Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced Tuesday he will resign from his position by the end of the year, following almost 30 years at the agency.
Collins is the longest serving NIH director and the first to serve under three presidential administrations, Just the News reports.
“I fundamentally believe…that no single person should serve in the position for too long, and that it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future,” Collins said in a post on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website.
In a statement on Tuesday, Biden called Collins “one of the most important scientists of our time.”
“Millions of people will neve know Dr. Collins saved their lives,” he said. “Countless researchers will aspire to follow in his footsteps.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Collins, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, has become one of the most visible public health figures. During the early stages of his career, Collins worked to identify the genes for cystic fibrosis and other disorders. He was nominated in 2009 by President Obama to lead the NIH.
In 2007, Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for his work mapping the human genome.
No decision has been made on an interim director, an NIH official said. Biden will nominate a new director who must be confirmed by the Senate.