Collins, Francis S. 1950-

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Collins, Francis S. 1950-


Born April 14, 1950, in Staunton, VA; son of Fletcher Collins (a college professor of theater) and Margaret Collins (a writer and producer of plays); children: Margaret. Education: University of Virginia, B.S. (with highest honors), 1970; Yale University, M.Phil. and Ph.D., 1974; North Carolina School of Medicine, M.D. (with honors), 1977. Hobbies and other interests: Motorcycles and playing guitar.


Home—Bethesda, MD. Office—Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Drive MSC 2152, Bldg. 31, Rm. 4B09, Bethesda, MD 20892-2152; fax: (301) 402-0837. E-mail—[email protected].


Geneticist, physician, educator, writer, and editor. North Carolina Memorial Hospital, Chapel Hill, intern and resident, 1977-81; Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, fellow in human genetics and pediatrics, 1981-84; University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, assistant professor of internal medicine and human genetics, 1984-88, associate professor, 1988-91, professor, 1991-93, also served as chief of the division of medical genetics in the university's department of internal medicine, 1987-91; National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, director, 1993—. Also an assistant investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 1987-88 and 1991-93.


American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Human Genetics, American Scientific Affiliation, American Federation for Clinical Research, American Society for Microbiology, American Society of Hematology (1988-98), American Society for Clinical Investigation, Human Genome Organization (HUGO), Institute of Medicine, Association of American Physicians, American Medical Association, American College of Medical Genetics (founding fellow), National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Medicine Society (charter member), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), Alpha Omega Alpha (president of University of North Carolina chapter, 1976-77).


