The Forest and Wildlife Research Center at Mississippi State University has announced administrative changes designed to better position the center for the future.
George Hopper, director of the center, announced Monday the transfer of Liam Leightley, head of forest products, to the Office of the Dean and Director.
"Liam has a wealth of knowledge in research, international programs and administration," Hopper said.
In his new assignment, Leightley will work to develop and expand research both in-state and out-of-state, as well as international programs.
Prior to joining MSU, Leightley served as global manager for a major manufacturer of specialty chemicals.
"When Liam first came to the university, he brought a diverse research and international knowledge to the center," Hopper said. "This move will allow him to help with the expanding research programs in the center."
Opportunities in energy, water and manufacturing have potential for development and Liam has the knowledge and expertise to assist in these areas, Hopper added.
The Forest and Wildlife Research Center provides the only research program in Mississippi focused on managing and utilizing the forest, wildlife, fisheries, and water resources while protecting and enhancing the natural environment associated with these resources.
Established by the Mississippi Legislature in 1994, the center includes the departments of forestry, forest products, and wildlife and fisheries as well as the Berryman Institute East, Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, Natural Resource Enterprises, Southern Climatic Housing Research, Industrial Outreach Service and the Wood Utilization Research Center.
Keith Belli, associate dean and associate director will serve as interim department head of forest products.
"Keith is a trusted leader in the College of Forest Resources and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center," Hopper said. "He will provide excellent management for forest products during this transition."
Leightley holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Bradford and a doctorate from the University of Portsmouth, both in the United Kingdom.
Belli holds a bachelor's degree in forest science from Pennsylvania State University, a master's degree in silviculture from Michigan State University and a doctorate in forest biometrics from the University of Minnesota.