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CPRIT Troubles

Just days ago the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas announced a moratorium on new grants after Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) asked the embattled agency to stop awarding grants until it addressed concerns surrounding its award process, ScienceInsider reports. And, now, the Nature News Blog adds that CPRIT has announced two new interim leaders with financial expertise.

Earlier in the year, a number of concerns arose regarding how CPRIT was reviewing and awarding grants. Then, a number of peer reviewers for the organization resigned, as did Alfred Gilman, its chief scientific officer. While the organization announced the appointment of a compliance officer and, later, a new chief scientific officer, Margaret Kripke, who will begin in January, CPRIT continues to experience problems and resignations — the Nature News Blog adds that the agency's chief commercial officer left in November. Further, CPRIT is now under criminal investigation for its handling of grant awards.

The interim leaders are Wayne Roberts and Billy Hamilton, a former associate vice president for public policy at the University of Texas Health Science Center and a former Texas deputy comptroller, respectively. Jimmy Mansour, the chair of the oversight committee that governs CPRIT, says in a statement that these appointments "will go a long way toward improving the institute's management and restoring confidence in its operations."

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.