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National Institutes of Health Names New Director

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Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as the next director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in July of this year. A geneticist and physician, Dr. Collins lead the Human Genome Project which culminated in 2003, yielding a completed sequence of the human genome. He has since initiated and overseen a variety of follow-up projects in large-scale genomics. He served as the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the NIH from 1993 to 2008. As NIH Director, Dr. Collins will oversee the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the NIH as well as the allocation of over $30 billion in federal research funding.

Dr. Collins earned his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Yale University and an MD with Honors from the University of North Carolina. He served on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, prior to joining the NIH as NHGRI director in 1993. During his tenure at NHGRI, Dr. Collins and his colleagues discovered the genetic basis for cystic fibrosis and neurofibromatosis and new insights into the genesis, diagnosis and treatment of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria and type 2 diabetes.

In November 2007, Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is also an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He authored the New York Times bestseller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006), as well as a new book on personalized medicine, The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (HarperCollins, to be published in early 2010).

Francis S. Collins NIH photo

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