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Collins to industry, top of NIH?

Francis Collins told reporters at a conference call today that he'd be considering "a number of opportunities, some in the private, some in the public sector," and said he'd even consider heading up the NIH, after linkurl:announcing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54701/ plans to step down as director of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. Collins said that he wouldn't be opposed to taking over the directorship of NIH should that position become available in the next year

By | May 28, 2008

Francis Collins told reporters at a conference call today that he'd be considering "a number of opportunities, some in the private, some in the public sector," and said he'd even consider heading up the NIH, after linkurl:announcing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54701/ plans to step down as director of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. Collins said that he wouldn't be opposed to taking over the directorship of NIH should that position become available in the next year or so. "Yeah, I'd be crazy to say, 'I don't think that's anything I want to talk about,'" if the opportunity presented itself, Collins said. But he insisted that his future path is largely uncharted. "I think I may have another career ahead of me," Collins, who is 58 years old, said. "I just don't know what that is." He also said that one of his projects upon leaving NHGRI will be to write a book on the regulatory and scientific issues surrounding linkurl:personalized medicine,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/18849/ which Collins called "a fundamental shift in medical care." Collins said he timed his departure partly to the linkurl:signing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54669/ of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) into law last week, a major milestone in his career. Collins championed GINA - which became law almost 13 years after being introduced in linkurl:Congress;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54567/ - during his tenure at NHGRI. "That did have a significant effect on the timing of the decision," Collins said. Collins said that the decision to leave NHGRI was a tough one. "I've been wrestling with this for many months." The only other tidbit that Collins offered as to his recent activities occurred when __Washington Post__ reporter Rick Weiss asked if he had been speaking with anyone from the current presidential campaigns. Collins said that his position at a federal agency constrained him from entering into formal talks of that nature, but did say that he had engaged in "informal and non-specific chatter," without elaborating any further. When I asked Collins about his vision for the future of science policy given the inevitable change of administration this November, he said: "I would hope that there would be a strong and suggestive voice for science in the room, at the table."
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