NIH director to keep job under Donald Trump, for now

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President-elect Donald Trump has asked Francis Collins, MD, PhD, to stay on in his role as director of the National Institutes of Health.

According to Science, NIH learned the news Thursday afternoon. "We just learned that Dr. Collins has been held over by the Trump administration," a spokesman said, according to the report, but it is not clear how long he will hold the role.

Because he was appointed by President Barack Obama, Dr. Collins submitted a letter of resignation to the administration after the 2016 presidential election. His resignation would have taken effect on Friday, according to Science.

On Jan. 11, Mr. Trump met with Dr. Collins and Republican Rep. Andy Harris, MD, of Maryland, who was being considered for the role. According to STAT, Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, a surgeon and founder of NantWorks, was also being considered.

Dr. Collins, who has been director of NIH since 2009, has faced a rocky road of late — an investigation into the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda in 2016 found the hospital was not in compliance with quality and safety standards. Dr. Collins responded by suspending production at two NIH facilities, halting clinical trial enrollment until problems were resolved, and restructuring leadership at the research hospital.

A group of senior physicians inside NIH have been critical of Dr. Collins, but the director enjoys support by Republican lawmakers, according to STAT.

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