Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Francis Collins

Director, National Institutes of Health

Francis Sellers Collins was born in April 1950 in Staunton, Virginia. He earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia. He earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University and later earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served his residency in internal medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, then returned to Yale, where he was a Fellow in Human Genetics at Yale’s medical school. 

He worked as a DNA researcher at Yale, then joined the University of Michigan faculty, rising to the rank of internal medicine and human genetics professor. He was appointed as director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, and later founded that center’s Division of Intramural Research on genomics. 

He was nominated by President Barack Obama as director of the National Institutes of Health. The Senate confirmed him unanimously and he assumed the role in August 2009. Both President Trump and President Biden selected Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. Dr. Collins has said he will resign from that post by the end of 2021. 

He is married to Diane Baker. Once an atheist, he now considers himself a “serious Christian.” 

In the News…

Top officials in the National Institutes of Health — including Director Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci—had denied funding gain-of-function research at laboratories in Wuhan China in testimony before Congress. 

Dr. Collins, who has since announced his resignation at the end of the year, and Dr. Fauci both denied approving grants for such research through the EcoHealth Alliance and Wuhan Institute of Virology. However, a letter released from NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak to the House Oversight Committee describes an unforeseen experimental result that calls those denials into question. 

Deputy Director Tabak testified that the final progress report by EcoHealth described the result of a modified bat coronavirus making mice sicker than the original virus. He stated, “As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do.”

The National Institutes of Health released a statement emphasizing “the virus is likely the result of viral evolution in nature” and not developed as a “biological weapon.” It does not address EcoHealth’s violation of grant terms or the creation of a virus that made mice sicker. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Dr. Collins today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Dr. Francis Collins 
National Institutes of Health 
900 Rockville Pike 
Bethesda, MD 20892 


Back to top