Biden Continues Focus on ARPA-H, Cancer Moonshot as Francis Collins Takes on New Role

President Joe Biden has named retired National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins to be the president’s top science adviser until permanent leadership is nominated and confirmed. Eric Lander who formerly led the Office of Science and Technology Programs (OSTP) and held the cabinet-level position of science adviser resigned after it became public that an internal investigation had found that he had bullied and demeaned staff.

The White House says the selection of Collins would help the administration double down on the president’s cancer moonshot project and the creation of a new scientific agency to support research, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, delivers the Presidential Plenary speech, “Translating Whole Genome Data to Disease” at ENDO 2019 in New Orleans, La.

Biden also promoted Alondra Nelson, the current deputy director for science and society at OSTP as the temporary director of the office of science and technology

In his new role, Collins will serve as acting science advisor to the president and acting co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Even with his appointment, Collins will continue to run a research lab at the NIH, which he has been involved with since 1993.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration still has not selected anyone to take Collins’ top spot at the NIH.

The Endocrine Society has contributed to discussions about the development of the new health agency and testified twice last year about how endocrinology and endocrinologists could play critical roles at ARPA-H. The Society also has met with the administration about the cancer moonshot and the importance of including endocrine science, endocrine cancers, and endocrine researchers in the program.

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