Picking Collins gives the Obama Administration someone with a long history at NIH to head the agency. The geneticist was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute until last year (he took over NHGRI in 1993). Along with Craig Venter, Collins was credited with helping to map the human genome in 2000.
After leaving NHGRI, Collins joined the Obama Transition Team with a focus on NIH. Collins has made news most recently by discussing the coexistence of science and religion; he is an Evangelical Christian.
Collins would replace current Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington and take over a $29 billion budget and 18,000 employees.
Collins, along with National Heart, Lung and Blood Institue Director Elizabeth Nabel, UCSF's Executive Dean for Research at the School of Medicine Keith Yamamoto, and Yale Geneticist Rick Lifton were all understood to be on the NIH shortlist.
While Collins appears by all accounts to be the choice, we caution that health care posts in particular have been subject to volatility. So things could change. (photo courtesy of National Geographic)