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WASHINGTON — Eric Lander, the renowned genomics researcher, has kept a low profile in his first months as President Biden’s science adviser. He’s given no speeches, issued no reports, and published virtually no public-facing work of any kind.

Quietly, though, Lander has been busy reinventing the White House’s science office. He’s building a new wing, exclusively focused on health and life sciences — a dramatic change for OSTP, which even under President Obama counted just two staffers with the word “health” in their titles. Neither worked in life sciences.


To do it, he’s poached a number of top scientists from government research agencies — experts in genetics, biology, neuroscience, and science policy more broadly. The additions, which have not been previously reported, include one of Biden’s top advisers on cancer research and two top deputies to Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, as well as other leading NIH officials.

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