New NIH Director Francis Collins to be at ASCB Meeting in San Diego

Newly appointed National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins will attend and speak briefly at the American Society for Cell Biology Conference in San Diego Dec. 5-9. Dr. Collins will provide some short remarks after Rudolf Jaenisch’s keynote presentation at 6 p.m. SDBN has requested an interview and hopes to give San Diego Biotechnology professionals a voice for the direction of NIH funding.

Dr. Collins led the Human Genome Project, an achievement which significantly changed the landscape of life science research. The project has found increasing relevance as the data becomes ‘translated’ into implications for health and medicine. The information has pervasively impacted the way our industry ‘works,’ just one example being the improved communication between drug discovery and disease diagnostics. Dr. Collins is also a physician and a proponent of personalized medicine, and was appointed as NIH Director by President Obama in July of this year.

Dr. Collins has been a strong supporter of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) for years, and is described as an ‘eloquent speaker and all around great guy’ by John Fleischman, Science Writer for ASCB. Fleischman said Dr. Collins has also been known to pick up a guitar and play at their functions. We know that Dr. Collins has a sense of humor because he has appeared on the Colbert Report. We can’t promise a ‘kumbaya’ session, or a funny rapport (pun intended), but it will be great to hear Dr. Collins talk about the direction of the NIH. The meeting is also a great place to learn and network with scientists and exhibitors, I highly suggest that you attend.

The ASCB is dedicated to basic research which is of paramount importance to supporting our local biotechnology economy, as our industry is fed by our top research institutions. Personally, I am interested in changes in NIH funding which will better prepare our academic scientists to more easily ‘translate’ their knowledge to industrial applications.

Do you have any questions for Dr. Collins? Please leave them as a comment below, and we will do our best to get them asked!

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