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NBSB Bio | Chair, Prabhavathi Fernandes, Ph.D.

Chair, Prabhavathi Fernandes, PhD, FIDSA

​National Biodefense Science Board Chair

Prabhavathi Fernandes

Dr. Prabhavathi Fernandes, has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical discovery, development, and management experience in large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. She obtained her undergraduate training in India, worked at the University of Ghent, Belgium, in immunochemistry and then received her PhD in microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. After post-doctoral fellowships working on bacterial cell membranes and in clinical and public health microbiology, she chose a career focused on pharmaceutical discovery and development. Dr. Fernandes has held executive leadership positions at pharmaceutical corporations including Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute where she was a vice president for drug discovery, and Abbott Laboratories, where she was the leader of Anti-infective Discovery.  After leaving Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1997, she founded and led four biotechnology and contract research organizations, including Cempra, Inc, prior to retirement in 2016.  She has authored over 250 publications, reviews, and book chapters, and served as article and journal editor on numerous occasions.

Dr. Fernandes has served on the U.S. Congressional Panel for Assessment of the Impact of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, the American Society for Microbiology Advisory Panel for Antibiotic Resistance, and the biodefense product development working group for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  She has worked on policy matters related to combating antibiotic resistance with Infectious Disease Society of America and gained her Fellow title in 2021.  Dr. Fernandes served on the advisory boards of numerous pharmaceutical companies since formal retirement and, in 2018, she was appointed as a scientific advisor to the World Health Organization/Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) and became the chairperson in 2019.  In 2020, she was selected as a member of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) working group at the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Fernandes has served as the chairperson of the NBSB since 2018. ​