Dean's Prize for Academic Excellence, 1970; National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1970-73; Morehead Foundation Fellow, 1973-77; Alumni Loyalty Merit Award, 1974; Deborah C. Leary Research Award, 1975; First Prize, Student Research Day, 1975; Riggins Scholarship, 1975; Heusner Pupil Award, 1976; W. Reece Berryhill Scholarship, 1976; Medical Faculty Award, 1976; Isaac Hall Manning Award, 1977; Henry C. Fordham Senior Resident Award, 1980; Charles E. Culpepper Foundation Fellow, 1983-84; Cooley's Anemia Foundation Fellow, 1983-84; Anthony Renda Research Grant, 1984-85; Hartford Foundation Fellow, 1985-87; Jerome Conn Research Award, 1986; Paul di Sant' Agnese Award of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 1989; Honorary Doctor of Science, Emory University, 1990; James A. Shannon Lecturer, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1990; Elizabeth Crosby Teaching Award, 1990; Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1990; Von Recklinghausen Award of the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation, 1990; Michiganian of the Year, Detroit News, 1990; Lynen Medal of the Miami Bio/Technology Symposium, 1991; Young Investigator Award of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 1991; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Mary Baldwin College, 1991; Doris Tulcin Award for Cystic Fibrosis Research, 1991; Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, University of Michigan, 1991; National Medical Research Award, National Health Council, 1991; Dickson Prize, University of Pittsburgh, 1991; 88th Christian A. Herter Lecturer, New York University Medical Center, 1992; E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, 1992; Honorary Doctor of Science, Yale University, 1992; Joseph Levy Memorial Lecturer, Queen's University of Belfast, 1992; Priscilla White Lecturer, Joslin Diabetes Center, 1993; Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award, American College of Physicians, 1993; Jack St. Clair Kilby Award, 1993; Honorary Doctor of Science, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1993; Kaiser Permanente Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Michigan, 1993; National Medical Research Award (as member of Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group), National Health Council, 1993; Sarstedt Prize for Scientific Research, Dresden, Germany, 1993; CIBA-Geigy/Drew Award in Biomedical Research, Drew University, 1993; John M. Nokes Lecturer, University of Virginia, 1994; National Organization for Rare Disorders Scientific Leadership Award, 1994; Honorary Doctor of Science, University North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1994; Nelson Award, University of California-Davis, 1994; Lovelace Institute Award for Excellence in Environmental Research, 1994; George D. Aiken Lecturer, University of Vermont, 1994; American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, 1994; Steven C. Beering Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science, Indiana University, 1994; Baxter Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences, Association of American Medical Colleges, 1994; Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecturer, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 1994; Jean-Pierre Lecocq Prize, Transgene, S.A., Strasbourg, France, 1994; Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award, American Academy of Dermatology, 1995; Jeffrey Modell Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, 1995; Neuhauser Lecturer, Society for Pediatric Radiology, 1995; Lee Farr Lecturer, Yale University, 1995; American Association for Clinical Chemistry National Lectureship Award, 1995; Hatfield Lecture, Oregon Health Sciences University, 1995; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation National Award for Scientific Distinction, 1995; John Hickam Lecturer, Central Society for Clinical Research, 1995; Medical Research Council Lecturer, Society of Toxicology, 1996; Lineberger Lecturer, University of North Carolina, 1996; UCLA Lectureship Award, 1996; Hollister Lecturer, Northwestern University, 1996; Honorary Doctor of Science, George Washington University, 1996; 9th Annual Donald Ware Waddell Lectureship, Arizona Cancer Center, 1997; Second Annual James Watson Lecturer, Genome Action Coalition, 1997; James Earle Ash Lecturer, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1997; American Cancer Society/Society of Surgical Oncology Basic Science Lecture Annual Award, 1997; University of Michigan, Department of Pediatrics 75th Anniversary Guest Lecturer, 1997; Brian Blades Memorial Lecture, George Washington University, 1997; Breath of Life Award, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 1997; Klemperer Award Lecturer, American College of Rheumatology, 1997; Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service Health Leader of the Year Award, 1997; Meritorious Executive Award, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1997; Mendel Medal, Villanova University, 1998; Carl W. Gottschalk Awardee and Lecturer, University of North Carolina, 1998; Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1998; Champions of Pediatric Research Award, Children's National Medical Center, 1998; C. Clark Cockerham Lecturer, University of North Carolina, 1998; Ralph Spielman Memorial Lecturer, Bucknell University, 1998; Noble Lecturer Respondent, Harvard University, 1998; Fifth Annual Maurice Galante Lecturer, UCSF, 1998; Third Annual James Watson Lecturer, Genome Action Coalition, 1998; Association of Molecular Pathology Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics, 1998; American Heart Association Lewis A. Conner Convocation Lecturer, 1998; Medical Student Award for Teaching Excellence in Component 1, University of Michigan, 1999; Shattuck Lecturer, Massachusetts Medical Society, 1999; Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, Yale Graduate School Association, 1999; Computerworld Smithsonian Institution Award, 1999; Arthur S. Flemming Award, George Washington University, 1999; New York Academy of Sciences, Genetics in the New Millennium Distinguished Honoree, 2000; Presidential State of the Union Honoree, 2000; Dr. Martin Rodbell Lecturer, National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences, 2000; Association of American Physicians, George M. Kober Lecturer Award, 2000; Honorary Doctor of Science, Brown University, 2000; University of California, San Diego School of Medicine Commencement Address, 2000; University of Michigan Medical School Commencement, Keynote Speaker, 2000; Carter Lecturer, British Society for Human Genetics, 2000; Neel Distinguished Research Lecturer, American Academy of Otolaryngology, 2000; Scientist of the Year, National Disease Research Interchange, 2000; Tinsley Randolph Harrison Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2000; Sheen Award, New Jersey Chapter, American College of Surgeons, 2000, Charles B. Smith Visiting Research Professor, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2000; Hilldale Lecturer in Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001; American Society for Public Administration, National Capital Area Chapter, President's Award for Outstanding Recent Contributions in the Field of Public Administration, 2001; Virginia's Outstanding Scientist, 2001; Cosgrove Lecturer, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 50th Anniversary Meeting, 2001; Loma Linda University School of Medicine Commencement Address and Boucek Award, 2001; Victor and Clara Award Lecturer, XVII World Congress of Neurology, United Kingdom, 2001; Biotechnology Industry Organization and The Chemical Heritage Foundation Third Annual Biotechnology Award, 2001; Daniel Nathans Memorial Lecturer, Van Andel Research Institute, 2001; 2001 Guthrie Family Humanitarian Award, Huntington's Disease Society of America, 2001; Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, 2001; Distinguished Achievement and Leadership Award, American Skin Association, 2001; Scientific Achievement Medal, House of Delegates, American Medical Association, 2001; Warren Triennial Prize Lecturer, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2002; Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecturer, Southern Methodist University, 2002; Brennan Lecturer, Georgetown University, 2002; 20th Annual Spicer-Breckenridge Memorial Lecturer, University of North Carolina, 2002; Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School Commencement Address, 2002; Presidential Award, Zeta Beta Sorority, 2002; Joseph Leiter Lectureship, 2002; National Library of Medicine and the Medical Library Association, 2002; Bernard Sachs Lecturer, Child Neurology Society, 2002; Lifetime Achievement Award, Virginia Biotechnology Association, 2002; Gairdner Foundation International Award of Merit, 2002; Stokes Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania, 2002; William Belden Noble Lecturer, Harvard Memorial Church, 2003; American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine Award, 2003; Walker Prize, Science Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, 2003; Detroit Science & Technology Leadership Award, 2003; Secretary of the Department of Energy Gold Award, 2003; American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Allan Medal, 2005, "for his contributions to the identification of the genes that carry mutations which cause, for example, neurofibromatosis and progeria, for the design of strategies for the identification of other major disease-causing mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease, and for his roles in promoting and explaining human genetics research in the public forum."


