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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gary L. Disbrow, Ph.D.

Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Photograph of Gary L. Disbrow

Dr. Gary Disbrow is the Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats. BARDA has established hundreds of public-private sector partnerships and as of November 2020 BARDA now has a portfolio of 56 products that have earned FDA regulatory approvals, licensures or clearances.

Dr. Disbrow joined BARDA in January of 2007 and has held a variety of positions related to the advanced development and procurement of medical countermeasures against an array of threats to national security and public health. Prior to becoming the BARDA Director, Dr. Disbrow served as acting BARDA Director, Deputy Assistant Secretary of ASPR and Medical Countermeasures Program Director.

In October 2013, Dr. Disbrow was named Acting Director of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Division and was subsequently named the Director of the Division in December of 2014. During that time, the CBRN Division built a robust pipeline of candidate products under advanced research and development. In 2014 and 2015, Dr. Disbrow was identified as the Ebola Incident Coordinator for BARDA and worked closely with the BARDA Director on funding needs, development of candidate products, and was the primary liaison for BARDA across the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE).  These efforts led to the first licensed Ebola vaccine, ERBEVO licensed in December 2019.

October 2008, Dr. Disbrow began serving as the Deputy Director of the CBRN Division of Countermeasures and oversaw the budget and programs for both advanced research and development and Project BioShield efforts.

Upon joining BARDA in January 2007, Dr. Disbrow began working on the smallpox vaccine program. Dr. Disbrow played a key role in awarding the first contract under Project BioShield using the authorities for advanced payment and milestone payments provided under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (2006).  JYNNEOS was licensed in September 2019.

Prior to joining BARDA, Dr. Disbrow was an Assistant Professor of Oncology and Pathology at Georgetown Medical Center where he worked on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and therapeutics. Dr. Disbrow has previously worked at W.R. Grace, Kodak, and Genecor.

Dr. Disbrow attended the University of Rochester and Georgetown University for his undergraduate and Ph.D. respectively.

  • This page last reviewed: April 22, 2021