The U.S. Senate today confirmed mathematician and geneticist Eric Lander as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Lander will also serve as President Joe Biden’s science adviser and hold a seat in Biden’s Cabinet.

Lander, 64, has long held prominent roles in U.S. research and science policy. He was president and founding director of the Broad Institute, which is jointly run by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for 8 years under former President Barack Obama, where he worked closely with Obama science adviser John Holdren, and interacted with Biden, who was vice president. Lander also co-led the public Human Genome Project to the completion of a first draft in 2001.

Biden’s nomination of Lander, announced in January, drew mixed reactions from the research community. Many were pleased with the pick, saying Lander has the background and experience to be a savvy operator within the White House. Others, however, criticized the pick, noting that Lander had a history of conflict with other researchers and had been criticized for, among other things, downplaying the role of two female scientists in developing the CRISPR gene-editing tool, and for publicly toasting geneticist James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, despite Watson’s history of racist and misogynistic remarks. Some were disappointed that Biden selected a white man for the post and said he should have nominated a woman or person of color.

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