(With Thomas D. Gelehrter) Principles of Medical Genetics, Williams & Wilkins (Baltimore, MD), 1990.

(Editor, with Alan E. Guttmacher and Jeffrey M. Drazen) Genomic Medicine: Articles from the New England Journal of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2004.

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to more than forty books, including Genome Analysis, Practical Approach, edited by K. Davies IRL Press (London, England), 1988; Switching, Part A: Transcriptional Regulation, edited by George Stamatoyannopoulos and Arthur W. Neinhuis, Alan R. Liss (New York, NY), 1989; The Regulation of Hemoglobin Switching, edited by George Stamatoyannopoulos and Arthur W. Nienhuis, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1991; Methods in Molecular Biology: Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis, edited by M. Burmeister and L. Ulanovsky, Humana Press (Totowa, NJ), 1992; YAC Libraries: A User's Guide, edited by D.L. Nelson and BH Brownstein, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1993; The Genetic Basis of Common Disease, edited by R.A. King, J.I. Rotter, and A.G. Motulsky, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1992; Molecular Basis of Neurology, edited by P.M. Conneally, Blackwell Scientific Publications (Boston, MA), 1993; Current Topics in Cystic Fibrosis, edited by J.A. Dodge, D.J.H. Brock, and J.H. Widdicombe, John Wiley (Chichester, England), 1993; Annual Review of Medicine: Selected Topics in the Clinical Sciences, edited by W.P. Creger, C.H. Coggins, and E.W. Hancock, Annual Reviews (Palo Alto, CA), 1993; The Neurofibromatoses: A Pathogenetic and Clinical Overview, edited by S. Huson and R. Hughes, Chapman & Hall (London, England), 1994; Molecular Genetic Medicine, edited by Theodore Friedmann, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 1993; Advances in Biomagnetic Separation, edited by M. Uhlen, E. Hornes, and O. Olsvik, Eaton Publishing 1993; The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease, 7th edition, edited by E.R. Scriver, et al., McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1995; Identification of Transcribed Sequences, edited by U. Hochgeschwender and K. Gardiner, Plenum Publishing, 1994; Maternity and Women's Health, edited by D. Lowdermilk, I. Bobak, and S. Perry, C.V. Mosby (St. Louis, MO), 1997; Textbook of Internal Medicine, 3rd edition, edited by William N. Kelley, Lippincott-Raven (Philadelphia, PA), 1997; Gene Therapy for Diseases of the Lungs, edited by Kenneth L. Brigham, Marcel Dekker (New York, NY), 1997; Human Heredity, 4th edition, edited by Michael Cummings, West Educational Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1997; Maternal Child Nursing Care, edited by Donna L. Wong and Shannon E. Perry, Mosby-Year Book (St. Louis, MO), 1998; Parathyroid Diseases: Gene to the Cure, edited by M.L. Brandi, Firenze, 1997; Genetics and Public Health in the 21st Century: Using Genetic Information to Improve Health and Prevent Disease, edited by M.J. Khoury, W. Burke, and E. Thomson, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000; The Genetic Basis of Common Disease, 2nd edition, edited by R.A. King, J.I. Rotter, and A.G. Motulsky, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000; Textbook of Medicine, 4th edition, edited by E.J. Benz and A. McNeil, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000; The Encyclopedia of Public Health, edited by L. Breslow, et al., Macmillan Reference, 2000; and The Metabolic and Molecular Basis of Inherited Disease, edited by B. Vogelstein, K.W. Kinzler, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2000.

Contributor of more than 300 articles to professional journals, including the American Journal of Medicine, Journal of Pediatrics, Nucleic Acids Research, Blood, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Clinical Genetics, and Science. Serves or has served as associate editor of American Journal of Human Genetics, 1986-89; Genomics, 1986—; Genes, Chromosomes, and Cancer, 1989—; Somatic Cell and Molecular Genetics, 1989—; Human Molecular Genetics, 1991—; and Functional and Integrative Genomics, 1999—; also served as communications editor of Human Mutation, 1992.


Francis S. Collins is a medical geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, an effort that resulted in mapping the location and function of all the genes in the human body. Although Collins is primarily known for his work in genetics and his numerous journal articles on the subject, he is also the author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Collins, a former atheist, became a Christian at the age of twenty-seven after reading the arguments of noted Christian intellectual C.S. Lewis. In his book, Collins reflects on his own spiritual journey and presents his beliefs concerning the relationship between the worlds of science and the spirit. He explores issues such as the universe's origin, Darwinism and evolution, DNA, and creationism and intelligent design. The author also ponders classic questions concerning the existence of God, such as, If God is all loving, why does God permit suffering? Do miracles exist? In addition, Collins writes about evolution as a possible example of God's power.

