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Kessler named chief science officer for Covid vaccine drive


Woodmere Academy graduate Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration who was named to President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force in November was now chosen to be the chief science officer for the vaccine drive to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Kessler, 69, graduated from the Woodmere Academy in 1969, which merged with Lawrence Country Dy School to form Lawrence Woodmere Academy in 1990. He continued his education at Amherst College, class of 1973, University of Chicago Law School which he graduated five years later and Harvard Medical School in 1979.  

Appointed by a Republican president, Kessler received bipartisan approval from the Senate and became more popular with Democrats with many of his actions as FDA commissioner viewed as controversial. He spurred the federal agency to become more efficient and cut the time necessary to approve or reject new drugs, which at that time included AIDS drugs. He increased attention to consumer protections concerning unsafe products and enacted the regulations that required standardized nutrition facts labels on food.

Kessler also stirred controversy as dean and vice-chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he uncovered financial irregularities in the dean’s office in 2003. The chancellor said audits found no such evidence in June 2007 and demanded Kessler resign. Kessler was dismissed six months later. Later an audit showed that Kessler was spot-on.