Dr. Renee Wegrzyn Named Inaugural Director Of ARPA-H

President Joe Biden has appointed Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a new agency established to drive biomedical innovation that supports the health of all Americans.

Dr. Wegrzyn, a scientist with professional experience working for two of the institutions that inspired the creation of ARPA-H – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) – will be responsible for driving the agency’s nascent research portfolio and associated budget. The budget is expected to support a broad range of programs in order to develop capabilities to prevent, detect and treat some of the most intractable diseases including cancer.

Dr. Renee Wegrzyn is currently a vice president of business development at Ginkgo Bioworks and Head of Innovation at Concentric by Ginkgo, where she is focused on applying synthetic biology to outpace infectious diseases – including COVID-19 – through biomanufacturing, vaccine innovation, and biosurveillance of pathogens at scale.

Prior to Ginkgo Bioworks, Wegrzyn was program manager in the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where she leveraged the tools of synthetic biology and gene editing to enhance biosecurity, promote public health, and support the domestic bioeconomy.

Wegrzyn received the Superior Public Service Medal for her work and contributions at DARPA. Prior to joining DARPA as a program manager, Wegrzyn led technical teams in private industry in the areas of biosecurity, gene therapies, emerging infectious disease, neuromodulation, synthetic biology, as well as research and development teams commercializing multiplex immunoassays and peptide-based disease diagnostics.

Wegrzyn served on the scientific advisory boards for the National Academies of Science Board on Army Research and Development, Revive & Restore, Air Force Research Labs, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Innovative Genomics Institute.

On the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot speech, Dr. Wegrzyn will join President Biden Monday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston as he discusses his vision for ending cancer.

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