Acting FDA Commissioner and longtime Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director Janet Woodcock is no longer seen as a frontrunner for permanent FDA commissioner. Others who may be under consideration include Katherine Luzuriaga, director of the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science; Florence Houn, vice president for global regulatory science at Celgene; Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization; Gayatri Rao, an executive at Rocket Pharmaceuticals; and former FDA officials Joshua Sharfstein and Luciana Borio.
Learn about the Management of Complex Trials Need to learn specifics about how complex trials are managed? The complexities of sample collection and logistics in advanced therapy studies creates major challenges. To navigate them successfully in an ever-changing industry, LabConnect has unique solutions for you. Click here to register.
Karen Knudsen will be the first basic scientist and the first female to serve as CEO of the 107-year-old American Cancer Society when she takes the role on June 1, but she has a clear vision of the future for the organization. "I think ACS is ready for that next phase, to truly complete the journey of a single organization with new leadership to make strategic choices that are based with the patient at the center, and to use unique partnerships to really accelerate that mission," said Knudsen, president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, executive vice president of oncology services at Jefferson Health, and enterprise director at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Centers.
Fifteen years ago, virologist Ilaria Capua committed an act of scientific rebellion and refused to send the genomic sequence of the H5N1 influenza virus to a password-protected database and made it publicly available instead to accelerate research. Although genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 have been widely shared, it's not enough, Capua writes, and she's pushing for all countries to have virus surveillance and sequencing capabilities, fix strategic failures exposed by the pandemic, and explore novel solutions.
Alina Chan, a genetic engineer and postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute, says her research on SARS-CoV-1 led her to speculate that SARS-CoV-2 may have accidentally leaked from a lab, but the lab leak theory took on a political life of its own that made Chan's paper radioactive. SARS-CoV-1 picked up functional mutations from patient to patient, but SARS-CoV-2 has stayed relatively stable, little evidence supports the wildlife wet market theory, bats carrying SARS-CoV-2's closest relative live hundreds of miles from Wuhan, and Chan says it's essential that an investigation free from political influence be conducted.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced that Patrizia Cavazzoni has been appointed permanent director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Cavazzoni has been serving as CDER's acting director since spring 2020.
Anecdotal evidence suggests menstrual cycle changes may be an unexpected and little-discussed side effect of COVID-19 vaccines. "The menstrual cycle is a really flexible and dynamic process and it responds to a lot of different things in life like stress, physical or mental or immune changes," says postdoctoral researcher Katherine Lee, who is investigating the phenomenon with Kathryn Clancy, head of a women's health lab at the University of Illinois.
Actor and director Justine Bateman's book "Face: One Square Foot of Skin" includes interviews with women about their aging faces. "I hated the idea that half the population was perhaps spending the entire second half of their lives ashamed and apologetic that their faces had aged naturally," Bateman wrote.
Beata Mierzwa, a postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology at the University of California-San Diego, has always loved both science and art, but thought she had to choose one or the other. She realized it was a false dilemma when she created a drawing for her fellowship organizers, and now she prints images of cells on fabric for clothing, masks and bags. That ability to make science approachable led her to an American Association for the Advancement of Science If/Then ambassadorship and a segment on the STEM series "Mission Unstoppable."
Bayer's acquisition of gene therapy company, AskBio, is viewed as one of the top 10 deals in the biotech industry in 2020 and provided a cornerstone to Bayer's newly formed Cell & Gene Therapy Platform. Three visionary women leaders are changing the face of gene therapy in this partnership, and we're honored to have Sheila Mikhail (CEO and Co-Founder, AskBio), Kathy High (President, AskBio, and Co-Founder, Spark Therapeutics), and Marianne De Backer (Executive VP, Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing, Bayer) speaking at our Keynote Event. Learn more and register.