Michael Stebbins is a geneticist, and public policy expert who served as the Assistant Director for Biotechnology in the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is currently the President of Science Advisors, a science and health consulting firm he founded in 2018 to provide science, technology, and public policy guidance to private companies, philanthropies, and non-profit organizations.
While at the White House, Dr. Stebbins developed eight Executive Orders and other Federal directives addressing issues ranging from the antibiotic resistance crisis in the US to restoring pollinator health. His work led to broad changes in practice across the Federal government regarding the purchasing of bio-based products, improving veterans’ mental health, increasing access to federally funded scientific research publications and data, improving scientific reproducibility, evaluating and addressing the preferential purchasing of antibiotic free meats, reforming the regulatory system for biotechnology products, and improving the management of scientific collections. He was also the staff lead on numerous PCAST reports to the President including reports on Propelling Innovation in Drug Discovery, Development , and Evaluation; Combatting Antibiotic Resistance; and Agricultural Preparedness & the United States Agricultural Research Enterprise.
He served as the Vice President of Science and Technology for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation where he was responsible for identifying and pursuing opportunities for philanthropic investment in Science and Technology. His work at the Foundation addressed a broad set of critical issues including FDA transparency, scientific reproducibility, open science, clinical trials recruitment, challenges to the Renewable Fuels Standard, improving organ donation rates, and initiatives to leverage the intellectual property sitting on shelves of universities and Federal agencies, creating over 80 cancer research and development companies in two years.
In 2017, he helped launch the Value in Cancer Care Consortium (VI3C) to develop and run clinical trials on the most expensive chemotherapy drugs, with the aim of optimizing delivery and reducing the costs of treatment based on evidence. He also helped launch, and chairs the board for, Vivli, an organization developing a clinical trial data-sharing platform for universities and pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Stebbins serves on the National Academies of Science, Board on Research Data and Information and has served on the US Government’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee Task Force on advanced biotechnologies. He serves on the advisory Boards for Datavant, and Amida Technologies.
Dr. Stebbins previously served as a science advisor to the Obama Presidential Campaign and helped organize 95 Nobel Laureates in Science to endorse then Senator Obama for President and served on the Obama White House Transition Team focusing on the Executive Office of the President. He is the former director of biology policy for the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) where he led their biosecurity project. His work at FAS led to changes in how agents are trained to interact with scientists at the FBI Training Academy at Quantico and his team developed the first tools to train scientists on dual-use research of concern. He co-founded, and served on the board of directors for, Scientists and Engineers for America, and served as President of Scientists and Engineers for America Action Fund. Dr. Stebbins worked as a legislative fellow for U.S. Senator Harry Reid and a public policy fellow for the National Human Genome Research Institute. He is a former adjunct professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Washington, he was a senior editor at Nature Genetics. He received his B.S. in biology at SUNY Stony Brook and his Ph.D. in genetics while working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.