Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. currently serves as the Acting Science Advisor to President Joe Biden, steering the administration’s plans and programs to advance scientific solutions to humanity’s needs, especially for health issues. In that role, he works closely with Dr. Alondra Nelson, the Acting Director of the Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP). Dr. Collins also maintains his longstanding position as a Senior Investigator in the intramural program of the National Human Genome Research Institute, pursuing genomics research on type 2 diabetes and a rare disorder of premature aging called progeria.
Dr. Collins previously served as the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. In 2017, President Donald Trump asked Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. President Joe Biden did the same in 2021. For those 12 years, serving an unprecedented three administrations, Dr. Collins oversaw the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. Dr. Collins stepped down as Director on December 19, 2021.
Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his previous leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.
Dr. Collins is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.