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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has selected Monica Bertagnolli, a renowned surgical oncologist, as the next director of the National Cancer Institute, according to two sources familiar with the decision.

Bertagnolli, currently a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, will take the reins of the country’s largest biomedical research institute — a $7 billion agency that funds the lion’s share of U.S. cancer research and is central to the White House’s “Cancer Moonshot.”


The pick marks the start of a new era at the NCI, which is the largest of the 27 agencies that compose the National Institutes of Health. The agency’s former director, Ned Sharpless, stepped down in April after a nearly five-year tenure. Doug Lowy, a veteran cellular oncology researcher, is currently in his third stint as the agency’s acting director.

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