As expected, The Language of God has engendered debate among scientists and among the general public. Commenting on the book's controversial approach to science and religion, Wilson Quarterly contributor Amy E. Schwartz wrote: "The most dangerous place to be on any battlefield is smack in the middle, between the opposing forces. So one can only imagine the scorn likely to be heaped on this mild and eloquent book as it seeks to appeal to both sides in a war that seems endless." Nevertheless, the book has received good reviews from numerous critics, both from those within the scientific field and lay persons. For example, Stephen M. Barr, a theoretical physicist writing in First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, commented that the book is "of enormous value." Barr continued: "At a time when so many people on both sides are trying to foment a conflict between science and religion, Collins is a sorely needed voice of reason. His book may do more to promote better understanding between the worlds of faith and science than any other so far written."

Although Collins presents his case convincingly, several reviewers noted that the author admits that no proof for the existence of God is foolproof. For example, in a review in the American Scientist, Robert J. Richards noted: "Throughout his book, and especially in his discussion of stem cell techniques, one detects the man of science in Collins struggling with the man of religion. He desperately wants reconciliation between reason and faith but seems not always aware of the price each side would pay. Despite his efforts to marshal rational, scientific arguments for God's existence, he does in the end admit that ‘belief in God will always require a leap of faith.’" On a more general note, reviewers also noted the author's overall writing abilities, such as Skeptic contributor Robert K. Eberle, who commented: "The Language of God is well written, and in many places quite thoughtful."



World of Genetics, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2006.

Rooney, Terry M., editor, Contemporary Heroes and Heroines, Book III, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.


America, January 1, 2007, T. Patrick Hill, "The Nature of It All," review of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, p. 24.

American Scientist, March-April, 2007, Robert J. Richards, "Reason and Reverence," review of The Language of God, p. 173.

Booklist, July 1, 2006, June Sawyers, review of The Language of God, p. 11.

Books & Culture, March-April, 2007, Catherine H. Crouch, "Not Too Simply Christian" (interview with author), p. 26.

Christianity Today, October, 2001, "The Genome Doctor" (interview with author), p. 42; January, 2007, Stan Guthrie, "Creation or Evolution? Yes! Francis Collins Issues a Call to Stand on the Middle Ground," p. 62.

Conscience, winter, 2006, review of The Language of God.

Discover, September, 2006, Dean Christopher, "Lord, Is That You in My DNA?," review of The Language of God, p. 72; February, 2007, David Ewing Duncan, "The Discover Interview: Francis Collins: The Nation's Top Geneticist Is Raising Eyebrows by Talking Openly about His Faith, as a True Believer in Stem Cell Research and as a Devout Christian," p. 44.

Exceptional Parent, October, 2002, Lucinda M. O'Neill, "An Interview with Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Human Genome Project," p. 28.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, December, 2006, Stephen M. Barr, "The Form of Speaking," review of The Language of God, p. 39.

Macon Telegraph, April 5, 2007, "Geneticist Marries Science, Religion."

National Catholic Reporter, October 6, 2006, Bill Williams, "Worshiping the God of the Genome," review of The Language of God, p. 1.

New York Times, November 30, 1993, Gina Kolota, "Scientist at Work: Francis S. Collins; Unlocking the Secrets of the Genome."

Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2006, review of The Language of God, p. 56.

SciTech Book News, December, 2006, review of The Language of God.

Skeptic, spring, 2006, Robert K. Eberle, "If God Could Talk What Would He Say?," review of The Language of God.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 20, 2006, James D. Davis, review of The Language of God.

Weekly Standard, August 14, 2006, David Klinghoffer, "The Human Factor; a Man of Science Faces Darwin and the Deity," review of The Language of God.

Wilson Quarterly, summer, 2006, Amy E. Schwartz, "Seeing God's Hand in Evolution," review of The Language of God.


Bookslut, (June 14, 2007), Barbara J. King, "The Science and Spirit of Francis S. Collins."

Compulsive Reader, (June 14, 2007), Dean S. Warren, review of The Language of God.

Discovery Institute Web site, (June 14, 2007), Logan Paul Gage, review of The Language of God.

JourneyWithJesus.Net, (June 14, 2007), Dan Clendenin, review of The Language of God.

National Institute of Health, National Human Genome Research Institute Web site, (June 14, 2007), profiles of author.

Smart Computing, (June 14, 2007), biography of author.

Truth Dig, (August 15, 2006), Sam Harris, review of The Language of God.

Was Darwin Wrong?, (May 27, 2007), Gert Korthof, review of The Language of God.

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Collins, Francis S. 1950-

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