U.S. News

Genetics authority to continue as director of U.S. health institute

Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health, takes part in a panel discussion titled "Accelerating Medical Research" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 27, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) - Genetics pioneer Francis Collins will continue as director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has proposed a 20 percent cut amounting to $5.8 billion to the NIH budget, a move which has been called a “catastrophe” by some heart doctors and researchers in the country.

Collins, a medical doctor with advanced degrees in chemistry, was nominated to head the NIH by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009. He said he was grateful for Trump’s trust in his ability to continue to lead the NIH.

The NIH is one of the world’s foremost medical research centers and has had a key role in important discoveries including the invention of magnetic resonance imaging, the mapping of the human genome and, more recently, the development of CRISPR, a genome editing tool that is fueling a boom in new treatments and products from medical and pharmaceutical companies.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott