By Kevin Davies, Editor-in-Chief
August 18, 2004
HONORED: NHGRI deputy director Alan Guttmacher accepted the award on Collins' behalf from Bio·IT World president and publisher Alan Bergstein.
— Kevin Davies
| Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), spoke of collaboration and computation during his speech accepting his 2004 Bio·IT World
In a pre-recorded video message (he was taking a well-earned vacation in Kenya), Collins confessed he was "greatly surprised and very honored and flattered" to receive Bio·IT World's most prestigious annual award. As a government employee, he felt he was "a somewhat unusual choice" for a publication more closely identified with the business community, but he said, "I think this is an indication of how we're all working together in this [genome] era."
Collins added modestly: "I think I am being recognized really as a symbol of the thousands of scientists who have worked together on the Human Genome Project to generate very large data sets of information that was immediately put into the public domain, so that all the smart computational biologists could start working on it and tell us what it all means."
Researchers now face a number of computational challenges in the wake of the genome sequence, Collins said, including the International HapMap Project to chart human DNA variation; the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) program to characterize the function of defined stretches of the genome; and the new chemical genomics initiative to bring together biological space and chemical space.
BEST PRACTITIONERS: NHGRI deputy director Alan Guttmacher (center), who accepted the President's Award on behalf of Francis Collins, is flanked by Best Practices grand prize and honorable recognition award winners; in the back row, Bio·IT World editors.
Photo of winners by Photographics