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Research & Discovery

A Blog Devoted to UD Innovation, Excellence and Scholarship

NIH Director Collins visits UD’s ‘vibrant research community’

by | March 5, 2019

NIH Director Collins visits UD’s ‘vibrant research community’

ABOVE: UD President Dennis Assanis (center) moderates a discussion between U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (left) and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins regarding research and healthcare in the United States and the rest of the world. | Photos by Evan Krape

‘Fireside Chat’ explores priorities, potential and perils of health-related research

Dr. Francis Collins is one of the world’s pre-eminent scientists, having directed the extraordinary international Human Genome Project that mapped out humanity’s genes for the first time. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. And he now holds the reins of the National Institutes of Health, directing billions of dollars of the United States’ research investment every year.

But Collins’ first visit to the University of Delaware on Friday, March 1, seemed more like facetime with a trusted mentor, someone who listens carefully to your ideas, cheers you on and, if you make a good case, even helps your great ideas get traction.

The NIH has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in UD research over the years, including $34 million in fiscal year 2018 alone — making it the single largest sponsor of UD research during the past year.

During his visit to UD, Collins connected with those on the front lines of research, toured some of the new and expanding facilities in UD’s research enterprise, talked to University students about his work and theirs, and shared a breakfast meeting with President Dennis Assanis and some of Delaware’s top elected officials — including U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Gov. John Carney.

In a tour of labs on the STAR Campus and the Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging, Collins saw NIH support in action.

And during the main event — a “fireside chat” with Coons, moderated by Assanis — Collins had opportunity to discuss publicly why research matters so much to the future of the nation and the globe.

He sees UD as an ally in that work, calling it a “very vibrant research community,” and said he will take ideas gathered during his visit back to colleagues and staff in Washington.

Assanis proclaimed it “a very, very bright day for us — a joyous day and a great honor for our institution. Health and wellness issues are probably the most important facing the world today, and a significant focus of the University’s work”.

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