Dr. Renee Wegrzyn joined DARPA as a Program Manager in 2016, where she applies the tools of genome engineering and synthetic biology to support biosecurity, enable flexible biomanufacturing, and outpace infectious disease. Her portfolio includes the Living Foundries, Safe Genes, and PREPARE programs. Living Foundries seeks to transform biology into an engineering practice by developing the tools, technologies, methodologies, and infrastructure to prototype and scale engineered microbes that can produce molecules that are of value for government and commercial use. Safe Genes aims to deliver novel biological capabilities to facilitate the safe and expedient pursuit of advanced genome editing applications, while also providing the tools and methodologies to mitigate the risk of unintentional consequences or intentional misuse of these technologies. PREPARE (Preemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements) is focused applying the tools of genome engineering to create potent, transient, and reversible medical countermeasures to combat biological, chemical, and radiological threats to public health and national security.
Prior to joining DARPA as a PM, Dr. Wegrzyn worked in the private sector, where she led teams that provided scientific and strategic support in the areas of biodefense, biosecurity, and biotechnical innovation to DARPA and other federal and private institutions. She is a former Fellow of the UPMC Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative. Dr. Wegrzyn holds Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Science degrees in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She completed her postdoctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Heidelberg, Germany.