Office of Research and Economic Development

Heather Dawson, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Dr. Heather Dawson is the executive director for the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) and an associate professor of biology at the University of Michigan - Flint. ORED advances and promotes research and serves the progressive needs of UM-Flint's community by connecting university resources and expertise of faculty and students with community, industry, and business partners. 

Heather has years of experience as a researcher and administrator at UM-Flint and with the federal government. She has also spent 11 years as an educator and mentor in the Biology Department's Wildlife Biology Program. 

She and her collaborators have secured more than $400,000 in federal funding for research, and she has authored or co-authored several scholarly publications with students that focus on improving the management of the invasive Great Lakes sea lamprey. Recent research endeavors focus on study of the ecology of the Flint River prior to planned restorations, as well as engaging the community surrounding this great resource. She and her students have presented at dozens of national and international conferences. 

She directs the UM-Flint M.S. in Biology Program, is adjunct faculty at Michigan State University in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and at the Quantitative Fisheries Center, serves on a task force for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission surrounding the management of Great Lakes sea lamprey, and during the 2019-20 academic year, Heather served as a faculty co-lead on an internal analysis team for the UM President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality

Gone fishing: Hamilton Dam removal offers research opportunities for wildlife biology

If you look toward the Flint River on campus this summer, there’s a good chance you’ll spot Associate Professor Heather Dawson and her students fishing. Their tackle may be a bit unconventional: backpack electrofishers and cast nets are utilized along with conventional rods and reels.

Flint River Ecology Study

"The Downtown Flint River has been a major topic of controversy. This ecology study wants to highlight, locally and globally, that the river has a healthy diversity of species, and should be one of the highlights of Flint."

UM-Flint faculty, students help UM on the path to carbon neutrality

Equipped with a tape measure and Trimble GPS device, Wildlife Biology majors Nicole Blankertz and Caleb Short have spent their Friday afternoons measuring and cataloging UM-Flint’s trees.