DR. FRANCIS COLLINS
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS is the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. After being nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dr. Collins was sworn in as NIH’s sixteenth director in 2009.
Dr. Collins, a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH from 1993- 2008. With Dr. Collins at the helm, the Human Genome Project consistently met projected milestones ahead of schedule and under budget. This remarkable international project culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. In addition to his achievements as the NHGRI director, Dr. Collins’ own research laboratory has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, and most recently, genes for type 2 diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.
Dr. Collins has a longstanding interest in the interface between science and faith, and has written about this in The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006), which spent many weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. He is the author of a new book on personalized medicine, The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (HarperCollins, 2010).
Dr. Collins received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University, and an M.D. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to the NIH in 1993, he spent nine years on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007) and the National Medal of Science (2009). On April 22, 2010, Dr. Collins was a co-recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.