This week we welcomed back to the NIH my dear colleague, Dr. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who was officially sworn in as the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health on Monday, August 17, 2009. On his first day back on campus, we welcomed him with an NIH All-Hands Town meeting where he shared his vision and priorities for the NIH (see videocast).
Dr. Collins has been a pioneering force in science with his groundbreaking research in genetics and his leadership as director of the National Genome Research Institute. His work on the Human Genome Project revolutionized science and the way we look at DNA and genes, opening up many doors for advancement in medicine. He has been the driving force behind myriad landmark discoveries of disease genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Prior to coming to the NIH, Dr. Collins and I were both on the faculty at the University of Michigan and I subsequently have had the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. Collins on a number of projects, including an effort to find a cure for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes premature aging in children.
His commitment to scientists and the advancement of public health will serve him well in his role as the NIH Director.
I look forward to working with Dr. Collins in his new capacity.