Mythbusters: Debunking the Top Myths of Academic Collaborations

Interest in academic/industry collaboration is at an all-time high. Groups all over the city, state, and country are engaged in this critical debate. Unfortunately, there are foundational issues driving academia that are poorly understood and lead to unrealistic expectations. A better understanding of the issues will foster a more productive public debate around increasing innovation and lead to better partnerships.

Join a panel of Georgia university Vice Presidents for Research as they debunk the top 5 myths associated with collaborating with academia.

The objective of this session is to create:
-Better understanding of academic partnerships
-Increased awareness of academic opportunities
-Increased awareness of the business behind academic research  


Todd Sherer, PhD, CLP, RTTP
Assoc VP Research & Exec Dir, Technology Transfer
Emory University

Todd Sherer, PhD, is Associate Vice President for Research Administration and Executive Director of Technology Transfer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  He leads a team of 20 focused on creating value from intellectual property developed by Emory researchers.  Since joining Emory in 2003, Todd has expanded the program by twelve staff, instituted a commercially oriented product pipeline to highlight Emory’s varied portfolio, and created an in-house patent department to reduce costs and better align patent work with research activity.  Licensing revenues have exceeded $700 million since Todd joined the office.  He also worked with colleagues to monetize downstream licensing revenues on an Emory-discovered molecule that is now part of the leading AIDS drug cocktail - resulting in a $540 million, one-time payment.

odd is Past President for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).
He is also on the Board of Directors of Southeast BIO (SEBIO).  Todd is a Registered Patent Agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  He is also a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP).

Jilda Garton

Vice President, Research and General Manager
Georgia Institute of Technology

Ms. Garton joined Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998 and now serves as the Vice President for Research and General Manager of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC). Georgia Tech is a comprehensive  university which reported over $730 million in research expenditures in 2013. Ms. Garton is responsible for the financial and business affairs of the GTRC, including licensing of intellectual property created at Georgia Tech. She directs the activities of the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Office of Research Integrity Assurance and the Office of Industry Engagement. Ms. Garton is Georgia Tech’s Institutional Official for the use of human subjects and animals in research and the Empowered Official for exports. She is a member of the Institute Council on Environmental Health and Safety, the Conflict of Interest Committee and is a past chair of the Faculty Senate’s Welfare and Security Committee. Ms. Garton has been very active nationally in research policy matters as well. She served on the Board of Directors of the Council on Governmental Relations (1999-2004) including two years as chair of the Contracts and Intellectual Property Committee. She currently serves on the Board of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) and is a past-chair, as well as co-chairing the UIDP’s Contracts Accords Working Group. She has also served as a member of the faculty of the National Council of University Research Administrators’ professional education programs.

David Lee, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research
University of Georgia


David Lee received his undergraduate education from Stanford University and his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle.  Following postdoctoral training at Washington University in St Louis, he worked for two years in the pharmaceutical industry before joining the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel in 1985.  There he rose through the ranks, becoming head of the Biochemistry and Biophysics department and a program leader in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in the UNC School of Medicine.  He moved to UGA in 2005 to assume his current administrative position.  He serves on the boards of several national organizations, including the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the Southeastern University Research Association and the U.S. Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center headquartered at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  His research focused on molecular regulation of cellular growth and especially the role of transforming growth factors.


Jim Weyhenmeyer, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Georgia State University

Dr. James Weyhenmeyer is the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Georgia State University where he has responsibility for managing the university’s research portfolio and economic development activities. Immediately prior to joining the Georgia State community, he was the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development at the State University of New York and the Vice President for Research at the State University of New York Research Foundation. Dr. Weyhenmeyer is an experienced senior administrator having held several executive administrative appointments, including posts as the Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Corporate Relations and Vice President for Technology and Economic Development at the University of Illinois. He was the founding Managing Director and CEO of Illinois VENTURES, LLC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on the development of technology-based companies. His area of investment expertise is in the life sciences sector, including therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. He is a serial entrepreneur, having served in management positions for companies in the medical device, drug delivery and drug development sectors. He continues to serve as a scientific advisor for technology-based companies and a consultant for early-stage investment due diligence and business start-ups. He serves on a number of public and private boards of directors and is leading an effort for the American Heart Association to launch a Science Accelerator Fund that will reduce the time to market for groundbreaking discoveries that will impact the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Dr. Weyhenmeyer is also an accomplished scientist having published widely in the areas of cardiovascular disease and stroke. He has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association, the PHARMA Foundation and private industry. He is a Professor of Neuroscience and Biology at Georgia State University and continues to hold an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Pathology at the University of Illinois. He is a member of several honorary societies, including the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences. Dr. Weyhenmeyer received his B.A. from Knox College, a Ph.D. from Indiana University and did his postdoctoral training in the Departments of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Iowa.

David Wynes, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research Administration
Emory University

David Wynes is the Vice President for Research Administration at Emory University. In this position, Dr. Wynes serves as the chief administrative officer responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of the infrastructure that supports the research mission of Emory University. He oversees the Office of Technology Transfer, Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of Research Compliance, Office for Clinical Research, the Institutional Review Board Office, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Office, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Investigational Drug Service, and the Conflict of Interest in Research Office. He is the designated Institutional Official for both the IRB and IACUC programs.

Prior to moving to Emory in February 2007, Dr. Wynes was at the University of Iowa for 16 years where he was the Senior Associate Vice President for Research. Prior experience includes positions at Boston University, Tufts University, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

Dr. Wynes currently serves as a member of Board of Directors for Georgia Bio, the biotechnology industry support organization in Georgia for the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), and has previously served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), the Chair of the Council on Accreditation for the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), and as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR).

He holds a BA and MS in biology and a PhD in zoology.


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