Samantha McBirney

Photo of Samantha McBirney
Full Engineer
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, University of Southern Calif; M.S. in biomedical engineering, University of Southern Calif; B.S. in bioengineering, UC Berkeley


Samantha McBirney (she/her) is an engineer at RAND with a background in biomedical applications, emerging technologies, and laser physics. At RAND, her work has focused on medical readiness, medical logistics, emerging technologies (and how they're used by near-peer adversaries), pharmaceutical supply chains, and international drug policy, with interests reaching into national security, biotechnology, and public health.

McBirney received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and her B.S. in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently working on her MSc in Global Health Policy from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. In addition to her role as an Engineer at RAND, she serves on the Pardee RAND Graduate School Faculty Committee on Curriculum and Appointment (FCCA).


  • Laura Ng, who has lupus and had to recently call at least five pharmacies before she could find a place to fill her hydroxychloroquine prescription, in Seattle, Washington, March 31, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    The Unintended Consequences of a Proposed Cure for COVID-19

    The very discussion of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as therapeutic options against COVID-19 has decreased their availability for proven treatments, exacerbated global shortages, fueled a rampant counterfeit drug market in Africa, and worsened trade tensions. What can be done to deal with these unintended consequences?

    Apr 29, 2020 The Hill