Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., announced that Alan Sachs, who has served as chief scientific officer (CSO) since 2016, will assume the newly established role of chief medical officer (CMO) and will be succeeded by Karen E. Nelson, previously president of the J. Craig Venter Institute. Both will join the company leadership team in August 2021.

“As we continue expanding our capabilities for customers who develop groundbreaking medicines and diagnostics, we have a growing responsibility to support their efforts and serve science overall through our own innovations,” says Marc N. Casper, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Thermo Fisher. “With Alan in the newly created role of CMO and Karen joining as CSO, we are reinforcing our commitment to help customers push the boundaries of science and improve patient outcomes.”

Alan Sachs is a physician-scientist who earned his medical and PhD degrees from Stanford Medical School and has decades of experience supporting product development and clinical research in both therapeutics and diagnostics. In his new role, he will help identify and promote adoption of new technologies that benefit customers in the clinical space, and he will lead the company’s medical affairs program.

“This is an exciting time in our industry, and the establishment of a chief medical office underscores the importance of clinical expertise and leadership to our customers,” says Sachs. “I look forward to leading this effort and to working closely with Karen on the leadership team to ensure our scientific and clinical efforts are well aligned around future customer needs.”

Karen E. Nelson joined Thermo Fisher on July 6. Nelson, who pioneered the human microbiome field, received her PhD from Cornell University. She has authored or co-authored more than 220 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently editor-in-chief of the journals Microbial Ecology and the newly formed PNAS Nexus. Nelson is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

“Our industry is experiencing a technological revolution, and Thermo Fisher is in a unique position to accelerate progress by working closely with its customers to ensure that R&D aligns with their future needs,” says Nelson. “I am excited to join this talented team and work with customers to develop the next generation of products that will enable even greater discovery and advance science.”