Dr. Francis S. Collins tapped to head NIH

| July 9, 2009

The Los Angeles Times (7/9, Maugh) reports that the White House has announced that "Dr. Francis S. Collins, the geneticist who discovered the causes of half a dozen diseases, oversaw the government's efforts to map the human genome and wrote a now-famous book presenting scientific evidence for a belief in God, will be nominated to head the National Institutes of Health." President Obama said in a statement, "My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research, and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals."


Dr. Collins' nomination "had been rumored for weeks," according to the New York Times (7/9, A20, Harris), and "was praised by top scientists and research advocacy organizations for whom the health institute is a crucial patron." The Times calls the NIH "the most important source of research money in the world; over the next 14 months it will dole out about $37 billion in research grants and spend $4 billion on research programs at its Maryland campus."


The Washington Post (7/9, Brown) notes that Collins has recently championed "personalized medicine." He "would take over from Raynard Kington, who was named acting director last fall after Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH director during the Bush administration, resigned."


The AP (7/9, Neergaard) reports that "Collins has discovered numerous genes important for diseases, including the one that leads to cystic fibrosis. But the true power of genetics, he told" attendees of a medical conference "last month, has yet to be realized as researchers eventually learn enough to provide customized predictions of which diseases really threaten an individual, and personalized care to respond."


Bloomberg News (7/9, Chen, Gaouette) reports that Collins formerly headed the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. American Heart Association President Clyde Yancy called him "a brilliant researcher able administrator and visionary leader."


Dow Jones Newswires (7/9, Favole) adds that, as NIH director, "Collins will have to oversee new rules governing the use of stem cells for research purposes." He "will also have to avoid and deal with conflicts of interest in researchers who receive NIH funding." The Detroit News (7/9, Kozlowski) focuses on Collins' research as a professor at the University of Michigan. The Hill (7/9, Young) and AFP (7/9) also cover the story.

Category: Government

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