News of the WeekNOMINATIONS

White House Taps Former Genome Chief Francis Collins as NIH Director

Science  17 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5938, pp. 250-251
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_250a

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Summary

President Barack Obama's announcement last week that he had chosen Francis Collins to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not come as a big surprise. But it ended months of speculation and ignited a volley of flattering remarks from researchers and biomedical groups. The former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute is known as a skilled administrator and excellent communicator, although he does have his critics. Some question his support of "big biology" in the genome project portfolio—with timetables and planned targets—and some are concerned about his outspoken Christian faith. He raised eyebrows, for example, when he recently launched a Web site, BioLogos, expanding on his 2006 book explaining how he reconciles his faith with the science of evolution (see sidebar). Biomedical scientists are pleased, however, to have a permanent leader at NIH, which has been run by an acting director, Raynard Kington, since October.