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Harold Varmus has been appointed by President Obama to become director of the National Cancer Institute, replacing John Niederhuber. He is the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and co-chair of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

He is also the former director of the National Institutes of Health and a co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of the genetic basis of cancer. Varmus holds a medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and an undergraduate degree in English literature from Amherst College.


Mike Stratton has been appointed as director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, succeeding Allan Bradley. He has been the institute's deputy director since 2007. At the Sanger Institute, he heads the Cancer Genome Project. He is also a professor of cancer genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research and a leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.


As part of a restructuring at Helicos BioSciences , Bill Efcavitch has stepped down as senior vice president and chief technology officer and has become a senior advisor to the company's CEO. He is expected to remain a full-time employee until June 30 but will no longer serve as an executive officer of the company.


Jonathan Rothberg, chairman, CEO, and founder of Ion Torrent Systems, has won the 2010 Connecticut Medal of Technology for his development of innovative genomic technology. He will receive the award at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering on May 20. Besides Ion Torrent, Rothberg founded CuraGen, 454 Life Sciences, and RainDance Technologies. He holds MS, MPhil, and PhD degrees in biology from Yale University and a BS in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.


Janet Davison Rowley has been awarded the Margaret Kripke Legend Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a professor of medicine, molecular genetics and cell biology, and human genetics at the University of Chicago. Rowley discovered chromosomal translocations and their associated genetic variations for a variety of leukemias and lymphomas. She and others have discovered 1,500 translocations in a variety of cancers and identified 500 new genes.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.