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President Joe Biden. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has nominated Monica Medina to become assistant secretary at the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the White House announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Medina, the wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, previously worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The big picture: Medina is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and one of the founders of Our Daily Planet, an "e-newsletter on conservation and the environment," per the White House.

  • She worked at NOAA during the Clinton and Obama administrations and was reportedly considered a contender for a leadership position there, per the Washington Post.
  • Medina has previously advocated for the creation of a National Climate Service.

What they're saying: “Monica is a national and international leader on environmental issues with extensive experience in government, law, policy and conservation," said Eric Schwaab, senior vice president of the ecosystems and oceans program at the Environmental Defense Fund.

  • "I had the privilege to work alongside Monica while at NOAA in the Obama administration. Monica’s experience and passion for people and the planet will serve the United States and the Biden administration well at this critical time."

Go deeper: White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

Go deeper

White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The White House on Thursday evening nominated Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: Filling the NOAA slot would complete the Biden administration's leadership on the climate and environment team. The agency, located within the Commerce Department, houses the National Weather Service and conducts much of the nation's climate science research.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker