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Dr. Francis Collins confirmed as NIH Director

By August 7, 2009December 5th, 2023Awareness

In a unanimous vote (how often does that happen?) the Senate has confirmed President Obama’s choice of Dr. Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Collins and his team at the Univ. of Michigan, along with Dr. Ray White at the Univ. of Utah, discovered the gene that causes NF1 in 1990.   The Foundation is proud to have funded this research through our Young Investigator Awards in the late 80’s to Dr. Peggy Wallace (Univ. of Michigan) and Dr. Dave Viskochil (Univ. of Utah) who were post doc’s in their respective labs.   In addition to NF1, he has helped discover the genes that cause cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and the M4 type of adult acute leukemia.

Dr. Collins succeeded Dr. James Watson as head of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), in 1993, and held this post until 2008.  In that period, he led the Human Genome Project, which along with Dr. Craig Venter,  were the first to  sequence the entire  human genome.  In recognition of his leadership he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush in 2007.

In addition to numerous published research articles, Dr. Collins is the author of the 2006 book The Language of God:  A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, which reconciles religious faith and scientific pursuit.

We could not agree more with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius statement that  “Dr. Collins is one of our generation’s great scientific leaders.  He will be an outstanding leader. Today is an exciting day for NIH and for science in this country.”