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WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s presence at meetings of the Obama administration’s scientific advisory council sometimes tested his staff’s patience.

It wasn’t that the vice president was unwelcome, of course. It was that Biden’s tendency to linger long after the meetings ended invariably caused scheduling hiccups. From his seat across the table from Eric Lander, then the council’s co-chair, Biden would pepper the group with questions about cancer research, climate change, and everything in between. On several occasions, Biden stayed until his scheduler was “almost tearing her hair out,” recalled John Holdren, Lander’s council co-chair and President Obama’s science adviser.

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  • Lander ran the effort that cracked the human genome and then founded the Broad Institute. So seems he is real good on big projects…. sorta like what government is. He’s also brilliant. Princeton Valedictorian, Rhodes scholar and MacArthur award winner. Sounds like a good pick to me.

  • What specific examples of “serial dishonesty” can Mike Eisen cite? Dishonesty should disqualify him – if there’s evidence of it. If there’s no evidence, the claim is libelous.

  • Let’s hope, especially in the office and service of science we not deal with personalities but with matter(s) at hand, using an equation where all we do on the left side yields lower quantities of human downtime on the right.

  • I wou I’d like to think until as nd unless the pandemic is under control, medical science would be the major the focus instead of and in place of other sciences (genomic, social, climate, etc.). Do the big question is, how does Lander gets along with Fauci? Does anybody know?

  • I hope he will rely on “Nondestructive Creation” which can be troublesome to few but we need to regain the leadership. That’s what he has done. He could be “creative destructionist” also. We don’t need that. Good luck.

  • Eric Lander is a fantastic choice for this country, particularly at a time when other countries are competing with the United States for the scientific superiority.

    Heros of CRISPR was an accurate description of many scientists who contributed to the field. It was controversial only because it didn’t magnify the role of the two women scientists. In this day and age, if you do not glorify the role of women or people of color, if you are giving only accurate description, you are wrong and controversial. Sad!

  • “Lander is serially dishonest and chronically full of s**t…”

    Well that explains why Biden chose him. Birds of a feather and all that…

    • And that comment was by Lander’s biggest critic, who also thought his abilities might be well suited for his new role. I’ve never done anything big enough to have a stalking critic.

  • The whole purpose of Lander’s piece on CRISPR was to push back on the Douda/Charpentier ownership of the technology, by outlining its vast, diverse academic history. Of course he would not focus on the contributions of those he was in a litigious technology battle with. That says absolutely nothing about “sexism” on Lander’s part.

  • Very informative article. Eric Lander is very smart and has been key to several immensely important major biological projects. He is a very wise choice for the appointment as science advisor. Individual brilliance and creativity is necessary (but not sufficient) for making progress against the immense challenges we face.

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