Larry Tabak Named Acting Director for NIH, Questions Remain Regarding Presidential Nomination

On December 9, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that Larry Tabak, current principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would take leadership of NIH as acting director beginning on December 20. Current NIH director Francis Collins announced his intent to step down earlier this year after 15 years of service in the role as the agency’s director (see previous coverage for more details). Tabak has been a mainstay at NIH, serving as director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for a decade prior to his naming as principal deputy director of NIH in 2010.

President Biden has not yet named a nominee for NIH director and many questions remain regarding who may be nominated. Since the position of NIH director requires a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation, Tabak is expected to remain at the helm of the agency until a permanent successor is named and confirmed. The announcement can be read in full on the HHS website.


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