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New Chief for Rockefeller

Drawing rave reviews from the scientific community, Rockefeller University announced yesterday that Arnold J. Levine, a cancer biologist at Princeton University, will be its next president. He will take over from neurobiologist Torsten Wiesel, who is retiring in November.

Levine, 58, discovered the p53 tumor suppressor protein in 1979. Since p53 is implicated in half of all cancers, the finding paved the way for a new generation of cancer research. The unanimous selection after a year-long search, Levine is the "ideal person" to take Rockefeller into the 21st century, said board chairman Richard M. Furlaud. In addition to being a prolific researcher, Furlaud notes, Levine 2 years ago headed a massive review of the National Institutes of Health AIDS program.

Other colleagues also gave him the thumbs-up. "Fantastic," says Harvard University chemist Gregory Verdine of the appointment. He says Levine is "a very high-energy person [with] a tremendous amount of breadth" scientifically. Calling Levine "a really entrepreneurial guy," Verdine predicts that Levine will put strong emphasis on the importance of translating research findings into practical applications. What's more, he says, "the ties will be loosened a little bit around there ... [Levine will] really stir things up."