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Genetics Policy Expert to Rejoin Collins at NIH

20 August 2009 3:53 pm
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New National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has recruited a former aide to be his chief of staff.

Kathy Hudson now runs the Genetics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., which she founded in 2002 at Johns Hopkins University. The molecular biologist was Collins's policy director for part of his tenure as head of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH.

Besides serving as the NIH chief's top lieutenant, Hudson says she hopes to liaison with the Food and Drug Administration on overseeing genetic tests. Pushing for regulation of those tests was a large part of her center's work, and she says, "I'm optimistic that we're actually going to see some of those changes occur." Although she's filled out the paperwork, Hudson is still waiting for an official offer. The previous director, Elias Zerhouni, never filled the position.

Hudson is leaving the genetics center as its main funder, the Pew Charitable Trusts, winds down its support this fall. The center's number of full-time staff members has shrunk since January from a dozen to around seven, says Joan Scott, now deputy director, who will succeed Hudson. The center's focus will likely expand from policy to moving genetic tests into the clinic, Scott says.

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