For the first time in the history of the White House, Biden promoted the position of scientific adviser to the level of a Cabinet member. The President-elect nominated Eric Lander, a mathematician, geneticist, and biologist, as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Introducing Lander, Biden described him as “one of the most brilliant people I know.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, during the presentation of the White House team of scientists, remembered her late mother, who was engaged in scientific research in the field of cancer and taught her to think critically.
“The science behind climate change is not a sham. The science that studies the virus is impartial. The same laws apply, the same evidence is true, whether you accept it or not,” Harris said.
Eric Lander is the founding director of the Broad Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. He was the lead author of the first paper in which researchers described the structure of the human genome.
The president-elect also invited Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who worked with Lander on the human genome, to join the White House, science team. Biden appointed two prominent women scientists to co-chair the President’s Science and Technology Council. The Council will be headed by Frances Arnold, a chemical engineer and 2018 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, and Maria Zuber, MIT’s Vice President of Research and Professor of Geophysics.
The position of Director of Science and Technology Policy requires Senate approval.
The president-elect nominated sociologist Alondra Nelson of Princeton University for the deputy director for Science and Technology Policy.