2020 / Dr. Rick A. Bright

Rick Bright is a Senior Advisor to the NIH Director.  Prior to this role, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and 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.  

In May 2020, Dr. Bright filed a whistleblower complaint alleging his warnings over the novel coronavirus were disregarded by Trump administration officials and his reassignment from BARDA to the NIH was an act of retaliation. In June, Bright amended his complaint to allege of ongoing retribution from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.  

At the NIH, he leads the RADx-ATP program to accelerate the development and expanded capacity for diagnostic tests for the COVID-19 pandemic.  At BARDA, he oversaw innovation, development and procurement of medical countermeasures against an array of threats to national security and public health, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear threats and pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. 

Dr. Bright joined BARDA in 2010, where he served as Director of the Influenza and Emerging Infectious Diseases Division until his selection as BARDA Director in 2016.  Prior to BARDA, Dr. Bright gained extensive experience in the biotechnology industry where he served in senior leadership and executive management roles. Dr. Bright has held senior scientific leadership positions in non-governmental organizations where he championed innovative vaccine development and manufacturing capacity expansion in developing countries. He also spent a decade in vaccine and therapeutics development at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this work, Dr. Bright received the Charles C. Shepard Science Award for Scientific Excellence.    

Dr. Bright serves as an international subject matter expert in biodefense, emergency preparedness and response, vaccine, drug and diagnostics development and serves as an advisor to the World Health Organization and the United States Department of Defense.  

Dr. Bright received a Ph.D. in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University and a B.S. magna cum laude in Biology and Physical Sciences from Auburn University at Montgomery.