Former NHGRI Directors
Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D.
In 1999, Dr. Guttmacher joined the NHGRI as Senior Clinical Advisor to the Director. In that role, he established a dialogue with health professionals and the public about the health and societal implications of the HGP. He has given hundreds of talks to physicians, consumer groups, students and the lay public about genetics and its impact on health, health care and society. In 2002, Dr. Guttmacher became the NHGRI Deputy Director. From August 2, 2008 until November 30, 2009, Dr. Guttmacher was the Acting Director of NHGRI. On December 1, 2009, he also became the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. On August 1, 2010, Dr. Guttmacher became the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
- Former Acting Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D.
- Alan Guttmacher Named Director of NICHD [nichd.nih.gov]
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
During his tenure at NHGRI, Dr. Collins led the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project (HGP), a complex multidisciplinary scientific enterprise directed at mapping and sequencing all of the human DNA, and determining aspects of its function. A working draft of the human genome sequence was announced in June of 2000, an initial analysis was published in February of 2001, and a high-quality, reference sequence was completed in April 2003. All the data generated by the Human Genome Project is now available to the scientific community without restrictions on access or use. Dr. Collins encouraged NHGRI's effort to ensure that this new trove of sequence data is translated into tools and strategies to advance biological knowledge and improve human health.
Dr. Collins received a B.S. from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Yale University, and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina. Following a fellowship in Human Genetics at Yale, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he remained until moving to NIH in 1993. His research has led to the identification of genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes and the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
On Nov. 5, 2007, Dr. Collins received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award, for his revolutionary contributions to genetic research.
In August 2008, Dr. Collins left his position as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute to explore other writing and professional opportunities.
On August 17, 2009, Dr. Collins was sworn in as the 16 director of the National Institutes of Health. He maintains his laboratory position at NHGRI as a senior investigator in the Genome Technoogy Branch and the head of the Molecular Genetics Section.
- Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Collins' NHGRI lab page.
- Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) [nih.gov]
Dr. Collins' NIH Director Page
- Former NHGRI Director Francis Collins' Biography
- Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. [achievement.org]
A biography of Francis Collins from the Academy of Achievement.
- A Farewell and Tribute to Francis Collins
NHGRI's farewell to Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. at Natcher Auditorium on the National Institutes of Health campus.
Michael M. Gottesman, M.D.
Michael M. Gottesman, M.D., was the acting director for the National Center for Human Genome Research from 1992 to 1993. Since 1993, Dr. Gottesman has served as the NIH deputy director for intramural research (DDIR) and as chief of NCI's Laboratory of Cell Biology.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dr. Gottesman received his B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1966 and earned his M.D. degree at Harvard Medical School in 1970.
At NIH, his research interests have ranged from how DNA is replicated in bacteria to how cancer cells elude chemotherapy. His research has earned him many awards, including the Milken Family Foundation Award for Cancer Research, 1990; C.E. Alken Prize, 1991; the Rosenthal Foundation Award, 1992; and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) award in 1997. He was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1988, elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2003, and elected to the Association of American Physicians in 2006. He received the Public Health Service Commendation, Outstanding Service and Distinguished Service awards, the NIH Director's award in 2002, and the HHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service in 2005.
- Michael M. Gottesman, M.D. [ccr.cancer.gov]
Biography from the National Cancer Insitute.
- Michael Gottesman [nih.gov]
Full Biography from the National Institutes of Health.
James D. Watson, Ph.D.
Born in Chicago on April 6, 1928, Watson is best know as the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, the double-helix. Watson and fellow scientist Francis Crick were the first to describe the hidden double-helix structure of DNA molecules. They published their findings in the journal Nature in April of 1953. The discovery was considered tremendously significant, and in 1962 Watson and Crick and their collaborator Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Watson's account of his DNA discoveries with Crick, The Double Helix, was published in 1968. Watson was on the faculty of Harvard University for 21 years, from 1956-76 and also served as president and later as chancellor of Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory in New York.
In later years he was known for controversial off-the-cuff remarks on various topics related to genetics and gender. He resigned as chancellor of Cold Springs Harbor in 2007 after causing controversy when he suggested that people from Africa were genetically less intelligent than whites. His other books include DNA: The Secret of Life (2003) and Avoid Boring People (2007).
- James D. Watson, Ph.D. [achievement.org]
Full biography from the Academy of Achievement
- James Watson, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 [nobelprize.org]
Nobel Prize biography and research background.
Last Updated: March 26, 2014