Trump Asks Collins to Stay On at NIH

Update: The president has extended his request from staying on as NIH director during the transition to a formal appointment.

Jan 20, 2017
Tracy Vence

WIKIMEDIA, NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTEUpdate (June 7): NIH Director Francis Collins will keep his job, the White House announced today. Collins tweeted: “Honored to be selected by @POTUS to continue as #NIH Director. I consider it a privilege to continue to lead this noble enterprise.”

According to STAT News, “[t]he continuation announced Tuesday isn’t a guarantee that Collins will remain in place for any specific length of time, spokespeople for both the White House and the NIH confirmed.”

Republican and Democratic lawmakers praised the appointment. “This is good news for the country and one of President Trump’s best appointments,” Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, tells The Hill in a statement. (Update by Kerry Grens)

President-elect Donald Trump has asked National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to stay on through his administration’s transition into office, Science reported. “We just learned that Dr. Collins has been held over by the Trump administration,” an NIH spokesperson said in a statement quoted by Science. “We have no additional details at this time.”

Whether Trump will formally appoint Collins has yet to be seen. According to The Washington Post, “if he is not asked to stay permanently as director, Collins, a geneticist, is planning to return to his NIH lab.”