AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Dr. Francis Collins

Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In that role he 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 the NIH from 1993-2008.
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Creative Minds: Making Sense of Stress and the Brain

March 20, 2014 Right behind your forehead lies the most recently evolved region of the human brain: the prefrontal cortex, also called the PFC. It’s a major control center for abstract thinking, thought analysis, working memory, planning, decision-making, regulating emotions, and many of the things we most strongly associate with being human. But ...

Creative Minds: Can Microbes Influence Mental Health?

January 27, 2014 While sitting in microbiology class as a college sophomore, Elaine Hsiao was stunned to learn that the human gut held between as much as 6 pounds of bacteria -- twice the weight of an adult human brain. She went on to learn during her graduate studies in neurobiology that these ...

Scientists Find Possible Cause of Bipolar Disorder

October 30, 2013 We know that heredity, along with environment, plays an important role in many mental illnesses. For example, studies have revealed that if one identical twin has bipolar disorder, the chance of the other being affected is about 60%. There are similar observations for autism, schizophrenia, and major depression. But finding ...

Genome Exhibit Opens at Smithsonian

June 13, 2013 To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project—a 13-year endeavor that I had the privilege of leading—the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC is launching an absolutely fantastic exhibit called “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.” The exhibit goes way beyond basic biology—what DNA ...

Yes, It’s True: There’s Fungus Among Us

May 29, 2013 Athlete’s foot, ringworm, diaper rash, dandruff, some cases of sinusitis, and vaginal yeast infections are all caused by fungi. These microscopic co-travelers live in the air, water, soil, and, so it happens, on our body. NIH researchers have just completed the first census of the fungi that live on the ...

NIH Finds Sleep Gene Linked to Migraines

May 22, 2013 Migraines—pounding headaches sometimes preceded by a visual “aura,” and often coupled with vomiting, nausea, distorted vision, and hypersensitivity to sound and touch—can be highly debilitating if recurrent and prolonged. They affect millions of Americans and an estimated 10–20 percent of the global population. Yet what predisposes individuals to them is ...

How the Zebrafish May Hold the Key to Human Disease

May 15, 2013 Wouldn’t it be instructive if we could see the effect of a genetic mutation in real time, as the gene was misbehaving? Well, that’s one of the perks of using the zebrafish—a tiny, striped, transparent fish. Just last month, an international team of scientists—funded in part by NIH—published the entire ...

Scientists Make Progress in Slowing Diabetes

May 8, 2013 Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has arguably reached epidemic levels in this country; between 22 and 24 million people suffer from the disease. But now there’s an exciting new development: scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have discovered a hormone that might slow or stop the progression of diabetes. T2D ...

The Double Anniversary of the Double Helix

May 1, 2013 Last week, April 25 marked a very special day. In 2003, Congress declared April 25th DNA Day to mark the date that James Watson and Francis Crick published their seminal one-page paper in Nature describing the helical structure of DNA. That was 60 years ago. In that single page, they ...

NIH Shines a Bright Light on Cocaine Addiction

April 23, 2013 Wow—there is a lot of exciting brain research in progress, and this week is no exception. A team here at NIH, collaborating with scientists at the University of California in San Francisco, delivered harmless pulses of laser light to the brains of cocaine-addicted rats, blocking their desire for the narcotic. ...