Prize Recipients

2018 Recipient

Francis Collins
National Institutes of Health

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate. He was sworn in on August 17, 2009. On June 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his selection of Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. In this role, Dr. Collins oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research.

Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 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 NIH from 1993-2008.

Before coming to NIH, Dr. Collins was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009.

Shortly after the discovery of the CFTR gene, I wrote a song called “Dare to Dream.” The lyrics expressed the hope that someday the gene discovery would lead to effective treatments for cystic fibrosis—that someday we would see “all our brothers and sisters breathing free.” It is intensely gratifying to see that dream now coming true. And it is a profound honor to have the chance to share in this Warren Alpert recognition with other heroes who have made it possible. That includes my friend Lap-Chee Tsui, whose team worked with Mitch Drumm, Mike Iannuzzi, and others in my group in an unprecedented international collaboration that effectively merged our labs. And it includes Drs. Welsh, Ramsey and Negulescu, who are truly inspiring leaders in the work that led to the current therapeutic advances. They all dared to dream.

Francis Collins