Michael Free, PhD, OBE, serves as PATH’s senior advisor emeritus. In this role, he offers guidance to senior leadership on issues from research and development to technology transfer, licensing, marketing, quality assessment, and introduction. Previously, as PATH’s vice president and senior advisor for technologies, Dr. Free oversaw PATH’s technology development; was the global program leader for Technology Solutions; and directed the Technologies for Health Program (HealthTech), funded by the US Agency for International Development, and the Health Innovation Portfolio, funded by individual contributors and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Free was instrumental in PATH’s inception in 1977 and in establishing PATH’s biotechnology laboratory and product design and development facilities. He led more than 100 staff working on a range of health technology projects addressing the specific health care needs of resource-poor populations. Under Dr. Free’s leadership, PATH advanced more than 80 technologies, many of which are currently being manufactured, sold, and used in developing countries.
Dr. Free has more than 40 years of research and development experience in health technology, including eight years at Battelle Northwest, where he developed technologies to improve reproductive health. He holds four patents, and among his extensive publications in research, technology, family planning, and health issues are 15 invited book chapters and symposium reviews.
He received his bachelor of science degree in physiology from University of Nottingham, England, and his master of science and doctorate in physiology from Ohio State University in Columbus. In 2011, Dr. Free was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his achievements in improving global health and his dedication to increasing the availability of health technologies designed for resource-poor settings.