James J. Collins, professor of biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering (ENG) and co-director of the Center for BioDynamics, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for contributions to synthetic biology and engineered gene networks.
Collins becomes the third BU professor to be elected to the prestigious group joining President Robert A. Brown, who was elected in 1991 for application of computing techniques to fundamental and practical problems in fluid mechanics, rheology, and crystal growth and Farouk El-Baz, elected in 2002 for selecting the landing sites for the Apollo missions, and for pioneering methods of discovering subsurface freshwater from space observations.
A founder of the emerging field of synthetic biology and a leader in systems biology, Collins’ research has led to the development of novel bioengineering devices and techniques, while making innovative contributions at multiple biological scales. His work in complexity science has spurred new devices to treat stroke-induced brain failure, enhanced doctors’ understanding of how human posture is warped by aging and Parkinson’s disease, and helped invent synthetic gene networks, whose many uses include fighting bacterial infections.