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Looking Ahead

Though President-elect Donald Trump hasn't gone into detail on policies that would affect science and medicine, some are trying to anticipate what the Trump administration might do.

Stat News writes that names floating around as possible picks to lead the Department of Health and Human Services — which includes that National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among other agencies — include former presidential candidate and surgeon Ben Carson, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, and Celgene's Rich Bagger. Buzzfeed News also includes Governor Rick Scott on its list of potential HHS secretaries.

Stat News notes that Carson is opposed to the Affordable Care Act, wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and disputes the theory of evolution, while Gingrich has called for a doubling of the NIH budget as well as more research into dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Bagger is a biopharma executive who took a leave of absence to be on the Trump transition team.

Trump himself appears to not to hold NIH in esteem, Stat News points out, as during the campaign he told talk radio host Michael Savage that he hears "so much about the NIH, and it's terrible."

However, he also told Scientific American and its partner Science Debate that "scientific advances do require long term investment. This is why we must have programs such as a viable space program and institutional research that serve as incubators to innovation and the advancement of science and engineering in a number of fields."