President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Saturday that he “will always lead with science and truth” as he announced senior science and technology officials to his White House staff and reaffirmed their confidence in the kind of expert research that the Trump administration is often ignored or despised.
Mr. Biden praised what he called “some of the most brilliant minds in the world” and said his new team’s mission is to ask, “How can we make the impossible possible?” He pledged to encourage scientific research and reflect on topics such as coronavirus, cancer research, climate change, clean energy jobs, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and other rapidly advancing technologies.
Those appointed included Eric S. Lander, whom Mr. Biden will appoint as director of the White House science and technology policy bureau, a position he will hold for the first time in cabinet.
President Trump left the science advisor position vacant for 18 months, and his administration routinely ignored guidance from government scientists on topics ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change.
Without specifically mentioning Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris provided an implicit contrast to his administration’s disapproval of expert opinion.
“The science behind climate change is no joke,” Ms. Harris said during introductions at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. “The science behind the virus is not a lie.”
Dr. Lander, who will also act as scientific advisor to the President, was the head of the Human Genome Project. As the deputy of Dr. Lander in the Science and Technology Bureau is Alondra Nelson, also named by Mr Biden, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study who has explored the intersection of science with social inequality and race.
Mr. Biden also appointed two co-chairs of the President’s Science and Technology Advisory Council: Frances H. Arnold, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; and Maria Zuber, an expert in geophysics and planetary science and the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission.
Mr. Biden also said that Dr. Francis S. Collins would remain as director of the National Institutes of Health.
The previous Saturday, the Biden-Harris transition team announced several nominations to the State Department, including that of Brian P. McKeon, who has worked with Mr. Biden for more than 25 years, as Assistant Secretary of State for Management and Resources. Bonnie Jenkins, a seasoned arms control specialist, has been nominated as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Issues. Ms. Jenkins is also the founder of a group for women of color in national security.
Uzra Zeya, who held several functions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been appointed Secretary for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights. Mr Biden also officially announced the nominations of Wendy Sherman as Assistant Secretary of State and Victoria Nuland as Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs. His plans to nominate both Ms. Sherman and Ms. Nuland have been reported.