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I am pleased that President Obama has chosen to nominate Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., to be the next NIH director. As a clinician-scientist with medical genetics expertise, Dr. Collins possesses a keen understanding of the need for science, policy and public health to align to improve lives of people affected by inherited diseases, including those related to vision.
In a 2005 keynote lecture at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting, Dr. Collins addressed thousands of Academy members regarding the changing scope of clinical care for physicians. He stated that “clearly, ophthalmologists are at the leading edge of this revolution. The Human Genome Project, which mapped and sequenced all human DNA, has dramatically accelerated efforts to uncover the genetic mutations responsible for eye diseases.”
On a personal level, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Collins while we were both faculty members at the University of Michigan before he assumed his NIH position in 1993. I had the first-hand opportunity to witness his knowledge and appreciation of medical genetics and personalized medicine as it relates to vision conditions. I now look forward to forging new avenues for studying eye and vision disorders with him in these exciting times of gene-based discoveries.