Board of Directors
James Weyhenmeyer, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
James Weyhenmeyer is the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Georgia State University. He is also Chair of the Board of Directors of the Georgia State University Research Foundation. Prior to Georgia State, Dr. Weyhenmeyer served as the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development in the Office of the Provost of the State University of New York. In addition, he served as the Managing Director of the Technology Accelerator Fund and Vice President for Research of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. He was also a tenured professor of biological sciences at the University of Albany/State University of New York, as well as a member of the Institute of RNA Science and Technology at the University of Albany; he also served as a professor of Cell and Developmental/Structural Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2007, Dr. Weyhenmeyer was named as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and has garnered several honors from the American Heart Association. He is a member of the American Heart Association’s Stroke and Cardiology councils, as well as the International Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Jerry Rackliffe, CPA, MBA, JD
Financial Vice Chair and Treasurer
Sr. Vice President for Finance, Georgia State
Jerry Rackliffe has been at Georgia State University 25 years and has held several positions including Director of Budget and Financial Systems, Associate Director of Grants and Contracts and Acting Vice President for Finance. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting and earned his MBA and JD from Georgia State University. He holds a Certified Public Accounting license in Georgia.
Kerry L. Heyward, JD
University Attorney, Georgia State
Kerry Heyward is the Chief University Attorney for Georgia State where she provides legal advice to all University administrators. She also serves as advisor to the President and Provost on legal and administrative matters. Ms. Heyward serves on the University Senate, Senate Athletics Committee, Institutional Review Board, and is a member and secretary of the Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc. She is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Florida and her JD from Stetson University College of Law. She is licensed to practice law in both Georgia and Florida.
Mark P. Becker, Ph.D.
President, Georgia State
Mark Becker, the seventh president of Georgia State University, began his tenure on Jan. 1, 2009. A biostatistician, public health researcher and academic leader, Becker had served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina before assuming Georgia State’s presidency. Prior to that appointment, Becker spent three years at the University of Minnesota as a biostatistics professor, dean of the School of Public Health and assistant vice president of Public Health, Preparedness and Emergency Response. From 1989 to 2000, Becker was a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He also has held academic posts at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University. Becker earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University and his doctorate in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University. Internationally recognized as a researcher in biostatistics and public health sciences, Becker has published more than 40 articles and has been principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and co-investigator on numerous research grants from the Centers for Disease Control, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and other granting agencies. During his career, Becker has been involved in several professional associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Biometric Society and the American Statistical Association, where he is a fellow.
Risa Palm, Ph.D.
Provost, Georgia State
Risa Palm assumed the role of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, beginning Sept. 1, 2009. Prior to that she served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at Louisiana State University; and from 1997–2003, she was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Palm received both a B.A. degree in history, with a minor in French, and a B.S. degree in social studies education from the University of Minnesota. She subsequently received an M.A. degree in geography from the same institution. In 1972, she was awarded a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota. From 1972 to 1981, she was a faculty member, beginning her career as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Leslie Wolf, J.D.
Professor, Law, Georgia State
Leslie E. Wolf is Professor of Law at Georgia State University’s College of Law. She conducts research in a variety of areas in health and public health law and ethics, with a particular focus on research ethics. She has conducted empirical research on conflicts of interest, research with stored biological materials, Certificates of Confidentiality, IRB web guidance, and HIV-related laws and policies. Prior to joining the law school, Professor Wolf taught medical ethics and research ethics at the University of California, San Francisco, where she also served on the UCSF institutional review board and advisory committee regarding stem cell research. She also previously was selected as a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy and as a Greenwall Faculty Scholar. Professor Wolf teaches courses on human subjects research, public health law, and HIV and the law.
Rose Sevcik, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor, Psychology, Georgia State
Dr. Rose A. Sevcik is Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Developmental Psychology doctoral program. She is the founding Co-director of the Georgia State area of focus on Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy and a founding member of the Center for Research on Atypical Development and Learning (CRADL). Her research interests center on the development of symbolic processes, specifically oral and written language development. Dr. Sevcik’s work has focused on children and youth with, or at risk for, developmental and learning disabilities and on language and reading interventions designed and implemented for these populations. Her work has been funded by a series of federally supported grants (e.g., NIH, IES). Several of these grants have been large-scale, multi-site studies that are placed within school districts here in Atlanta and at collaborative sites across the US and in Canada. She is also the PI on an IES post-doctoral training grant on Language and Literacy Interventions for Special Populations.
A Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and an Associate Editor for its journal, she is also a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Sevcik is a member of the National Joint Committee on the Communication Needs of Individuals with Severe Disabilities and serves on the Board of Directors for the United States chapter of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Paul Katz, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor, Biology, Neuroscience, Georgia State
Paul Katz was born in Brooklyn NY and grew up on Long Island. He went to the midwest for college because Northwestern University offered a unique Integrated Science Program. He completed his MS degree there studying the olfactory system of tadpoles. After college, he spent a year in Berlin, Germany studying 19th century German architecture. In 1983, he joined the PhD program in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. There he studied the role of serotonin modulating the motor pattern produced by the stomatogastric ganglion of crabs. He went on to do post-doctoral work with Irwin Levitan at Brandeis University. Dr. Katz took a research assistant professor position at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where he began his studies on sea slugs in collaboration with William Frost. He moved to Georgia State University in 1997.
A.G. Unil Perera, Ph.D.
Regents’ Professor of Physics; Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Interaction of Radiation with Matter (IRML) , Georgia State
Dr. Perera obtained his BS in Physics (First Class Honors) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and his MS and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He is presently a Regents’ Professor of physics at the Georgia State University. He develops novel photon detectors spanning the Ultraviolet to Terahertz range and apply Infrared Techniques for the detection of diseases. He has several patents, published over 160 refereed articles, and edited several books and a member of the Editorial board of the IEEE journal of the Electron Device Society. He is a Life Fellow of both the APS and SPIE, and a Fellow of the IEEE.