GRA Senior Advisors

GRA's Senior Advisors are experienced leaders in industry who provide valuable counsel to the startup companies in GRA's Venture Development program.


Heather Creran

Serving in CEO, president and COO roles, and with experience as a board director and advisor, Heather is a leader with extensive strategic and operational success driving growth in diverse enterprises, including startup, joint venture, privately-held and public companies.  

Heather currently serves as president and principal at Health Acuity Consulting, most recently acting as temporary chief operating officer at Lineagen, an independent, privately-held, genetics testing company for children with autism spectrum disorder. She served in concurrent roles as president and board director for Eurofins Scientific’s US clinical diagnostics division — at both EGL Genetics, a joint venture between Eurofins and Emory University, internationally recognized in rare and inherited disease genetic testing, and NTD, in the pre-natal screening market.  

In her consulting engagements prior to joining Eurofins, Heather was laboratory diagnostics practice leader at the Broadwell Group, chief operating officer at MicroBplex and senior advisor at Lena Biosciences. 

Before starting her consulting practice, Heather was president & CEO of CSI Laboratories, an independent, privately held national cancer diagnostics company based in Alpharetta, Ga.; and executive vice president and COO at Clarient, Inc., a NASDAQ-traded, personalized medicine company in Orange County, Ca.  

Heather serves on advisory boards and committees with industry, non-profit, and government organizations.  She received her B.A. with majors in economics and political science from Duke University.


Greg Dane

Greg Dane retired from the Georgia Research Alliance in 2015 and continues to advise GRA portfolio companies.  Prior to joining GRA, he was Director of Innovation in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University where he was instrumental in commercializing numerous university-based medical technologies through licensing and startup creation.  Prior to this role, Dane served for 10 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of three development-stage bioscience companies, and 15 years in various senior management positions with Baxter Healthcare Corporation, including General Manager of Research and Development in Europe. 

Dane is a Director of MedShape, Inc. and GRA start-up company NovAb.  He previously was a Director of Somatocor, VitaGen, Inc., Neocrin Company, and Sensys Medical, Inc.  He also served on the Boards of Directors of the Georgia Biomedical Partnership, the Life Sciences Industry Council in Orange County, CA, and numerous university-affiliated life science research and commercialization organizations.  Mr. Dane received both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters in Engineering from Cornell University.


Bill Matthews

William A. Matthews retired from Heidrick & Struggles in 2017 after more than 20 years with the firm.  He was a Partner and member of the Healthcare/Life Sciences Practice and the Human Resources Officers Practice, and previously served as Managing Partner of the firm’s Atlanta and Miami offices.  

Bill’s industry expertise includes medical devices, diagnostics, distribution, IT, and healthcare services.  Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, he was a Partner and Director of the search firm Paul Ray Berndtson.  He previously was a contract consultant for Mitsubishi International Corporation, vice president of Sales and Marketing for a start-up environmental equipment and precious metals refiner, and national sales manager for a NYSE specialty chemical manufacturer.

Bill is active in the business community as a current and/or recent member of Georgia BIO, Friends of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (Georgia Tech), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors.  He has served on the Executive Committee and Board of the Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and is a past president.  Bill received a BS in Commerce from the McIntire School, University of Virginia.


Bill Midgette

Bill Midgette retired from Porex Corporation in 2016, after serving as the President and CEO for 13 years, and following two successful leveraged buyouts. During his tenure, Porex realized several successful M&A transactions, on both the buying and selling side, on its way to becoming the global leader in advanced porous polymer solutions. Midgette has served as Managing Director for subsidiary companies in Japan, China, Germany, U.K. and Malaysia, as well as holding advisory board positions in industry associations in the U.S. and internationally.

Previously, Midgette spent 18 years with C.R.Bard, Inc., where he held several senior executive positions including as President of Bard International, Inc., Bard Medical, and Bard Japan Ltd. During his tenure, he led the investment in, and development and commercialization of market changing products in the cardiovascular, endovascular and urology markets.

Over his career, Midgette has executed on the development and commercialization of new product technologies, in bioscience, medical and advanced materials markets, through licensing, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and acquisitions. He is the holder of two patents on commercialized medical device technologies, with a third pending.

Midgette now leads Fairburn Equity partners, advises early stage technology companies, and is on the Board of Carbice Corporation.  Bill received a Bachelor of Environmental Studies Degree at the University of Waterloo.


Tom Saylor

Tom Saylor is an experienced executive with extensive capabilities building and managing entrepreneurial organizations. His experience includes fundraising, strategy development, in- and out-licensing and acquisitions in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

As CEO of six emerging biotech companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Tom led enterprises that covered drug development, pharmaceutical marketing, and technologies for drug delivery and formulation.

Tom has been actively involved in public policy as a member of the executive committee of the British North America Committee and vice chairman and a member of the board of EuropaBio, the European bioindustry association. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Georgia Tech College of Sciences, the Advisory Board of Georgia Tech Lorraine University, the Advisory Board of the Next in Education and Emory Brain Health Center Advisory Council. 

In the administration of President Jimmy Carter, Tom was appointed deputy head and chief operating officer of the Foreign Agricultural Service, where he led a number of international trade negotiations for the United States. He also served as a foreign trade advisor on the staff of U.S. Sen, Hubert Humphrey.  

Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard University. He also undertook doctoral work in neurochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, Germany.