NIH Director Francis Collins to Keep His Job Under Trump––For Now

Former genome researcher wants to stay where he is

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will remain in his post, at least temporarily, according to an article in the Washington Post.

The NIH announced that Collins “has been held over by the Trump administration. We have no additional details at this time.”

Collins, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009, has said he would like to keep his position. He met with Trump last week in New York. Others in the running to lead the biomedical research agency include Representative Andy Harris (R-Maryland) and wealthy biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The Trump transition team has asked approximately 50 senior Obama administration officials to stay––at least temporarily––to ensure continuity in government.

Before heading the NIH, Collins was the director of the agency’s National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008. He has indicated that if he is not chosen to continue as director of the NIH, he will return to his NIH research laboratory.

Collins’ lab has discovered numerous important genes, including those involved in cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, adult-onset type-2 diabetes, and Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome.

Sources: Washington Post; January 19, 2017; and BioSpace; January 20, 2017.