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Call to Keep Collins Around

In a letter, four Republican lawmakers urge President-elect Donald Trump to retain Francis Collins as the director of the National Institutes of Health, Stat News reports. Collins has previously said he will be tendering his resignation, effective January 20.

Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) along with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) write that "Collins is the right person, at the right time, to continue to lead the world's premier biomedical research agency." They add that Collins "possesses all the attributes" an NIH director should have, according to a copy of the letter tweeted by the Scripps Translational Science Institute's Eric Topol. Topol notes that he "[c]ouldn't agree more."

Stat News adds that Trump hasn't said much about NIH, only saying last year that he'd heard "terrible" things about the agency. The only other person vying for the position is Andy Harris (R-Md.), Stat News says, but it notes that a lobbyist says other Republicans might also want Collins to stay.

"Collins has a scientific vision. You can agree or disagree with it, but that was his perspective as a leader," the anonymous lobbyist tells Stat News. "He's worked with the [Obama] administration to come up with big initiatives to capture the imagination."