Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

head shotDr. Collins is the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health. A physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Collins served as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH from 1993 to 2008. 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. Dr. Collins’ own research laboratory has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and most recently, genes for type 2 diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. 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. Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and, in 2009, the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed on scientists by the United States government. 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.