WASHINGTON.- Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham presented on Wednesday Francis Collins and Aristides Patrinos with the Secretary’s Gold Award for their leadership of the government’s Human Genome Project. Francis Collins is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Ari Patrinos heads the Office of Biological and Environmental Research at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science.
The award is the Energy Department’s highest honorary award and includes a plaque with citation, a medallion and a rosette. Secretary Abraham presented Drs. Collins and Patrinos with the award in a ceremony at DOE headquarters. Director of the National Institutes of Health Elias Zerhouni represented the Department of Health and Human Services at the ceremony.
“These awards are in recognition of your vision and sustained leadership of the international human genome project, which culminated in the completion of the human DNA sequence in April 2003,” Secretary Abraham said. “The project’s success was largely due to your ability to join the efforts of two agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. This outstanding scientific and management accomplishment has opened the door to the biotechnology revolution that now offers such promise for human health, clean energy and a cleaner environment.”
Aristides Patrinos, PhD., has been a researcher at the department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory and worked at the Environmental Protection Agency prior to joining DOE in 1986. He has headed the Office of Biological and Environmental Research since 1993. Patrinos oversees research activities including the Genomes to Life program, structural biology, nuclear medicine and health effects, global environmental change and basic research underpinning DOE’s environmental restoration effort. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the Greek Technical Society.
Francis Collins, a physician-geneticist, practiced medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. Following a fellowship in human genetics at the Yale Medical School, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan. His research there led to the identification of genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and, this year, the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a disorder that causes the most dramatic form of premature aging. Collins joined NIH in 1993 to become director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, which became NHGRI in 1997. As director, Collins founded the Division of Intramural Research and oversees the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Secretary Abraham most recently gave the Gold Award in 2002 to Dr. Edward Teller, director emeritus of the department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.