After six years and nearly $5 billion in budgetary increases, Harold Varmus announced Oct. 7 that he is leaving the National Institutes of Health to head the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. When Varmus took on the NIH directorship in 1993, the agency posted a budget of $11 billion. The budget for fiscal year 1999 soared to $15.6 billion. Scientists on the NIH campus also have praised Varmus for reinvigorating what was once a flagging institution.1

"Harold Varmus has done everything well--demanding the best science, rejuvenating the NIH leadership, inspiring confidence from the Congress," notes Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which has grown under Varmus' leadership. During his tenure, he floated a variety of trial balloons, some of which deflated, some of which soared, and some of which seem ready for launch. His proposed NIH graduate school and a revamped organizational...

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