Sunday, July 19, 2009

Francis Collins to Direct NIH

Morrissey, Susan. "Francis Collins to Direct NIH." Chemical & Engineering News 13 July 2009: 5.

"President Barack Obama announced on July 8 that he will nominate Francis S. Collins to lead the National Institutes of Health.  The nomination comes more than eight months after former NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni stepped down...
"Initial reaction to the nomination is positive, although some observers note that Collins' well-known religious beliefs might make some uneasy.  His views on being a scientist and a practicing Christian were the topic of a high-profile 2006 book.
    "'He's going to have to manage his religious positions carefully,' Zerhouni notes.  As a public servant, Collins' role must become more of a convener for debating issues such as religion and science but not an advocate for any one group, Zerhouni says.
    "According to American Chemical Society President Thomas H. Lane, 'Collins, a chemist, has made tremendous contributions to the advancement of science.'  He adds, 'NIH will be well served to have a scientist of such caliber play a key leadership role in guiding the agency in the years ahead.'   
    "'Collins brings impeccable credentials and experience to the position,' underscored Biotechnology Industry Organization President and CEO Jim Greenwood in a statement.  'His vast experience with government agencies combined with his unparalleled scientific expertise make Dr. Collins an outstanding advocate for the NIH.'
    "Collins now faces conformation by the Senate, a process that Zerhouni and others hope will go quickly.
    "'This is an agency that cannot stay without permanent leadership for too long,' Zerhouni says.  'It is a multiplicity of institutes, and it needs strong central leadership to coordinate all of that.'" 

What do you think about all this?

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