When Erin O'Shea takes over the reins of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in September, she plans to build on initiatives to promote greater diversity among researchers, Nature News reports. O'Shea will be the institute's first female president.
In particular, she says that the institute plans to launch a program this spring — O'Shea is currently vice president and chief scientific officer at HHMI — to help women and under-represented minorities as well as early-career scientists be successful.
"That's one step in what I think will be many activities to promote under-represented groups in science," she tells Nature News.
In addition, she hopes to encourage research that falls where medicine and biology meet. "We're learning a lot from the study of patients in clinical trials, for example, and that is feeding back into biology," O'Shea adds. "There's really a shortage of people who are knowledgeable about basic biology and medicine, and we need to do something to create a better pipeline in that area, as well as fostering research."