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Collins Says He'd Stay at NIH, If Asked

Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, says that he would remain at the agency's helm, if asked, Stat News reports.

"I'm somebody who believes in public service," Collins tells Stat News. "If I were asked to stay on, I would consider it a privilege to do so."

Collins previously said that, like all presidential appointees, he would be submitting his resignation to coincide with the incoming Trump administration and return to his NIH lab. But a handful of Republican lawmakers has since called upon President-elect Donald Trump to keep Collins on. They said he was "the right person, at the right time" to lead NIH. Collins tells Stat News that that letter was "wonderfully flattering."

The 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, might make sticking around interesting for Collins, Stat News notes, as it provides NIH with $4.8 billion in funding over 10 years for programs like the Precision Medicine Initiative and the Cancer Moonshot project.

"That would certainly make the opportunity even more exciting than if we were at a quiet space," Collins says.