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NIH Director Francis Collins to stay in his post for now

NIH Director Francis Collins. (Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News)

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will remain in his post, at least temporarily.

NIH announced Thursday afternoon that Collins “has been held over by the Trump administration. We have no additional details at this time.” The email from a spokeswoman directed reporters to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team for more information. Transition officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Collins, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009, has said he would like to keep the job. He met with Trump last week in New York. Among the others said to be in the running to head the huge biomedical research agency are Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The Trump transition team has asked some 50 senior Obama administration officials to stay at least temporarily to ensure continuity in government.

If he is not asked to stay permanently as director, Collins, a geneticist, is planning to return to his NIH lab.