Francis Collins is known for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and leadership of the Human Genome Project, an international project that culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007.
Acknowledged for his consistent emphasis on the importance of ethical and legal issues in genetics, Dr. Collins leads the effort to ensure that this new trove of sequence data is translated into tools for the advancement of biological knowledge and improvement of human health.
Dr. Collins was appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health in 2009. He previously served as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health from 1993-2008. In addition to his achievements as the NHGRI director, his laboratory discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and most recently, genes for adult onset diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a dramatic form of premature aging. He is the author of The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine andThe Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.