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Elias Zerhouni, Raynard Kington, Bruce Koepfgen, Alice Ting, Lei Wang, Milos Novotny, G. Reid Asbury

National Institutes of Health Director Elias Zerhouni said this week he is resigning from his position at the end of October "to pursue writing projects and explore other professional opportunities."

In a conference call, Zerhouni said that his departure is timed to synchronize with the end of the current White House administration and that he does not consider the move to be a resignation. He added that he expects Deputy NIH Director Raynard Kington will serve as acting director until a new White House names his successor.

Zerhouni was appointed to the directorship of NIH in 2002 by President George W. Bush, and he has since that time overseen both rapid growth in the size of the institute and the breadth of its efforts. “Six and-a-half years is about the right time,” Zerhouni said, adding that there were no “precipitating events” leading up to the announcement.

“I have to tell you it is with mixed emotions that I move on,” Zerhouni said, from what he described as “truly the crown jewel” of research in the world.

Zerhouni said that his writing plans may touch on his experiences as head of NIH during “a time of real transition.”


Bruce Koepfgen has resigned from the board of Thermo Fisher Scientific effective Sept. 30, the company said in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
Koepfgen was a member of the board of Fisher Scientific International when it merged with Thermo Electron in 2006, and was elected to the board of Thermo Fisher in 2006. Koepfgen is a member of the audit committee of the board.

Alice Ting, an associate professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of 16 winners of the National Institutes of Health’s Director’s Pioneer Award.
Ting will receive $2.5 million in direct costs during a five-year period for her work in developing new technologies to image and study proteins in living cells. Ting was the senior author of a paper published in June in the online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society describing a probe that allows thousand of interactions in a living cell to be imaged [See PM 07/03/08].
Also this week, Lei Wang was one of 31 recipients of NIH’s New Innovator awards.
Wang, an assistant professor of chemical biology and proteomics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, will receive $1.5 million over five years as part of the award. 
The Pioneer and New Innovator awards support “exceptionally innovative approaches that could transform biomedical and behavioral science,” the NIH said in a statement.
“These programs are central elements of NIH efforts to encourage and fund especially novel investigator-initiated research, even if it might carry a greater-than-usual degree of risk of not succeeding,” said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni.

Milos Novotny has joined the scientific advisory board of Protein Sciences, the company announced this week. Novotny is a distinguished professor of chemistry and an adjunct professor of medicine at Indiana University. He is also director of the Institute for Pheromone Research and the National Center for Glycomics and Glycoproteomics.

Protea this week appointed G. Reid Asbury as director of marketing.
Asbury was at GE Healthcare from 2000 to 2008, most recently as applications manager for protein and genomic sciences, where he was responsible for the sales and marketing support team.

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.