James J. Collins is a William F. Warren Distinguished Professor, University Professor, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Medicine, and Co-Director of the Center for BioDynamics at Boston University. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. His many awards include a MacArthur "Genius Award," a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award, and a Rhodes Scholarship. He has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and named to the Technology Review list of top 100 young innovators and the Scientific American list of top 50 outstanding leaders in science and technology.
Collins develops innovative ways to reprogram organisms, particularly bacteria, to perform desired tasks, such as sensing chemicals in the environment and breaking up biofilms. These engineered organisms could lead to cheaper drugs, greener fuels, and more effective treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections and chronic diseases. The work is part of the new field of synthetic biology, which Collins founded by combining engineering and molecular biology to construct biological circuits that can program organisms, much like we program computers today. He is also a pioneer in systems biology and nonlinear physiological dynamics, with the goal of improving the function of biological systems. His research has led to a new class of medical devices, such as vibrating insoles that provide sensory enhancement stimulation to the feet of the user. His team at the Wyss is developing these insoles for a variety of purposes, in particular, improving balance among elderly users.
At the 2011 URI Honors Colloquium, he will discuss synthetic biology now and in the future.
ABOUT THIS LECTURE
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URI Presentation - Video
The video for Jim Collins' URI presentation on 10/11/11
A lecture that Jim Collins gave at Harvard University on biology by design
Jim Collins' faculty web profile for Boston University
Jim Collins' profile for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Jim Collins' profile for the Harvard University Wyss Institute