HHMI just announced that my Berkeley colleague Robert Tjian (Tij to everyone) is going to be the new president of HHMI.
As I am now an employee of HHMI, I was quite interested in the search to replace Tom Cech – and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. Tij is a fantastic scientist at the height of his powers and has myriad attributes that will make him a great leader: He has an eye for quality research; he does not suffer fools; he is creative scientifically and organizationally; and above all else he is wise.
I’m glad to see he’ll be keeping his lab at Berkeley. As someone who works in a field (metazoan trancription regulation) he played a leading role in creating (something for which he and Bob Roeder deserve a Nobel Prize), my lab benefits directly from his lab’s presence.
It will be interesting to see how Tij will deal with open access publishing. HHMI has taken several important steps in promoting open access to the work its investigators produce. And while Tij’s lab favors Nature and Cell rather than PLoS Biology, he’s been supportive of my efforts with PLoS. I don’t expect open access to be a major issue for him (though I will try :-)), I am sure he’ll appreciate the importance of open access in furthering HHMI’s scientific and educational mission.