On Tuesday National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins announced he will step down from his position by the end of the year.
Collins, 71, has led NIH for 12 years, longer than any previous director. Collins said in a statement he does not believe any person should hold the position for too long and that the NIH is in a stable place for a new director.
President Joe Biden will appoint a new director of the world’s largest biomedical agency, and the U.S. Senate must confirm him or her.
What is Collins’ legacy as director? He has advocated publicly for COVID-19 preventive practices such as masking and vaccines. Long before the pandemic, though, he led the growth of the agency and helped discover genetic mutations involved in cystic fibrosis.
Under his leadership, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases partnered with Moderna to create a COVID-19 vaccine in record time.
He is a professed Christian and also in evolution as God’s means of creating the world. In his book The Language of God, he wrote that the first few chapters of Genesis have more of a “lyrical and allegorical” flavor than a historical one.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.