Senate confirms geneticist Lander as Biden science adviser

The Senate has confirmed geneticist Eric Lander to be President Joe Biden’s chief science adviser

WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed geneticist Eric Lander to be President Joe Biden’s chief science adviser, one of many final unfilled Cupboard posts within the Biden administration.

Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, was authorized by a voice vote Friday to function director of the White Home Workplace of Science and Know-how Coverage, a place Biden has elevated to Cupboard rank. Lander, who is also a mathematician and molecular biologist, was lead creator of the primary paper asserting the main points of the human genome, the so-called “guide of life.”

His nomination was delayed for months as senators sought extra details about conferences he had with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier who was charged with intercourse trafficking earlier than his obvious suicide. Lander additionally was criticized for downplaying the contributions of two Nobel Prize-winning feminine scientists.

At his affirmation listening to final month, Lander apologized for a 2016 article he wrote that downplayed the work of the feminine scientists. On the listening to, he additionally known as Epstein “an abhorrent particular person.”

Lander stated he “understated the significance of these key advances” by biochemists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna. The 2 have been later awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

“I felt horrible about it, I made a mistake. And once I make a mistake, I personal it and attempt to do higher,” Lander stated. “I ought to have written these paragraphs in a different way to make my intention crystal clear. I’ve huge respect for Docs Doudna and Charpentier and the necessary work they’ve carried out all through their careers.”

He solely met with Epstein twice, in 2012, Lander stated, and by no means requested or acquired funds from Epstein or his basis.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, stated at a Might 20 committee assembly that she wished Biden had named a lady as science adviser, however that Lander had pledged to work to raise ladies and minorities in science.

Lander stated in an announcement Friday that Biden’s elevation of the science put up “made clear that science and know-how might be central to fixing the nation’s most pressing challenges,” together with well being, environmental high quality “and justice for all Individuals.”

Lander’s affirmation leaves Biden’s Cupboard almost full. The one remaining unfilled Cupboard put up is that of Workplace of Administration and Price range director. Shalanda Younger has been serving as appearing OMB director after her affirmation as deputy director. Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination for OMB head after a number of senators stated they’d not vote for her.

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