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NIH Director Francis Collins to deliver Compton Lecture Oct. 28

Collins to present “Exceptional Opportunities in Biomedical Research.”
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Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will speak at MIT on Oct. 28.
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Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will speak at MIT on Oct. 28.
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Photo: National Institutes of Health

Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will deliver the fall 2014 Compton Lecture, “Exceptional Opportunities in Biomedical Research,” at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, in Room 10-250. All are welcome; no tickets are required.

Collins is a physician-geneticist who became the 16th director of the NIH, the leading international supporter of biomedical research, in 2009. From 1993–2008, he served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH. His leadership at the NHGRI guided the efforts that led to the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP), a collaborative, international research program that mapped and sequenced all the genes that make up human DNA. The work was completed April 2003, two years ahead of its original schedule.

In his own research laboratory, Collins achieved additional success by uncovering the genes associated with type 2 diabetes, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

A former atheist and agnostic, Collins turned to Christianity in his twenties. He explored the interface of science and faith in the New York Times best-selling book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" (Free Press, 2006). He is also the author of "The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine" (HarperCollins, 2010). He holds a PhD in physical chemistry from Yale University and an MD from the University of North Carolina. In 2007, Collins was honored for his contributions to genetic research with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2009, he received the National Medal of Science. 

The Karl Taylor Compton Lecture Series was established in 1957 to honor the late Karl Taylor Compton, who served as president of MIT from 1930 to 1948 and as chairman of the Corporation from 1948 to 1954. The purpose of the lectureship is to give the MIT community direct contact with the important ideas of our times and with people who have contributed much to modern thought.

The series is sponsored by the Office of the President. 

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