Policy-ish

Francis Collins Picked To Head NIH

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Francis Collins was all smiles at a White House ceremony last March when President Obama signed an Executive Order on stem cell research. Ron Edmonds/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Ron Edmonds/AP

President Obama has picked a physician and geneticist best known for his work on the Human Genome Project to lead the National Institutes of Health, NPR has learned.

Francis Collins led the government's effort to decode the entire DNA sequence of a person. That project was completed in 2003, ahead of time and under budget.

At the time, Collins was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. He left the institute in 2008.

Before coming to the NIH, Collins established himself as a scientist at the University of Michigan. His research team there discovered the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease.

Collins describes himself as a devout Christian who sees no conflict between his faith and science.

If confirmed by the Senate, Collins would take over an agency with a budget of more than $30 billion.

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