August 8, 2022

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraBecerra names incoming acting NIH director The...

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraBecerra names incoming acting NIH director The biggest threat to Medicare you’ve never even heard of The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump’s pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism MORE on Thursday named the incoming acting National Institutes of Health (NIH) director slated to fill in for Francis Collins. 
Lawrence Tabak, who currently serves as the principal deputy director at NIH, will take on the acting position starting on Dec. 20, while the administration searches for Collins’s permanent replacement, the HHS secretary said in an announcement. 
Collins, who unveiled his plans to leave his position in October, will finish his last day on Dec. 19 after serving as director for more than 12 years — the longest for a presidentially appointed NIH director. 
Tabak has held positions at NIH since 2000, including as principal deputy director and deputy ethics counselor for the past 11 years. Before that, he served as the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research for a decade.
The incoming acting NIH director previously was the senior associate dean for research and a professor of dentistry and biochemistry & biophysics at the University of Rochester. His research has zeroed in on glycoproteins.  
Becerra praised Tabak’s “long tenure” and “broad experience” in his announcement.
“Tabak has a deep grasp of the most pressing scientific issues confronting our nation, he has earned respect across NIH as a thoughtful and strategic manager and is committed to building a healthier and more equitable America,” Becerra said.
The first NIH director to serve under three presidents, Collins, 71, will be leaving the agency after three decades, saying in October that “no single person should serve in the position too long” so “it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future.”
“It has been an incredible privilege to lead this great agency for more than a decade,” Collins said in a statement at the time.
Any permanent NIH director to replace Collins will need to be nominated by President BidenJoe BidenNicaragua breaks diplomatic relations with Taiwan, recognizes Chinese sovereignty Biden reassures Ukraine’s Zelensky of U.S. support amid Russian aggression On The Money — Senate risks Trump’s ire with debt ceiling deal MORE and confirmed by the Senate. 
Throughout the pandemic, Collins has served as a fixture of the federal government’s response during both the Trump and Biden presidencies, specifically with his involvement in the development and promotion of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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