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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A Big Day for Science: Welcome to the BRAIN Initiative

April 2, 2013 What an exciting day for science and innovation in the United States! I was thrilled to be present at the White House this morning, as President Barack Obama announced a pioneering project to explore the complex workings of the human brain: the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative....

Brown Fat, White Fat, Good Fat, Bad Fat

March 26, 2013 Fat has been villainized; but all fat was not created equal. Our two main types of fat—brown and white—play different roles. Now, two teams of NIH-funded researchers have enriched our understanding of adipose tissue. The first team discovered the genetic switch that triggers the development of brown fat, and the...

Photo: 'OMG' Microscope Lives Up to Its Name

March 21, 2013 The scientists at the IU School of Medicine-Bloomington nicknamed their new microscope the “OMG” for good reason—the images it produces are showstoppers. The DeltaVision OMX imaging system (its official title) is a $1.2 million dollar microscope that can peek inside a cell and image fluorescent proteins in unprecedented detail. Jane...

NIH Gains New Insight Into Cause of Parkinson’s Disease

March 18, 2013 I’m blogging today to tell you about a new NIH funded report describing a possible cause of Parkinson’s disease: a clog in the protein disposal system. You probably already know something about Parkinson’s disease. Many of us know individuals who have been stricken, and actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers...

Examining The Human Connectome Project

February 27, 2013 Ever wonder what is it that makes you, you? Depending on whom you ask, there are a lot of different answers, but these days some of the world’s top neuroscientists might say: “You are your connectome.” The connectome refers to the exquisitely interconnected network of neurons (nerve cells) in your...

What the Mouse Can Teach Us (And What It Can't)

February 20, 2013 The humble laboratory mouse has taught us a phenomenal amount about embryonic development, disease, and evolution. And, for decades, the pharmaceutical industry has relied on these critters to test the safety and efficacy of new drug candidates. If it works in mice, so we thought, it should work in humans....

Taking a Snapshot of the Human Immune System

February 15, 2013 There are numerous tests to gauge the health of your heart. But no such widely accepted test exists for the many parts of the immune system. How can we tell if the immune system is strong or weak? Or quantify how badly it’s malfunctioning when we suffer from asthma, allergies,...

NIH Advances the Push for Extreme Personalized Medicine

January 22, 2013 COOL TOOL. See how the TALE protein (rainbow colored) recognizes the target DNA site and wraps around the double helix. When this TALE protein is fused to a nuclease (the scissors), creating a TALEN, the hybrid protein will clip the DNA at the target site. Credit: Jeffry D. Sander, Massachusetts...

Photo: Why We're So Excited About Stem Cells

January 14, 2013 Certainly – as you can see here – stem cells are spectacularly beautiful. But they also hold spectacular promise for medicine. That’s why I immediately expressed my enthusiasm for last week's Supreme Court ruling that effectively enables NIH to continue conducting and funding responsible, scientifically worthy stem cell research. There...

Tackling the Bottlenecks in the Drug Development Pipeline

January 7, 2013 Can you believe the average length of time from target discovery to approval of a new drug currently averages about 14 years? That is WAY too long. Even more shocking is that the failure rate exceeds 95 percent, and the cost per successful drug surpasses $2 billion, after adjusting for...

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