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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, May 1993; 5(1)

NIH Names Francis Collins Director of NCHGR

In April NIH Director Bernadine Healy appointed Francis S. Collins to succeed James Watson (President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) as Director of the National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR). Michael Gottesman (National Cancer Institute) served as Acting Director in the interim since April 1992.

Healy said, "Dr. Collins will bring to NIH world-class talent and experience in human genetics research. He will provide outstanding leadership to the Human Genome Project as well as critical resources to the NIH community of researchers who are pursuing the genetic basis of human illness."

Collins comes to NCHGR from the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Director of the NCHGR-supported human genome center. Collins' work at Michigan focused on developing large-scale technologies to identify genes responsible for human illnesses. He is noted for pioneering positional cloning to pinpoint gene location through the study of disease-inheritance patterns. Collins is a codiscoverer of the cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis type 1, and Huntington's disease genes. He and his team are currently pursuing genes for early-onset breast cancer and a common form of adult leukemia.

As NCHGR Director, Collins will oversee the center's two divisions. The Division of Extramural Research will continue to administer the NIH component of the Human Genome Project, funding research throughout the country in chromosome mapping; DNA sequencing; database and technology development; and studies of the ethical, legal, and social implications of the availability of genetic data. Collins will also head the Division of Intramural Research, which will focus on finding disease genes, developing DNA diagnostics, and exploring gene therapies. The intramural division will also serve as a hub for NIH-wide human genetics research and enhance the work of investigators in other institutes who are searching for specific genes and studying gene function in health and disease.

Born in Staunton, Virginia, Collins received his bachelor's degree with highest honors from the University of Virginia and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry from Yale University. He was awarded an M.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital. He was a fellow in human genetics and pediatrics at Yale from 1981 to 1984, after which he joined the department of internal medicine and human genetics at Michigan.

Collins is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Medical Genetics, and the American College of Medical Genetics. Elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1991 and recently to the National Academy of Sciences, he is a member of the boards of directors of several societies and associate editor for a number of publications. Collins has received numerous awards and honors for his work.


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Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.