WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is losing its gene guru: Dr. Francis Collins, who helped lead the breakthrough unraveling of the human genetic code — and found common ground between the belief in God and science — is resigning.
Collins, arguably the nation’s most influential geneticist, announced Wednesday that he will leave the National Institutes of Health this summer, to write a book and explore other opportunities.
The folksy geneticist helped translate the complexities of DNA into everyday vernacular. Collins led the Human Genome Project that, along with a competing private company, mapped the genetic code — or “the book of human life,” as he famously called it.
Here is part of an email from Collins:
Dear friends and colleagues in the many wonderful team projects that I have had the privilege of being part of,
I am writing to let you know of my plans to step down August 1, 2008 as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, a position that has been both a joy and privilege to hold for the past 15 years.
The key to success is having wonderful scientific opportunities and stellar colleagues with whom to work. Many challenges lie ahead as genomics increasingly becomes a leading force in medicine, and I leave my position supremely confident that NHGRI and NIH will continue to achieve notable success in meeting them.
Looking back, I’m tremendously proud of our collective work in leading the Human Genome Project (HGP) to its successful conclusion in 2003, and of our wide range of large-scale projects that built upon the foundation laid by the HGP. Collectively, these projects and the priceless data they generated have transformed biomedical research and empowered researchers all around the world. I’m also proud of these projects’ commitments to protecting the privacy of genetic information and addressing the ethical, legal and social implications of genome research….
And, for completeness, here’s the Wikipedia entry on Francis Collins
See Also: Good-bye Frank! at Evolgen