Dr. Matthew Hepburn
Director of COVID Vaccine Development for the HHS-DoD Countermeasures Acceleration Group (formerly Operation Warp Speed)
Dr. Matthew Hepburn has spent his career fighting infectious diseases from a national security perspective. Raised in a public service oriented family, he was part of Army ROTC during college, completed medical school, and then joined the U.S. Army as an infectious disease clinician. In his subsequent decades of service, Dr. Hepburn filled many roles—including conducting research on vaccines, bringing together federal agencies to prepare for the next pandemic after H1N1, and investing in transformative technologies, from tests to treatments to vaccines, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
It’s no exaggeration to say that Dr. Hepburn had been training his whole life for the moment that COVID-19 arrived and spread across the world. In early 2020, he joined the nascent Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the government’s partnership with the private sector to quickly develop vaccines and other countermeasures against COVID-19. Serving as the OWS Director of COVID Vaccine Development, Dr. Hepburn led with a simple mission: find every barrier to quickly developing a safe and effective COVID vaccine, and find a way around it. Dr. Hepburn and an OWS team of logistical and technical experts employed key strategies such as funding a diverse portfolio of vaccines and investing simultaneously in vaccine development, trials, manufacturing, and distribution.
The results of this work speak for themselves—safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 were developed extraordinarily quickly, shattering expert expectations and records due to the work of Dr. Hepburn and the OWS team. Furthermore, Dr. Hepburn is far from slowing down after the successes of developing COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, he is focused on what we can learn from this pandemic and the OWS experience through his current work as a special advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he advises on medical countermeasure development for future biological events.
Learn more about Dr. Matthew Hepburn’s Work:
- Dr. Matthew Hepburn’s TEDMED Talk: 3 building blocks for pandemic prevention that inspire optimism
- Bloomberg Article: White House Taps Vaccine Leader Matthew Hepburn for Pandemic Preparedness Push
- 60 Minutes Segment: Military programs aiming to end pandemics forever