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Richard Bruns, PhD

Senior Scholar, Assistant Scientist

Professional Profile

Dr. Bruns is a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Bruns’s research focuses on economic modeling and cost-benefit analysis of topics related to public health and the prevention and mitigation of global catastrophic biological risks, such as: long-term social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; government policy responses and environmental engineering technologies to reduce the risks of future pandemics; pandemic-related catastrophe bonds and insurance markets; emerging technologies for securable indoor food production; and the monetized costs of health-related misinformation.

Dr. Bruns’s long-term research agenda includes using cost-benefit analysis to make the world’s preparations for pandemics and emerging biological risks as effective as possible and expanding the use of quality-adjusted life years to better measure a variety of life states and social conditions, so that cost-benefit analysis can include and properly account for all expected side effects of public policies.

Before joining the Center, Dr. Bruns was a Senior Economist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), doing cost-benefit modeling of many FDA regulations and actions, including the Intentional Adulteration rule, which was designed to protect food production facilities against terrorist attacks; the PHO GRAS determination, also known as the “trans fat ban”; and a variety of other rules relating to the safety of food and medical devices. Dr. Bruns also did preliminary modeling on a proposed FDA Nicotine Product Standard, a de facto ban on cigarettes that would have many significant effects on public health and safety and other social conditions, as well as research to quantify and monetize the marginal per-unit effects of a variety of food contaminants, such as mycological toxins and arsenic in rice.

Dr. Bruns received a PhD in economics from Clemson University, with primary concentrations in public economics and policy, industrial organization, and antitrust and regulation, as well as secondary concentrations in econometrics, financial economics, game theory, microeconomics, and property rights.