Samantha McBirney

Samantha McBirney
Engineer; Professor, Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


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 and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. With a background in biomedical applications and laser physics, her work at RAND has focused on emerging technologies, industrial base operations and policy, and medical readiness and logistics, 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, she co-leads the allyship initiatives within the BELIEVE (Black Employees Leading in Inclusion, Equity, Vision, and Education) ERG and the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and others) ERG. She also serves on the Pardee RAND Graduate School Faculty Committee on Curriculum and Appointment (FCCA).


  • Emerging Technologies

    Military Yet to Fully Leverage Additive Manufacturing

    Additive manufacturing may very well become a critical component of the Defense Department supply chain, but challenges ranging from decentralized approaches among the various services, a lack of standards, limited awareness and know-how among military workforce and leadership, and intellectual property issues could prevent the Pentagon from realizing its potential.

    Mar 2, 2022

    National DEFENSE

  • Pharmaceutical Drugs

    Malaria Vaccine May Not Eliminate Need to Combat Counterfeit Medicines

    The newly announced malaria vaccine could be a critical tool to combat the tremendous socioeconomic burden malaria causes. But global achievements in reducing malaria cases and deaths in the past decades may be in danger of significant reversal if the problem of counterfeiting continues.

    Nov 8, 2021

    The Hill

  • Pharmaceutical Drugs

    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