Director of the National Institutes of Health, he is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a former University of Michigan faculty member who currently serves as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be the featured speaker at the 2017 graduation ceremony at 3 p.m. on May 12 in Hill Auditorium.
Collins oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH from 1993-2008.
Before coming to the NIH, Collins was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan. A faculty member on campus from 1984-93, he served as a professor of internal medicine and human genetics until 2003. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009.
Collins earned a B.S. in chemistry at the University of Virginia and a M.Phil and Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University. While at Yale, a course in biochemistry sparked his interest in the molecules that hold the blueprint for life: DNA and RNA. He recognized that a revolution was on the horizon in molecular biology and genetics. He changed fields and enrolled in medical school at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a M.D.