Francis Collins to step down as director of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being

Information Launch

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., right this moment introduced his determination to finish his tenure because the director of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being by the tip of the yr. Dr. Collins is the longest serving presidentially appointed NIH director, having served three U.S. presidents over greater than 12 years.

“It has been an unbelievable privilege to guide this nice company for greater than a decade,” stated Dr. Collins. “I like this company and its individuals so deeply that the choice to step down was a tough one, achieved in shut counsel with my spouse, Diane Baker, and my household. I’m happy with all we’ve completed. I basically consider, nonetheless, that no single particular person ought to serve within the place too lengthy, and that it’s time to usher in a brand new scientist to guide the NIH into the longer term. I’m most grateful and happy with the NIH workers and the scientific neighborhood, whose extraordinary dedication to lifesaving analysis delivers hope to the American individuals and the world daily.”

A physician-geneticist, Dr. Collins took workplace because the 16th NIH director on August 17, 2009, after being appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2017, he was requested to proceed in his position by President Donald Trump, and in 2021, by President Joe Biden. Previous to changing into the NIH director, Dr. Collins served because the director of the Nationwide Human Genome Analysis Institute (NHGRI) from 1993-2008, the place he led the worldwide Human Genome Venture, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a completed sequence of the human DNA instruction e book.

“Few individuals might come anyplace near attaining in a lifetime what Dr. Collins has on the helm of NIH,” stated Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra. “It takes a rare particular person to deal with the most important scientific challenges going through our nation — and beneath three presidents, amidst three distinctly totally different chapters of American historical past. Dr. Collins, grasp of scientific breakthroughs and scientific purpose — from mapping the human genome to combating essentially the most devastating pandemic of a century — has routinely damaged floor to save lots of numerous lives, whereas unleashing innovation to profit humanity for generations to return.”

Recognized for his accessible, plain-spoken method, Dr. Collins garnered broad bipartisan Congressional help for NIH analysis. Throughout his 12-year management, NIH’s funds grew by 38%, from $30 billion in 2009 to $41.3 billion in 2021. Dr. Collins proposed and established daring initiatives — extending from elementary primary science to translational science to centered tasks — to deal with a number of the most urgent well being points going through Individuals, together with Alzheimer’s illness, most cancers, opioid use dysfunction, uncommon illnesses and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Collins lengthy envisioned that information gained from the mapping of the human genome can be used to develop remedies tailor-made to each particular person’s distinctive genetics, surroundings and way of life. To spur analysis within the emergent space of precision medication, Dr. Collins launched the All of Us Analysis Program, which is properly on its solution to enrolling a million individuals throughout the U.S. to offer their well being knowledge in order that researchers can enhance the best way we forestall sickness in addition to deal with the total spectrum of illnesses and circumstances. He is also the architect of a number of sturdy public-private partnerships such because the Accelerating Medicines Partnership to scale back the time from the identification of organic markers of illness to the event of remedies that focus on these pathways.

In live performance with the Obama administration, Dr. Collins launched the Mind Analysis by Advancing Modern Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a multi-billion-dollar effort to develop subtle applied sciences to grasp the neuronal networks of the mind and what goes mistaken to trigger Alzheimer’s illness, schizophrenia, psychosis and different severe mind illnesses. He labored carefully with then Vice President Biden to launch the Most cancers Moonshot Initiative to gasoline innovation and pace new remedies to scale back most cancers incidence and enhance affected person outcomes. Below the management of President Trump, Dr. Collins launched and galvanized the analysis and dependancy communities across the HEAL (Serving to to Finish Dependancy Lengthy-term) Initiative to deal with the nationwide opioid disaster by enhancing remedies for opioid misuse and dependancy and enhancing ache administration. Working with each the Trump and Biden administrations to answer the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Collins helped launch a number of game-changing initiatives, together with the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public-private partnership that developed a coordinated analysis technique for prioritizing and rushing growth of promising remedies and vaccines; the Speedy Acceleration of Diagnostic (RADx) program to create an innovation funnel for COVID-19 testing applied sciences; the Group Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Towards COVID-19 Disparities to help partnerships in communities hardest hit by the pandemic and cut back well being disparities; and the Researching COVID to Improve Restoration (RECOVER) Initiative to determine why some sufferers don’t absolutely get well from the results of COVID-19 illness and develop methods to deal with these sufferers and even forestall lengthy COVID altogether.

All these efforts have set the stage for a brand new part of NIH, referred to as the Superior Analysis Venture Company for Well being (ARPA-H), proposed by President Biden and strongly supported by Dr. Collins. ARPA-H is presently into consideration by the U.S. Congress. Modeled after DARPA within the Division of Protection, ARPA-H is envisioned to help and conduct high-risk, high-reward biomedical and well being analysis in a method that’s radically totally different than NIH’s grant-based system. The intention of ARPA-H is to break down boundaries and catalyze the event of transformative, evidence-based, use-driven cures for a spread of biomedical challenges, from the molecular to the societal.

On the coverage entrance, Dr. Collins has tackled many long-standing points which have hampered science. He bolstered insurance policies and actions to deal with sexual harassment and structural racism, improve accountability and transparency in medical trials and guarantee broad knowledge sharing. He has been a champion of early-stage researchers, implementing quite a few insurance policies to allow their success in a hyper-competitive analysis surroundings.

He’s an avid supporter of science communication, and the significance of creating the findings of NIH analysis accessible to the general public. He shares details about the most recent NIH analysis through his weblog, Twitter deal with and thru many social media occasions. He’s identified for utilizing music to convene individuals with totally different views and for his parodies about science.

Dr. Collins will proceed to guide his analysis laboratory on the NHGRI, which is pursuing genomics, epigenomics and single cell biology to grasp the causes and technique of prevention for kind 2 diabetes. His lab additionally seeks to develop new genetic therapies for essentially the most dramatic type of untimely ageing, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.

Concerning the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH):
NIH, the nation’s medical analysis company, contains 27 Institutes and Facilities and is a part of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies. NIH is the first federal company conducting and supporting primary, medical, and translational medical analysis, and is investigating the causes, remedies, and cures for each widespread and uncommon illnesses. For extra details about NIH and its applications, go to

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Well being®


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