James CollinsView all speakers
James J. Collins is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a William F. Warren Distinguished Professor, University Professor, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology at Boston University. He is also a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
His research group works in synthetic biology and systems biology, with a particular focus on using network biology approaches to study antibiotic action, bacterial defense mechanisms, and the emergence of resistance. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship, a MacArthur “Genius” Award, an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, as well as several teaching awards.
Professor Collins is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a charter fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Synthetic biology is bringing together engineers and biologists to design and construct biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA, and to use these circuits to rewire and reprogram organisms. These re-engineered organisms are going to change our lives in the coming years, leading to cheaper drugs, “green” means to fuel our car and clean our environment, and targeted therapies to attack “superbugs” and diseases such as cancer. In this talk, we highlight recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discuss a variety of synthetic biology applications in biomedicine, with a particular focus on infectious diseases.