Will Rogers Institute to Honor World's Leading Geneticist and Recent Medal of Freedom Recipient, Dr. Francis S. Collins For His Outstanding Contribution to Lung Research.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 General News
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27 It is impossible to over estimate theeffect Dr. Francis S. Collins' work has had on public health. Fifty years ago,children living with cystic fibrosis (CF) would not have been expected to livepast their early teens. Thanks to the research work of Dr. Collins, and thesubsequent advancement in treatment, people can now expect to live into theirthirties, forties and beyond.

It is in recognition of his extraordinary work on the CF gene andidentification of the human genome, that the Will Rogers Institute (WRI) willhonor Dr. Collins with the inaugural "Annual Prize for OutstandingContributions to Lung Research." The award will be presented on Thursday,December 6, 2007 at the WRI Board of Directors Meeting at the Beverly HillsHotel.

Dr. Collins' seminal research led to the identification of the CF gene andits protein product, CFTR. Mutation of the gene results in CF, a chronicdisease which attacks the lungs and other organs. It is estimated that 30,000children and adults in the United States struggle with cystic fibrosis. Morethan 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptom-free carriers of the disease,which can only be identified by genetic testing.

His work has proved to be a motivator for advancements in many othergenetic investigations including type 2 diabetes, neurofibromatosis andHuntington's disease.

Dr. Edward Crandall, PhD, MD, medical advisor to the Will Rogers Instituteand Hastings Professor and Norris Chair of Medicine at the University ofSouthern California (USC), stated, "Dr. Collins was chosen by the WRI as thefirst recipient of the prize because his work has consistently producedoutstanding and influential research that has been published in the foremostpeer-review journals. He maintains a very important leadership role in hisfield, and is held in the highest esteem by scientists and cliniciansthroughout the world."

As further testament to the importance of his work, on November 5, 2007 President George W. Bush presented Dr. Collins with the Medal of Freedom, oneof the nation's highest civilian honors, for his contribution to geneticresearch. The Human Genome Project identified the genes in human DNA, storedthe data and made it available for research. This project alone hasrevolutionized genetic research.

A native of the east coast, Dr. Collins studied chemistry at theUniversity of Virginia (BS) and Yale University (PhD) and received his MD fromthe University of North Carolina. He undertook residency training in medicineat North Carolina before returning to Yale as a Fellow in Human Genetics from1981 to 1984. Dr. Collins was appointed Director of the National GenomeResearch Institute of the National Institutes of Health in 1993.

Press Contact: Jane LaBonte (310) 801-3902

SOURCE Will Rogers Institute

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