Report: Collins to lead NIH

Francis Collins, the geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, is close to taking over the top spot at the National Institutes of Health, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-na-nih-collins23-2009may23,0,5889122.story by __Bloomberg News__. Collins, who was the director of the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008, is in the final stages of being screened by the administration of US President Barack Obama, an unnamed source told _

By | May 26, 2009

Francis Collins, the geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, is close to taking over the top spot at the National Institutes of Health, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-na-nih-collins23-2009may23,0,5889122.story by __Bloomberg News__.
Collins, who was the director of the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008, is in the final stages of being screened by the administration of US President Barack Obama, an unnamed source told __Bloomberg__. Elias Zerhouni, Collins' would-be predecessor, voiced his approval for the pick, telling __Bloomberg__ that Collins has "done things many scientists wish they could do once in their lifetime, and he's done it repeatedly." Collins recently unveiled a new foundation, BioLogos, that promotes "the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms, and seeks to harmonize these different perspectives," according to the organization's linkurl:Web site.;http://biologos.org/ Collins, who is an evangelical Christian, has linkurl:said;http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/05/04/francis-collins-a-scientific-basis-for-god.html that his new foundation is an attempt to resolve Christian faith with scientific evidence, especially with regard to evolution. In 2006 he published a bestselling book, __The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief__, that stirred some controversy in the scientific community.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:FDA head chosen, NIH names swirling;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55507/
[12th March 2009]*linkurl:Collins to industry, top of NIH?;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54702/
[28th May 2008]*linkurl:Francis Collins leaves NHGRI;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54701/
[28th May 2008]

Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 6

May 26, 2009

This is not a good selection for the leader of the NIH. Crick is not representative of leading scientists of our era, most of which are not religious at all (less than 8% of biologists in the National Academy of Scientists are religious). Furthermore, he is a major advocate of big science and is not a supporter of hypothesis driven science (not surprising in my opinion). I wish President Obama could would take a democratic approach to this appointment and allow the NAS to elect the leader of the NIH (or at least provide some input)?.
Avatar of: Nils Jansma

Nils Jansma

Posts: 19

May 26, 2009

This sounds good. Maybe if we take these issues out of the hands of the self-interest minded extremists, we might start to learn something truthful from the actual facts about both sides of the natural / supernatural realms.
Avatar of: ROBERT KILLOREN

ROBERT KILLOREN

Posts: 5

May 26, 2009

The headline seems a bit misleading... he hasn't been picked yet, but I think he would make an excellent director so I hope it is prescient.
Avatar of: Jesus Villar

Jesus Villar

Posts: 1

May 26, 2009

I have no doubts that Francis Collins is a bright scientist. I even believe that he deserves to be a candidate to the Nobel Prize for his discoveries. However, I think that a clinical scientist would be more appropriate to lead the National Instutes of HEALTH. Translational research is better understood by scientists with an MD background. I do not know whether he hold a MD degree.\n\nJesus Villar\nCanary Islands, Spain.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

May 26, 2009

Mixing religion and science is worse than mixing religion and politics.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 26, 2009

That translational research is better understood by scientists with an MD background may or may not be true, but why focusing in translational research only? Projects related to the "New Pathways to Discovery" initiative may be better understood by a Computational Biologist... What's important is the vision of the candidate.\nRegarding mixing science and religion, I don't think F. Collins' religious believes interfered with his scientific performance when he was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. However, I have to admit the idea makes me feel a bit uneasy...
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 8

May 26, 2009

\nCollins is best known as the born-again Scientist. Scientifically he is known as the Government Scientist who LOST the Human Genome Race to Ventor because he did not understand technology and innovation. He has few real scientific achievements under his belt with the exception of cloning work done largely by collaborators and most scientists believe he has used his bible and born-again Christian tactics to gain political favor and position his entire career. While I don't know if that is true- it is widely perceived.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 8

May 26, 2009

This, I 'pray', is not the direction Obama will take the NIH. This is a serious step backward to Bush-type pandering and not the individual who speaks for American ingenuity and breakthrough science.\n\nIf we want big mindless budget consuming science with a biblical bend and Cheney-type contracts, this is the right choice.\n\nIf we want the HOPE for REAL Change at the NIH, real innovation, real medical breakthroughs, look for a real scientist and or physician not someone who panders to the born-again right to direct America's hope for the future. \n\nI voted for Obama expecting change and hope, not poor Country-Crippling decisions like this.

