National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins steps down

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins is resigning his position after 12 years at the post, according to a report in The Washington Examiner

Collins, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he is resigning to allow “a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future.”

“It has been an incredible privilege to lead this great agency for more than a decade,” Collins said in a statement. “I love this agency and its people so deeply that the decision to step down was a difficult one, done in close counsel with my wife, Diane Baker, and my family.

“I am proud of all we’ve accomplished. I fundamentally believe, however, that no single person should serve in the position too long, and that it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future.”

Both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden asked Collins to keep his position as director of the NIH during their tenures, and at the time he steps down he will be the 16th longest-serving member of the institution.

Before taking up his position at the NIH Collins served as the head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which he lead from 1993-2008, and was part of the oversight for the first sequencing of a human genome in 2003. 

Collins plans to return to the NHGRI after leaving the NIH and take up the research again. 

The NIH director played a big role in the federal response to COVID-19, though he remained in the background, unlike Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has become the face of the pandemic. 

Collins has been firmly in favor of vaccine mandates, something many Americans have taken a dim view of, given its violation of the rights given to individuals by the constitution. 

“I was grateful he answered the call to serve even though it was asking him to stay on the job longer than anyone in NIH history,” Biden said in a statement. “Today, I understand his decision to step down from his post at the end of this year after an incredible and consequential tenure.”