James J. Collins (June 26, 1965) is an American bioengineer, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. He is one of the founders of the emerging field of synthetic biology, and a pioneering researcher in systems biology, stochastic resonance, biological dynamics and neurostimulation.
Collins' scientific accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards. For example, in 1999, he was selected for Technology Review's inaugural TR100 - 100 young innovators who will shape the future of technology. In 2003, he received a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award", becoming the first bioengineer to receive this honor. Collins award citation noted, "Throughout his research, Collins demonstrates a proclivity for identifying abstract principles that underlie complex biological phenomena and for using these concepts to solve concrete, practical problems." In 2005, Collins was selected for the Scientific American 50 - the top 50 outstanding leaders in science and technology. In 2007, Collins received the NIH Director's Pioneer Award and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award in Aging Additionally, he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2008, Collins was selected as an HHMI Investigator, becoming the first BU faculty member to be honored with this distinction.
Collins is also a gifted and committed teacher. He has won numerous teaching awards at Boston University, including the Biomedical Engineering Teacher of the Year Award, the College of Engineering Professor of the Year Award, and the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching, which is the highest teaching honor awarded by Boston University.
Collins has been involved with a number of start-up companies, and his inventions and technologies have been licensed by several biotech and medical device companies. Collins currently co-chairs the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of Gene Network Sciences, and serves on the SAB of Codon Devices, Epitome Biosystems and Joule Biotechnologies. Additionally, he has served on the SAB of Mannkind Corporation (Nasdaq: MNKD) and Bios Group Inc.
Collins has invented a number of novel devices and techniques, including vibrating insoles for enhancing balance, bistable genetic toggle switches for biotechnology and bioenergy applications, dynamical control techniques for eliminating cardiac arrhythmias, and systems biology techniques for identifying drug targets and disease mediators.