James J. Collins


James J. Collins, PhD, is the recipient of the 2021 Sigma Xi Walston Chubb Award for Innovation. The award honors and promotes creativity in science and engineering. It carries a $4,000 honorarium and an invitation to give the Walston Chubb Award Lecture at Sigma Xi's Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference. Collins is being recognized for innovative work in synthetic biology, which has transformed biotechnology and led to novel classes of therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines, including ones that have impacted the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collins is Termeer Professor of Bioengineering in the Department of Biological Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering & Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also a member of the Harvard–MIT Health Sciences & Technology faculty. He is a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Collins' research group works in synthetic biology and systems biology, with a current focus on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. His patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma, and medical device companies. He has helped to launched a number of companies, including Sample6 Technologies and EnBiotix. He has also co-founded a number of companies, including Synlogic, Senti Biosciences, Sherlock Biosciences, and Phare Bio, a non-profit focused on AI-driven antibiotic discovery.

In addition to the 2021 Walston Chubb Award, Collins has received numerous other awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur "Genius" Award. He is a Sigma Xi member and an elected member of all three national academies – the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.