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MIT Protein Lab to Close upon Peter Kim s Departure, Says

NEW YORK, Dec 12 – A 20-person protein research group at the Whitehead Institute is scheduled to close after the group's leader, Peter S. Kim, takes up a new post at Merck, said on Monday.

“After he’s made sure that all his students have places to go, his lab at MIT’s Whitehead will close,” the on-line news service said.

A spokeswoman for the institute did not return calls seeking comment.

Peter Kim, a renowned proteomics experts, has been hired to head Merck’s research operations. The move was seen as signaling the pharmaceutical giant’s increased efforts to strengthen its proteomics initiative.

Kim is the principle investigator for a group at the Whitehead Institute that studies protein-protein interactions as well as biological process within proteins. He is also a member of the NIH’s AIDS Vaccines Research Committee.

Kim will eventually replace Edward Scolnick, Merck’s current research chief. In the meanwhile he will report to Scolnick and head the company’s internal drug discovery and development.

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