NIH director decides to retire

Dr. Francis Collins, who has led the National Institutes of Health since 2009, announced his retirement on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 (read story here).

Collins, 71, is a respected expert in the field of genetics, and a renowned “gene hunter” (bio here).  He was appointed to head the NIH by President Obama, and reappointed by Presidents Trump and Biden. He has received a number of awards and honors (but not a Nobel Prize).

The NIH, a taxpayer-funded federal agency, is a major funder of research grants to universities and other medical researchers (details here). In 2018, its budget exceeded $37 billion.

The agency sometimes is a lightning rod for political controversies; in the 1980s, President Reagan tried to cut its budget and deny funding to combat the AIDs epidemic devastating gay communities.

Photo: NIH headquarters near D.C.

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