Francis Collins Nominated to Head NIH

Last week, President Barack Obama nominated physician and geneticist Francis Collins as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [1]. From 1993 — 2008, Dr. Collins was the first Director of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). He led the U.S. government’s Human Genome Project, which decoded the DNA sequence of 20,000 — 25,000 genes.


In the past, Collins’ research laboratory at the University of Michigan has identified a number of important genes, including those responsible for neurofibromatosis, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and genes for adult onset (type 2) diabetes. More recently, Collins has been a proponent of personalized medicine or genomic medicine, which leverages specific genetic knowledge for the delivery of effective healthcare. Medscape interviewed him about genomic research and personalized medicine two years ago, where he said that incorporating individualized medicine into the mainstream will necessitate a change in healthcare economics. As NIH Director he will undoubtedly have a voice in the ongoing healthcare reform debate in Washington.

In his announcement on Wednesday, President Obama said [1]:

The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.

Metabolic Changes in Human Brain Evolution and Schizophrenia

Earlier this year, researchers at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Cambridge University published a study in the journal Genome Biology providing further evidence that the evolution of human cognitive abilities was accompanied by adaptive changes in brain metabolism, potentially pushing the human brain to the limit of its metabolic capabilities [1]. The results support the theory that schizophrenia is a consequence of human brain evolution.

Grand Rounds 5.14 Holiday Edition

Seasons Greetings! Welcome to the Holiday Edition of Grand Rounds, featuring some of the best articles of the biomedical and healthcare blogosphere.

There’s a revolution occurring on the Web: those “authoritative” articles written on traditional, static websites are being replaced with blogs, wikis and online social networks. In the sphere of health, medicine and information technology, this “real-time Web” consists of many who are professionals in the field; their posts are listed below.
In the digital age, these are the characteristics of new media: recent, relevant, reachable and reliable.

At this time last year, I announced the Highlight HEALTH Network, a single source that aggregates content from all the Highlight HEALTH websites. This year, I have a similar gift for biomedical and healthcare blogosphere readers:

Health and Medicine blog carnival email and RSS subscriptions!