President Biden appointed Renee Wegrzyn, PhD, as the first Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Most recently Dr. Wegrzyn was the Vice President for Business Development at Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming. ARPA-H was established in March 2022 to drive transformative health breakthroughs that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity. Dr. Wegrzyn holds a PhD and BS in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, was a Fellow in the Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI), and completed her postdoctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Heidelberg, Germany. Early in her career, she led research and development teams in private industry in the areas of biosecurity, gene therapies, emerging infectious disease, neuromodulation, synthetic biology, and diagnostics. She served as 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, support the domestic bioeconomy, and thwart biothreats. Since joining Ginkgo in August 2020, she has built out its innovation pipeline for biosecurity, developing and scaling new tools to combat infectious disease and other biological threats through broad community access.
Track Chair: Cindy Lawley, Olink