Paul Nurse to Midwife Birth of London Super Lab

The man with the plan now has to make it a reality while moonlighting as the president of the world's most famous science academy.

Nobel laureate and Rockefeller University President Paul Nurse has agreed to become the first chief executive and director of the U.K. Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCRMI), a massive biomedical research facility in London that could house more than 1000 scientists when it opens several years from now. Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council, which is providing the majority of the funding for the £600 million-plus facility, in a statement today calls the 61-year-old biologist "an inspirational leader with the drive to cultivate a unique environment for research and innovation."

Nurse was in charge of developing the scientific plan for the center, but it wasn't clear to outsiders that he had also applied to lead the ambitious translational medicine effort. Adding that responsibility to his recent appointment to lead the Royal Society doesn't appear to concern the august body. "It's not an issue for us," says a spokesperson. "The president has always been a working scientist."