Dr. Michael-David (M-D) Alphonsus Rodriguez Richardson Kerns is a Health Scientist Administrator at NIA. Dr. Kerns serves as a Program Officer for NIA’s Small Business Programs within NIA’s Office of Strategic Extramural Programs. Much of his effort focuses on working with applicant small businesses and awardees to understand, apply to, and participate in NIA’s small business research and development (R&D) grant programs and entrepreneurial training programs. In advising small business applicants and awardees, Dr. Kerns works with OSEP and other NIA staff to enhance the efficacy and value of NIA’s investment in small business R&D programs.
Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Kerns was an Engagement Manager and Senior Analytical Scientist at Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, leading a multi-component health-services research project with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In this capacity, he recruited, managed, and supervised analytic and administrative teams and coordinated the work of other sub-contractors while acting as principal Engagement Manager to the project and primary liaison with/to the primary contractor on the project, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).
In previous careers with profit-and-loss responsibility, Dr. Kerns worked as a Senior Brand/Product Manager at Burlington Industries in New York, managing the Menswear brands and product lines. Before that, he worked as an Associate Brand/Merchandizing Manager at Avon Products, overseeing the divisional team's product and merchandizing management of the fragrance and personal-care businesses.
His first job out of business school was with Commerzbank A.G./New York, where he worked as a capital markets trader on the corporate capital markets desk, trading foreign exchange (US Dollar/German Mark in cash & futures/options markets) and a number of risk-management derivatives.
Prior to his career in investment banking and marketing management, Dr. Kerns worked in the publishing and fashion industries while living in Milan, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Dr. Kerns’ academic background includes an A.B. from Duke University in Political Science with secondary studies in Psychology and Classical Studies (Latin/Ancient Roman Civilization). In his senior year at Duke, Dr. Kerns presented his honor’s thesis, “Consumerism and Coastal Zone Management: A Psychoanalytic Exegesis.”
After working for a number of years in Continental Europe and East Asia, Dr. Kerns returned to the United States to attend business school at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he was awarded a Master of Management in marketing management and international business. As part of his training experience at Kellogg, Dr. Kerns worked as an Associate on a multi-component strategic reorganization (management consulting) consult at Motorola Corporation for Motorola’s nascent and burgeoning cellular telephone technology.
After stints as a capital markets trader and brand/product manager, Dr. Kerns made the decision to leave corporate America to undertake monastic training at Dai Bosatsu Monastery. Following completion of several periods of Kessei, Dr. Kerns returned to graduate school at San Francisco State University where he obtained an M.S. in counseling psychology and was one of four recipients of the Graduate Student Award of Excellence for his academic and clinical work and leadership.
After completing his M.S., Dr. Kerns relocated to Iowa to work with Drs. William Hoyt and Peter Martin to complete his doctoral studies in Lifespan Development and Statistics at Iowa State University as a PACE Fellowship recipient. His early research focused on the role of cultural narcissism and interpersonal evaluative behaviors. During this period, Dr. Kerns also collaborated with Dr. Hoyt on a series of studies and publications addressing rater bias using Cronbach’s Generalizability Theory (model) to assess and disambiguate sources of bias in both interpersonal and object evaluation.
Dr. Kerns's dissertation, and a subsequent book, focused on the development and statistical analysis of a new Postmodern model (Post-Solidarity) of intergenerational relation(ship)s. During this same period, Dr. Kerns was awarded and completed a research fellowship at the German Centre for Research on Ageing at the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.
Following completion of his doctoral studies and the fellowship in Germany, Dr. Kerns was appointed as a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of NIA grantee Dr. Carol Malatesta-Magai, focusing on ageing, health, (discrete) emotions, and emotion regulation.