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Biden Chooses Dr. Monica Bertagnolli to Lead National Institutes of Health

President Biden said on Monday that he had selected Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli, who has led the National Cancer Institute since October, to be the next director of the National Institutes of Health.

In a statement shared by the White House, Mr. Biden called her a “world-class physician-scientist” who had “spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients, and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care.”

Dr. Bertagnolli will need to be confirmed by the Senate. She is the first female director of the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. She would be only the second woman to lead the N.I.H. on a permanent basis.

On Monday, Mr. Biden praised Dr. Bertagnolli for advancing that initiative and for her efforts to promote research on childhood cancers and programs to expand access to cancer clinical trials.

Fighting cancer is also personal for Dr. Bertagnolli. In mid-December, she announced her diagnosis and said she was “thankful to be receiving excellent care” at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she had worked as a surgical oncologist before taking the helm of the National Cancer Institute.

“I went in for my regular mammogram expecting it to be negative like all the others and got a nasty surprise,” she said. “And so now I know what it feels like.” She added: “First thing I asked my doctors was, is there anything available for me? And there was a study available for me, and I signed on.”

As N.I.H. director, Dr. Bertagnolli would lead one of the world’s premier research agencies, a collection of 27 institutes and centers focusing on cancer, infectious disease, heart and lung ailments, mental health and drug abuse, among other medical matters. With an annual budget of more than $47 billion, the N.I.H. funds research around the world.

A daughter of Italian and French Basque immigrants, Dr. Bertagnolli grew up on a ranch in southwestern Wyoming, studied engineering as an undergraduate at Princeton University and attended medical school at the University of Utah. Before joining the federal government, she was a professor of surgery specializing in surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School.

Category: Science

Source: NYTimes Science

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