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Branscomb Brings Life to DOE


Elbert Branscomb, former director of the Joint Genome Institute, claims he’s out of work. It’s not really that dire — Branscomb, recently appointed leader of DOE’s Bringing the Genome to Life project, is simply awaiting a new title.

Branscomb’s new position involves working on a plan for the future of genomics. This initiative, originally called “Bringing the Genome to Life: Energy Related Biology in the New Genomic World,” is also (fortunately) awaiting a new title. Branscomb hopes for something like “Genomes to Life.”

The first proposal came out in June, and more details were added at a public meeting in Washington last month. Ari Patrinos, a director at DOE, calls this step “a roadmap for its implementation.”

“We are now in a position to go very much faster into the mysteries of how life works than we were before,” Branscomb says. But he adds, “To do that we need to focus our energies differently.”

He says gathering data on a large scale remains an essential part of the genomics field, and that DOE will continue to play an important role. “We are persuaded that the department can bring to bear resources that are not as generously available elsewhere,” Branscomb says.

Let’s hope those resources include stationery with plenty of room for the project’s name, whatever it turns out to be.

— Meredith Salisbury


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