You can all exhale that breath you've been holding: US President Barack Obama will be nominating Francis Collins as the director of the National Institutes of Health. "My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals," President Obama says in a statement. "Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease." Collins directed the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008 and recently founded BioLogos, a foundation that aims to reconcile faith and science. If confirmed, Collins will oversee 27 institutes that have, according to Reuters, a $31 billion budget.
The nonprofit health advocacy organization Genetic Alliance applauds the choice. In a press release, founder and CEO Sharon Terry says, "We must focus the incredible resources, discovery and intelligence of the NIH on systemic solutions. We have a phenomenal palate from which to paint, and now we need to start creating masterpieces. Dr. Collins is the right 'artist' for this task."