President Biden Appoints Dr. Renee Wegrzyn Inaugural ARPA-H Director

President Biden will appoint longtime biologist and former government scientist Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the first director of the nascent Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. The president officially launched the agency in March with $1 billion in initial funding allotted by Congress, but the search for its inaugural director has taken months.


Dr. Wegrzyn currently works at Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, a company focused on biological engineering, but has prior experience in two government agencies that inspired the creation of ARPA-H - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.


“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to shape ARPA-H’s ambitious mission and foster a vision and approach that will improve health outcomes for the American people, including President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot,” Dr. Wegrzyn said in a statement referring to the president’s goal of ending cancer deaths and curbing new cases.


Dr. Wegrzyn will not need Senate confirmation for her role. However, she will nonetheless likely face Congressional scrutiny about the need for a new health agency, which could replicate efforts at the National Institutes of Health.


Dr. Wegrzyn received her PhD in applied biology from Georgia Tech. She has served on the scientific advisory boards for the National Academies of Science Board on Army Research and Development, Revive & Restore, Air Force Research Labs, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Innovative Genomics Institute.


Vehicles meeting the new requirements include plug-in hybrids, full battery-electric and hydrogen cell vehicles. Plug-in hybrid vehicles must have an all-electric range of at least 50 miles under typical driving conditions. Battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles must have a minimum range of 150 miles, include fast-charging capability, and meet new durability and warranty requirements.


Combustion engine cars and light trucks will continue to be legal to own and operate in California.


“I congratulate the state of California for its continued leadership in responding to air pollution and global climate change,” noted ATS President Gregory Downey, MD, ATSF. “For decades, California has led the nation in technology innovation and implementation to address air pollution and climate change. I encourage other states to adopt bold policy to reduce GHG emissions.”

Last Reviewed: September 2022