Originally from South Africa, Dr. Catharine Young holds a doctorate degree in Biomedical Sciences and currently serves in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Here she works to advance the Cancer Moonshot – The President and First Lady’s mission to decrease the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years. Her focus on cancer began with serving as the Senior Director of Science Policy at the Biden Cancer Initiative (BCI), a non-profit established in 2017 by then former Vice President Biden, leading efforts to bring together the biotech, technology, science, and academic fields to drive innovative solutions and breakthroughs against cancer. Catharine then served as the Executive Director of a Rare Cancer Advocacy organization, where she advanced policy reform and awareness for all rare cancers. Prior to BCI, Catharine served as the Senior Science and Innovation Policy Advisor and Head of the DC team for the Foreign Ministry of the UK. Following her Postdoctoral training at Cornell University in Biomedical Engineering, Catharine was selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. Here she helped lead international engagements on eliminating biological weapons, improving biosafety and biosecurity, and establishing and enhancing biosurveillance capacity, and assisted with the DoD’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.
Awards include being selected as a TED Fellow, a New Voices Fellow of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and Social Enablers top 100 most inspiring social entrepreneurs. Catharine is an advocate for women in STEM and has been a contributor to major social and media networks including TED-Ed, the Guardian and the UK Science and Innovation Network.