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Francis Collins, current NIH director

Francis Collins

Ernesto del Aguila III/NHGRI/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Trump asks NIH Director Francis Collins to stay on

Ending weeks of speculation, President-elect Donald Trump has asked National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins to remain in his position. It is not clear for how long.

"We just learned that Dr. Collins has been held over by the Trump administration," an NIH spokesperson said in a statement. "We have no additional details at this time."

Collins, a geneticist who has headed the $32 billion NIH for the past 8 years, has been campaigning to keep his job and met with Trump last week. On Wednesday, he told a reporter at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he still didn’t know what his fate would be. But although Collins had the support of key Republicans in Congress, he has been one of several candidates for the NIH post, including Representative Andy Harris (R–MD).

Like other political appointees, Collins was required to submit a letter of resignation to the Obama administration after the November 2016 presidential election. Barring any action from the Trump team, his resignation would have taken effect on 20 January.

Collins had said that if not asked to remain NIH chief, he would go back to his lab at NIH for the time being.