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President Biden to Appoint Renee Wegrzyn as Inaugural ARPA-H Director; Xavier Becerra Quoted

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President Biden intends to nominate Renee Wegrzyn, vice president of business development at biotechnology company Ginkgo Bioworks, to be the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

Wegrzyn’s prior federal government experience included roles at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Biological Technologies Office and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the White House said Monday.

At DARPA, Wegrzyn focused on synthetic biology and gene editing to support the agency’s efforts to enhance biosecurity and promote public health. Prior to joining the agency, she worked as a senior lead technologist for more than seven years at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Wegrzyn concurrently serves on the National Academy of Sciences’ standing committee on biotechnology capabilities and national security needs.

“With Dr. Wegryzn at the helm, ARPA-H is poised to drive health innovation and launch bold and ambitious research programs. She will lead us in tackling some of the most pressing health challenges of our time,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and a previous Wash100 Award recipient.

Established in March, the ARPA-H operates under the National Institutes of Health and supports the development of transformative technologies and approaches to improve public health.

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