Sir Richard Branson to headline Texas Biomed’s Global Health Symposium

Texas Biomed President/CEO Larry Schlesinger will host a conversation with the Virgin Group founder about his life philosophy “Screw it, Let’s do it!” and what pioneering scientists and entrepreneurs can learn from one another.

SAN ANTONIO (April 14, 2022) – Global entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson will headline Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Global Health Symposium, taking place April 28 and 29 online and in person in San Antonio.

Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group, which includes more than 40 companies worldwide, and the nonprofit foundation Virgin Unite, which harnesses the power of businesses and partnerships to tackle social and environmental challenges. For the grand finale of the Global Health Symposium, Branson and Texas Biomed President/CEO Larry Schlesinger, MD, will discuss how Branson’s entrepreneurial spirit and philosophy of “Screw it, Let’s do it!” can inspire scientists and leaders working on global health.

“Sir Richard Branson is a visionary leader with a great depth of experience building cross-sector partnerships to drive transformational change,” Schlesinger says. “We are thrilled he will be joining us virtually to close our Global Health Symposium on a high note.”

Texas Biomed’s second annual Global Health Symposium will bring together more than 70 speakers and thousands of participants to explore innovative approaches to address pandemic preparedness and sustainable global development. The discussions will be hosted online, with local leaders presenting from the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how closely the economy is tied to public health and the need to be better prepared for future pandemics.

“There is no time to waste,” says Akudo Anyanwu, MD, MPH, who is Texas Biomed’s VP, Development and lead symposium organizer. “Even as we continue to navigate the waves of COVID-19 variants, we must forge new, unusual partnerships to protect people’s health on a daily basis and during outbreaks of novel pathogens that have yet to emerge.”

A key aim of the Global Health Symposium is to bring together leaders from across sectors, including research, healthcare, government, business and philanthropy.

“Health and sustainable development are closely intertwined, but the people we need to collaborate on these grand challenges are not often in the same room – we are seeking to change that with this symposium,” Anyanwu says.

Along with Branson, speakers hailing from around the nation and world include representatives from The World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Johnson & Johnson, ThermoFisher Scientific, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Baylor College of Medicine, just to name a few.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Judith Monroe, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation, who will discuss “Partnerships and Philanthropy in Pandemics and Beyond” and Dr. Tony Frank, Chancellor of the Colorado State University System, who will share “A Different Case for the Role of Community in Biomedical Innovation.”

The two-day program will include panel discussions about mental health, gender inequality and vulnerable populations in pandemics. Speakers will share the latest advancements and programs in HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases like cancer and heart disease. Local students will share how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping the next generation. Experts will discuss the role science communication plays in public health education and combatting conspiracy theories.

Distinguished officials participating include Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and San Antonio Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda. Texas Biomed will honor city and county representatives for their leadership throughout the pandemic at the event.

Tickets for the 2-day symposium run $50 to attend virtually, or $250 to attend in person, which includes breakfast and lunch. For a full schedule and to register:

Watch a brief highlight video of the first symposium, featuring Barbara P. Bush, Co-Founder of Global Health Corps, along with dozens of other inspirational panelists, or catch up on all of last year’s panel discussions on Texas Biomed’s YouTube channel.

Session Details:
Lessons from “Screw it, Let’s do it”
A conversation between Sir Richard Branson and Dr. Larry Schlesinger about what pioneering entrepreneurs and scientists can learn from one another.
April 29
1:10 CDT
Dr. Schlesinger will participate from the San Antonio Botanical Garden and Sir Branson will participate virtually. To attend in person or virtually:




Texas Biomed is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to protecting the global community from infectious diseases. Through basic research, preclinical testing and innovative partnerships, we accelerate diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for the world’s deadliest pathogens, from Anthrax to Zika. Our 200+ acre campus in San Antonio hosts high containment laboratories (BSL-3 and BSL-4), and the Southwest National Primate Research Center. Our scientists regularly collaborate with academic institutes, leading pharmaceutical companies, start-ups and the military, and are passionate about training the next generation of bioscience leaders. We are proud our work helped deliver the first COVID-19 vaccine, the first Ebola treatment and first Hepatitis C therapy. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to