May 27, 2009

Folks,\n\nIt is extremely disappointing that you don?t seem to be able to express your views other than in the anonymous mode. Science and medicine are also about openness and freedom to expose our views and convictions, prove them with facts and subject ourselves to the scrutiny of other?s perspectives.\n\nThank you\n\n
Avatar of: Aaron McCoy

Aaron McCoy

Posts: 3

May 27, 2009

Terrible terrible disappointment! Who does this pick please? I thought Obama was going to "restore science to it's rightful place?" This is a victory for creationists.

May 27, 2009

I do hope that President Obama keeps his promise ?to restore science to its rightful place?. And I do hope that, in selecting a candidate, President Obama considers: What is in the records and professional experience of a candidate that makes her/him the best choice to lead an institution created to better science and the health of the nation ?. \nWhether a candidate holds a theist or atheist view of the world is, in my view, a personal option that is to be respected and does not/should not constitute a requisite to lead the NIH.
Avatar of: Sergio Vasquez

Sergio Vasquez

Posts: 24

May 27, 2009

...and has the requisite dual MD.,Ph.D certifications to claim as much.\n\nI've followed the man closely and he seems in touch with his theistic and empirical approaches to science so at to attempt to reconcile them in a memoir widely available for purchase. He does not hide behind his beliefs, but rather is open to criticism of them. Lest anyone forget, one need not be an atheist to perform good science. Whether or not his science is any good is for history to decide, but lets not crucify the administration for wanting a high profile and rather successful bureaucrat at the helm of one of the most important grant giving bodies in the nation.\n\nThat being said, I would like to see the list of vetted candidates and see why this name seemingly floated to the top of the list.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 6

May 28, 2009

A true scientist needs scientific evidence to believe in a certain theory or claim. The scientific evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming not to mention that since our genome is 99% homologous to the chimpanzee it is mathematically impossible we did not evolve. To say that you believe in some higher power creating all things without any proof calls into question one?s scientific integrity. Scientists require data and evidence to believe or begin to believe in a theory or claim. Any proof of a higher power is completely lacking. I would prefer to see a true scientist in this position that remains completely objective. With Dr. Crick mixing his science and religious beliefs he is clearly a ?subjective? scientist that would likely cut corners to get to a certain power position in society. Lets hope he is not the choice of President Obama.
Avatar of: Mike Pyle

Mike Pyle

Posts: 2

May 28, 2009

To paint Collins with a 'Creationist' one color fits all brush stroke is to distort his views. I trust no one commenting would be so intellectually dishonest as to criticize Collins or his appointment without having read his book. It was a worthwhile read regardless of where you fall on the origins spectrum.
Avatar of: Mike Pyle

Mike Pyle

Posts: 2

May 28, 2009

To set the record straight, Dr. Collins is a physician.
Avatar of: C M

C M

Posts: 4

May 29, 2009

As a scientist, to be truly objective, there is no definitive proof "for" or "against" the existence of a higher power/s that created everything we know.\n\nIn addition, there is absolutely NO reason why evolution could not have been created by a higher power. The Bible says earth created in 6 days. In point of fact, it doesn't say how long a day really is does is it? NO it doesn't.\n\nIf there's someone that TRULY believes the Bible verbatim, then if you have a daughter, how much can I buy her for? I'd like to know. Do not be selective in what you say is the "truth" from the Bible, and other things you don't believe or practive. Selectivity of truth is not possible.\n\n\nThis pick is surely political. However, as long as the guy does good, sound science that's a good start for me.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

July 9, 2009

President Obama should be applauded for an outstanding selection. Dr. Collins is a highly accomplished scientist with hundreds of peer-reviewed papers in leading science and medical journals. He succesfully led the NHGRI towards completion of the Human Genome Project, which has fueled forward genetics and increased the pace of scientific discovery. I note that many on this blog immediately think Francis Crick when thinking of Dr. Collins. History will without doubt remember both for their outstanding contributions to science.

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