Francis Collins will continue to lead America's top biomedical research agency, the National Institutes of Health, he announced today.
President Barack Obama appointed Collins to his post in 2009. Like other appointees of the previous administration, he submitted a letter offering to resign when Donald Trump took office, Nature reports. However, Collins had previously told STAT he "would consider it a privilege" to keep his position, if Trump asked.
Some conservatives agitated for Trump to boot Collins because of Collins' support for conducting research on embryonic stem cells. Forty members of Congress signed a letter urging Collins be replaced. "Francis Collins is most definitely not pro-life, nor in the same leadership class as Trump," David A. Prentice, vice president of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.
Collins may end up helming the NIH through some major changes. The Trump administration has submitted a budget that reduces the agency's funding 12 percent, from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, and asked for the cuts to come from so-called overhead payments, a move widely decried by scientists, as Science reports.