By May of this year, the European Union is aiming to have a new Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in operation to help combat communicable diseases among its 25 member states. High-profile critics have worried publicly that the new agency will be a lame duck, with no labs of its own and too little cash to do the job it needs to do. For Zsuzsanna Jakab, who was appointed this month as the new agency's chief, bringing the scientific community on her side is a high hurdle she must jump, but it is far from the only one. "It will be quite a challenge to set up this new center, but a beautiful one professionally," says Jakab, who was formerly the Hungarian health ministry's top public servant.

Earlier this month, she outlined for The Scientist some of the issues she'll be tackling first. Priority number one is getting...

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