Leadership Team

Kerstin Lynam, MBA
Chief Executive Officer

Kerstin Lynam serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) and has worked in the not-for-profit, academic, and grant administration field for more than twenty years.  Ms. Lynam was appointed to serve at PAVIR in July 2013.

Ms. Lynam has authored several articles and edited two books on financial and medical group practice management, and has been an invited speaker at several national conferences on research and administration compliance, as well as general not for profit management.  She has also moderated her own internet radio show focused on medical research.  Her interests include governance, data-driven and participatory management, efficient compliance, financial stewardship, process improvement, public relations, and purpose driven operations.

Ms. Lynam has a dual Political Science / German bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and an MBA from the University of Colorado in Denver.

liang-bonnieBonnie Liang, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Bonnie Liang, CPA, is PAVIR’s Chief Financial Officer. She has over 25 years of experience in financial management, strategic planning, business development, treasury, accounting, auditing and regulatory compliance in integrated health systems, hospitals, medical foundations, and technology companies. Prior to joining PAVIR, she held various finance executive positions at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Daughters of Charity Health System and Kaiser Permanente. Ms. Liang joined PAVIR in July 2015.

Ms. Liang has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada and obtained her Certified Internal Auditor in 1989, Certified Public Accountant in California in 1992 and Certified Global Management Accountant in 2011. Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal recognized her as a Women of Influence in 2008. Ms. Liang is also trained in Lean management and will substantially contribute to PAVIR’s ongoing process improvement activities.

Mary Thornton
Director of Information Technology

Mary Thornton has been with the Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) since 1995. She has filled many positions at PAVIR from Accounting Assistant through the present, Information Technology Director. Ms. Thornton’s work in various capacities at PAVIR has positioned her well to now focus her efforts on the Information Technology functions of the organization. As IT Director one of her responsibilities is the Research and Development Information System (RDIS) which is central to the research endeavors at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. As one of the three original architects of RDIS, and a user and proponent of the system throughout its history, Mary is uniquely qualified to assure that it will support the needs of the research community into the future. She derives great satisfaction from working out systems and procedures, especially those involving the use of technology, that help the entire organization work more efficiently and productively as PAVIR supports the scientists in their important endeavors.

Prior to her service with PAVIR, Mary’s experience was in customer service, business and accounting.

staats-elaineElaine Staats, MPH
Director of Sponsored Research

Elaine Staats serves as the Director of Sponsored Research of PAVIR.  As Director, she leads the PAVIR Contracts & Grants Administration (CGA) team to provide outstanding service and support to VA Palo Alto Investigators for pre- and post-award administration.  This includes ensuring adherence to applicable federal, state, and local regulations and policies, establishing processes and procedures to maximize the integration of research administration principles with investigator innovation, and overseeing CGA staff while fostering a culture that promotes Veterans research.  Ms. Staats enjoys process improvement, development of investigators through the arc of their career span, and serving those who have served.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in Animal Physiology & Neuroscience as well as Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and an MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Ms. Staats has worked in the research administration field in not-for-profit and academic settings for more than ten years.