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The top spot at the US Food and Drug Administration — a key role in the pandemic response — remains vacant as President Joe Biden takes office, Politico reports.

Stephen Hahn resigned as FDA commissioner with the change of power and Janet Woodcock is now serving as the acting commissioner, according to the New York Times

The Biden Administration has not yet nominated a permanent FDA commissioner, and Politico reports that the Biden team has debated who should take on the role for months and that Xavier Becerra, who has been nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, wants a say in the matter. It adds, though, that Woodcock is under consideration, as are Josh Sharfstein, who served as deputy commissioner at FDA during the Obama Administration, and Amy Abernethy, the current principal deputy commissioner.

Steve Grossman, deputy executive director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, notes that previous administrations have held off on nominating a permanent FDA head for a few months, but Politico adds that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the agency.

"Sooner is better," Mark McClellan, FDA commissioner during the Bush Administration tells Politico. "Sooner is especially better in a public health emergency. We're not done with this pandemic by any means."

The Scan

Back as Director

A court has reinstated Nicole Boivin as director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Science reports.

Research, But Implementation?

Francis Collins reflects on his years as the director of the US National Institutes of Health with NPR.

For the False Negatives

The Guardian writes that the UK Health Security Agency is considering legal action against the lab that reported thousands of false negative COVID-19 test results.

Genome Biology Papers Present Epigenetics Benchmarking Resource, Genomic Architecture Maps of Peanuts, More

In Genome Biology this week: DNA methylation data for seven reference cell lines, three-dimensional genome architecture maps of peanut lines, and more.