Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia


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Eric Van Gieson, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Dr. Eric Van Gieson has over 25 years of experience in developing medical technology in diagnostics and critical care with leadership roles in industry, academia, and government. At The Conafay Group, he uses his skills in building partnerships with the U.S. Government and industry to ensure a rapid transition of early-stage biotechnology platforms to end users.

Dr. Van Gieson’s career in the federal government began in 2003 at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL), where he served as Program Manager and Principal Professional Staff. After seven years at JHUAPL, he joined the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) as a Senior Science and Technology Manager where he served as Chief of the Diagnostics, Disease Surveillance, and Threat Detection division.

In 2014, Dr. Van Gieson became Director of Biosurveillance and Diagnostics at MRIGlobal and later joined the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska as Chief Technology Officer. During his time at both institutions, Dr. Van Gieson worked together with private and interagency partners to develop a novel patient transport system, known as the Containerized BioContainment System (CBCS). This platform ultimately received an R&D 100 Award, and multiple federal agencies have used it to transport patients from both the Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks.

After nearly two years at NSRI, Dr. Van Gieson served as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). During his five years with the Agency, Dr. Van Gieson initiated programs to use host-based methods to mitigate the impacts of emerging diseases, as well as to optimize human performance. These programs enabled a new diagnostic paradigm that harnesses the epigenome with AI-based biological pathway analyses and led to new technologies that can both diagnose and prognose diseases, guide healthcare decisions, and enable the discovery of new medical therapies. Dr. Van Gieson’s DARPA work also created programs to prevent traumatic brain injury with molecular prophylaxes.

Dr. Van Gieson worked to commercialize the technology emerging from his programs at DARPA. These commercialization efforts have led to >$100M in commercial and private investment in DARPA technologies to ensure their transition to both commercial and public/military applications.

Dr. Van Gieson received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. He has publications on topics ranging from genomic analysis to unmanned systems autonomy and has served as the Chief Judge on the Nokia Sensing XChallenge and a Judge on the Qualcomm Tricorder XChallenge. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, wrenching on old cars, wing foiling, mountain biking, and snowboarding.