Gingko Bioworks Exec Renee Wegrzyn to Lead New Federal Agency
- Posted by ISPE Boston
- On September 22, 2022
President Biden has appointed Renee Wegrzyn, PhD, as the first Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Dr. Wegrzyn is currently the Vice President for Business Development at Ginkgo Bioworks. ARPA-H was established in March 2022 to drive transformative health breakthroughs that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity.
“This is a really great moment for health and biomedical innovation. Dr. Wegrzyn stands out as a thoughtful, innovative, and practical leader,” said Matt McKnight, General Manager for Biosecurity at Ginkgo. “She understands the health innovation ecosystem from every angle—from early-stage research and development to commercialization and community impact, across the public, private, and academic sectors. In her time at Ginkgo, she has been an incredible leader, and her work has shaped the emerging biosecurity industry for years to come. Renee uniquely understands what is needed in the next era of invention, and ARPA-H will benefit tremendously from being shaped by her vision.”
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. (Source: Gingke Bioworks Website, 12 September, 2022)