American physician-geneticist, noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes.
Collins is best known as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH from 1993-2008. This remarkable international project culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book.
He became the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2009.

Brief Bio:
B.S. in Chemistry University of Virginia, in 1970
Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University in 1974
M.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1977
North Carolina Memorial Hospital 1978-1981
Fellow in Human Genetics at the Yale medical school 1981 - 1984
Professorship of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics, U. Michigan 1984-

  • Developed the gene-hunting approach, which he named "positional cloning"
  • Was the primary investigator or significantly involved in identifying genes for cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, neurofibromatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, and the M4 type of adult acute leukemia
Succeed James Watson as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in 1993
Appointed director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2009.

Collins is also known for reconciling science and Religion:

"One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war." - Francis Collins
He was an atheist in grad school and became an evangelical Christian, while practicing medicine and seeing how dying people got strength thru faith.

His best selling book "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief", 2006, describes how C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" helped move him from atheism to belief. In addition to scientific arguments he points to the fact that all cultures and religions of the world endorse a universal, absolute and timeless Moral Law, as "the strongest signpost of God".

In this talk, "The Language of God", at a Q conference, Collins explores our two foundational sources of knowledge: nature and the Bible. He proposes a way of thinking about science and faith that sees each as complementary to the other. As a leading researcher, Collins illustrates how his work with the Human Genome Project validates current biological theory without calling into question his faith in a moral, personal God.
(You have to pay for membership to get the Q conference video now)
See his Stanford Talk instead.

Q ( is a group started around 2007 to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness, by bringing together innovators, social entrepreneurs, entertainers, artists, church-shapers, futurists, scientists, educators, historians, environmentalists and everyday people doing extraordinary things can come together to learn and collaborate.

Collins is also an accomplished guitarist and motor-cyclist.

Bio at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Google Francis Collins
God and the Genome - Geneticist Francis Collins Talks at Stanford
"The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief", 2006

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last updated 16 Sep 2012