At a Glance
- Career History: Director, National Center for Human Genome Research (1993 to 2008); Professor of internal medicine and human genetics, University of Michigan (1984 to 1993); Postdoctoral fellow in human genetics and pediatrics, Yale Medical School (1981 to 1984)
- Hometown: Staunton, Va.
- Alma Mater: University of Virginia, B.S. (chemistry), 1970; Yale University, Ph.D. (physical chemistry), 1974; University of North Carolina, M.D., 1977
- Religion: Christian (Evangelical)
- Office: National Institutes of Health (NIH)9000 Rockville PikeBethesda, Maryland 20892
- Web site
Path to Power
Collins was born to a playwright and a Ph.D.
His father, the English Ph.D. and professor at Mary Baldwin College, had "wide-ranging interests, including collecting folk music and staging medieval plays," The New York Times reported.
As director of the NIH, Collins heads the most important scientific grant-making organization in the world.
The NIH has a nearly $30 billion annual budget, but only about 20 percent of that goes to research done at its sprawling campus in Bethesda, Md. The vast bulk goes to fund the research of scientists across the U.S. and around the world.
From 1993 to 1999, Collins reported to then-NIH Head Harold E. Varmus. Varmus was named one of the co-chairs of Obama's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.
Collins was named head of the Human Genome Project during the Bill Clinton's administration, and continued his post through George W. Bush's presidency.