A.P. Giannini Foundation

Summer 2024 Newsletter

Expert in Pandemic Preparedness & Response
Turns His Attention to Global Biosecurity Vulnerabilities

2008 Fellow Andrew Hebbeler, Ph.D

2008 Fellow Andrew Hebbeler, Ph.D

Applying his scientific expertise to broader U.S. and global health questions, 2008 Fellow Andrew Hebbeler, Ph.D., has a distinguished career in working to eliminate pandemics and epidemics as threats to society.  Andrew studied biology and philosophy as an undergraduate at Thomas More University and earned his Ph.D. in molecular microbiology and immunology from the University of Maryland Baltimore.  He conducted his postdoctoral research in the lab of Warner C. Greene, former co-director of the UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research.  After completing his postdoctoral fellowship, Andrew accepted a science and technology policy fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science that placed him at the U.S. State Department where he worked as a program officer building capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks around the world.

Andrew has spent the bulk of his career in the public sector.  Among other roles, he worked two different stints in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he led government efforts to accelerate scientific capabilities development for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.  Andrew was the principal architect of the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, published in September 2021.  This plan includes a defining feature of Andrew’s career: calling for federal efforts to achieve the 100-day goal for developing new safe and effective vaccines in response to emerging pandemics.

Currently, Andrew is the inaugural Director of Biosecurity at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a nonprofit agency, founded in 2017 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Norwegian government, and other stakeholders, that seeks to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious disease and enable equitable access to these vaccines.  Andrew is working to develop CEPI’s first-ever biosecurity strategy, which will outline efforts to ensure that CEPI global research investments do not inadvertently lead to the next pandemic due to accidental or deliberate misuse of pathogens.

Andrew shares that his work has enabled him to effect positive change not just in the U.S. but around the world.  An aspect of his work that he finds particularly exciting is addressing interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral challenges.  “In the event of a pandemic, vaccines are a great solution.  But to be effective, vaccines need to be accessible by communities that are the most vulnerable,” he explains.  “What happens when a country doesn’t have the economic means to purchase vaccines?  How do you ensure vaccines are deployed where and when they are needed most?  Sometimes scientific solutions intersect with economic or political challenges.”

While Andrew was interested in global health when he was a postdoc, he wasn’t aware that the career path he has taken even existed.  “You know yourself better than anybody knows you,” he advises. “If you indulge your interests and surround yourself with people you can learn from, everything else will work out.”

2023 Fellows Share Their Research

The 2023 fellows have completed six months of one-on-one communications training that helps them explain their important research in a way that is accessible to all. The Foundation’s communications training program also teaches fellows essential components of a successful presentation. At the conclusion of the program, fellows present their research as part of the Foundation’s video series, “Crossroads: At the Intersection of Research & Medicine.”  Be sure to watch the newest class of fellows discussing their inspiring research.

Board of Director Retires after 40+ Years of Service

Caroline Boitano, long-time A.P. Giannini Foundation board member, has retired after more than 40 years of service

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Caroline Boitano, long-time A.P. Giannini Foundation board member, has retired after more than 40 years of service.  During her tenure she served as president and secretary of the foundation.  Under her leadership, the A.P. Giannini Foundation has carried out its founder’s noble mission and awarded more than 1,000 postdoctoral fellowships in the biomedical sciences.  The foundation expresses its deepest gratitude to Caroline for her unwavering commitment and leadership over the past four decades.