In recognition of a career that has resulted in four of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of personalized medicine, the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) will present National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., with the 11th Annual Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award during the Personalized Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School on Nov. 19.
In his letter nominating Collins for the award, Harvard Medical School Professor Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D., noted that Collins “has made sustained and critical contributions for the establishment of personalized medicine.” A physician-geneticist, Collins earned national recognition in 1989, more than a decade before the complete sequencing of the human genome, for his team’s discovery of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.
He then served as the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), where he was the overall project manager of the international Human Genome Project, which produced a complete map of the human genome in 2003. He also played a key role in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in 2008, which has helped to ensure that the insights from his extraordinary achievements and those of many others are not used for discriminatory purposes.
President Obama nominated him as NIH director in 2009, proclaiming that his work had already “changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.” As NIH director, Collins’ relentless advocacy helped shape President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which was announced earlier this year as part of the President’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2016.
Collins remains one of the field’s most passionate champions.
“I see a day in the not too distant future when every person will have his or her genome sequenced and other important data collected as a routine part of medical care with individualized strategies developed for diagnosing, treating and preventing their disease,” said Dr. Collins. “I know that the PMC shares this vision and I am truly honored to receive this award from an organization that continues to pursue the vision with such great passion.”
Collins will accept the award and deliver remarks at 10:30 a.m. on the second day of the conference, which will take place from Nov. 18 - 19 at the Harvard School of Medicine. The event kicks off with PMC’s cocktail reception at the Hotel Commonwealth on Nov. 17.