On January 15, President-Elect Joe Biden announced key members of the incoming White House Science Team, noting that they will “help the Biden-Harris administration confront some of the biggest crises and challenges of our time, from climate change and the impact of technology on society to pandemics, racial inequity and the current historic economic downturn.”
Biden announced that he will nominate Dr. Eric Lander as director of the Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) and Presidential Science Advisor, now a cabinet-level position. Dr. Lander led the Human Genome Project and is a pioneer in the field of genomic medicine. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 1998 and is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Lander was involved in the planning and execution of the 2016 International Summit on Human Gene Editing, served on the subsequent International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing, and is currently Co-Chair of the Committee on Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century: Challenges and Strategic Implications for the United States. During the Obama-Biden administration, Dr. Lander served as external Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
The President-Elect will nominate Dr. Alondra Nelson for the role of OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society. Dr. Nelson is the president of the Social Science Research Council and a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. She was elected to the NAM in 2020, and is currently a member of the Committee on Responsible Computing Research: Ethics and Governance of Computing Research and its Application and a co-chair of the NAM’s Committee on Emerging Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health and Medicine.
Biden also announced that Dr. Frances H. Arnold, who was elected to the NAM in 2004 and is a member of all three academies, will serve as one of the external co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Dr. Francis Collins will continue serving in his role as the Director of the National Institutes of Health. He has been a member of the NAM since 1991.
The full announcement of the White House science team can be found here.
Other NAM members tipped to serve in the Biden-Harris administration include Anthony S. Fauci, who would serve as chief medical adviser to the president, and David A. Kessler, who would act as chief science officer for the White House COVID-19 response team.