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Celebrating NIH Science, Blogs, and Blog Readers!

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

Happy holidays to one and all! As you may have heard, this is my last holiday season as the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—a post that I’ve held for the past 12 years and four months under three U.S. Presidents. And, wow, it really does seem like only yesterday that I started this blog!

At the blog’s outset, I said my goal was to “highlight new discoveries in biology and medicine that I think are game changers, noteworthy, or just plain cool.” More than 1,100 posts, 10 million unique visitors, and 13.7 million views later, I hope you’ll agree that goal has been achieved. I’ve also found blogging to be a whole lot of fun, as well as a great way to expand my own horizons and share a little of what I’ve learned about biomedical advances with people all across the nation and around the world.

So, as I sign off as NIH Director and return to my lab at NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), I want to thank everyone who’s ever visited this Blog—from high school students to people with health concerns, from biomedical researchers to policymakers. I hope that the evidence-based information that I’ve provided has helped and informed my readers in some small way.

In this my final post, I’m sharing a short video (see above) that highlights just a few of the blog’s many spectacular images, many of them produced by NIH-funded scientists during the course of their research. In the video, you’ll see a somewhat quirky collection of entries, but hopefully you will sense my enthusiasm for the potential of biomedical research to fight human disease and improve human health—from innovative immunotherapies for treating cancer to the gift of mRNA vaccines to combat a pandemic.

Over the years, I’ve blogged about many of the bold, new frontiers of biomedicine that are now being explored by research teams supported by NIH. Who would have imagined that, within the span of a dozen years, precision medicine would go from being an interesting idea to a driving force behind the largest-ever NIH cohort seeking to individualize the prevention and treatment of common disease? Or that today we’d be deep into investigations of precisely how the human brain works, as well as how human health may benefit from some of the trillions of microbes that call our bodies home?

My posts also delved into some of the amazing technological advances that are enabling breakthroughs across a wide range of scientific fields. These innovative technologies include powerful new ways of mapping the atomic structures of proteins, editing genetic material, and designing improved gene therapies.

So, what’s next for NIH? Let me assure you that NIH is in very steady hands as it heads into a bright horizon brimming with exceptional opportunities for biomedical research. Like you, I look forward to discoveries that will lead us even closer to the life-saving answers that we all want and need.

While we wait for the President to identify a new NIH director, Lawrence Tabak, who has been NIH’s Principal Deputy Director and my right arm for the last decade, will serve as Acting NIH Director. So, keep an eye out for his first post in early January!

As for me, I’ll probably take a little time to catch up on some much-needed sleep, do some reading and writing, and hopefully get out for a few more rides on my Harley with my wife Diane. But there’s plenty of work to do in my lab, where the focus is on type 2 diabetes and a rare disease of premature aging called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. I’m excited to pursue those research opportunities and see where they lead.

In closing, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to each of you for your interest in hearing from the NIH Director—and supporting NIH research—over the past 12 years. It’s been an incredible honor to serve you at the helm of this great agency that’s often called the National Institutes of Hope. And now, for one last time, Diane and I take great pleasure in sending you and your loved ones our most heartfelt wishes for Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!


  • Z.W.T. says:

    Thank you…you are truly unique!! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may you continue to grow in wisdom! From somebody you will never know, but who thinks you are amazing!

  • Zuccheri Gianni says:

    I know these words will come in the New Year celebrations and maybe will be read in a few days.

    I thank Dr. Collins for his extraordinary Blog and I send the best wishes for a Happy New Year.
    But also wishes for great satisfaction for the assignment of his future research in the field of genetics.

    The Nature prepares survival mechanisms that allow us to resist in various extreme conditions;
    putting in place a myriad of constitutional combinations of individuals, sometimes good but other times unacceptable for survival.
    But a good trait in one context could turn out to be a disaster in other life situations: thus we have different energy efficiencies in the same environmental context, even among individuals of the same family group. Thus we find ourselves more or less important defects, which affect our life more or less seriously.

    Year 2022 with
    By studying the human genome and the mechanisms of epigenetic relationships, the prevention and treatment of challenging diseases will result.

    Nobody feels alone and abandoned in these days of celebrations.

    sometimes we can make someone happy without expecting anything in return
    so that Utopia becomes a ray of Joy, reaching Everyone,
    in a cold city or on a sunny beach,
    under the falling snow or on a stormy sea.

    I wish everyone the Year 2022 full of true health and prosperity!

  • Fahmida Pathan says:

    Thank you Dr Collins.Wish you good health.

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you Dr. Collins. You have been doing a great job, I must say you are a great researcher..

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