Dr. Collins is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Yale and an MD from the University of North Carolina. After a fellowship in Human Genetics and Pediatrics at Yale, he joined the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he remained until he was appointed to replace James Watson at NIH in 1993. His research has contributed to the identification of the genes for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis and Huntington disease.
Francis Collins also received the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2002 for his outstanding leadership in the Human Genome Project and particularly for the international effort to map and sequence the human and other genomes. As of 2002, Dr. Francis Collins was the current Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, USA. In this role he oversees the Human Genome Project, the complex multidisciplinary scientific exercise directed at mapping and sequencing the entire human DNA and determining aspects of its function. An initial analysis of the human genome sequence was published in 2001 and the data has been made available to the scientific community.