Program Specialist for Research Initiatives and Infrastructure. He manages the office’s limited submissions program, coordinates the CITI Help Desk, and provides administrative support for the Institutional Biosafety Committee and Radiation Safety Committee. Previously, he worked in MIT’s Environment, Health, & Safety Office before joining USC in 2015. Mike also holds a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University and is an avid classical guitarist.

For inquiries concerning limited submissions, please email
For any questions about the CITI Help Desk, please email
Questions for the above-mentioned committees can be sent to or