Skip to main content

Five Academics on Director s Short-list of People to Lead Joint Genome Institute

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 18 - Trevor Hawkins, out-going director of the Joint Genome Institute, prepared a short-list of five people to be his successor.


While the list is not binding and an open selection process will take place over the next several months, the list will be given consideration by the four different entities - Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and the Department of Energy - who will name the new director, according to Hawkins.


Hawkins, who would not reveal the names on the list, said it only included people from academia, and that both sexes were represented. The new director will most likely come from outside JGI, added Hawkins, who announced his resignation to JGI staffers last week.


The next person to run JGI will have a different set of challenges than did Hawkins when he came to the position in November 2000.


"The person who comes in now as director does not have to be the typical genome director that we have seen in the past who is quite technically astute, who can get down in the guts of how to run a production run," said Hawkins. "I think what we're now looking at is the fact that JGI is actually very stable, and the key thing that I've been pushing over the last six months is now that we have this wonderful resource, let's ask some serious scientific questions. So I think the kind of person we can now attract is somebody who can give JGI some very clear vision and goals as to the kind of scientific questions to ask, rather than getting down into the nuts and bolts of the various production aspects. [The new director can be] more of a scientist" than an administrator.


The new JGI head will also be able to "aggressively lead a new phase of JGI as a leader in microbial systems," Hawkins wrote last week in a letter announcing his departure to his staff.


Hawkins begins his transition to his new job as senior vice president of genomics at Amersham Biosciences on March 1, when he will officially start part-time at Amersham. Hawkins will continue to act as JGI director part-time at least until Sept. if a new director has not been named before summer's end, he said.


The new director will not be able to begin making their mark on JGI in earnest until Oct. 1, when the budget for the new fiscal year begins, said Hawkins.


In addition to a salary of between $100,000 and $200,000 and the resources of a staff of approximately 250, the new director can also look forward to presiding over JGI during the completion of the human genome, which is slated for April 2003, according to Hawkins.


Hawkins also holds the position of director of the genomics division of the Berkeley Labs, which he will also be leaving. That position is not necessarily linked to the JGI job, said Hawkins.



The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.