The Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities (ORIF) 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 Center for Excellence in Research.

Silvia da Costa, Director

Silvia da Costa serves as Director of the Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities, as well as Diversity Officer for the Office of Research and is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy. The Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities 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, ORIF has oversight of internal USC-funded grants, awards, and research funding as well as core facilities/shared resources invoicing.

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 the Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities. She manages all the Office of Research internal award programs alongside providing support for the shared facility invoicing software FBS.

For questions about internal award programs supported by the Office of Research, please email
For questions about FBS Shared Facility Invoicing, please email

Mike Yarsky, Program Specialist

Mike Yarsky is the Program Specialist for the Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities. 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

Araceli Roach, Communications Coordinator

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

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