J.J. Collins received a bachelor's degree in Physics (summa cum laude; class valedictorian) from the College of the Holy Cross in 1987 and a doctorate in Medical Engineering from the University of Oxford in 1990. From 1987 to 1990, he was a Rhodes Scholar. Since 1990, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University.
Currently, Dr. Collins is a University Professor, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Co-Director of the Center for BioDynamics at Boston University. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award, the Thomas Stephen Group Prize from the Engineering in Medicine Group of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award, and Boston University's Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 1999 he was selected as one of Technology Review's inaugural TR100—100 young innovators who will shape the future of technology. Dr. Collins is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2003, he received a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," and in 2005, he was selected for the Scientific American 50—the top 50 outstanding leaders in science and technology.
Dr. Collins is a scientific co-founder and chair of the scientific advisory board (SAB) of Cellicon Biotechnologies, Inc., and a scientific co-founder and chair of the SAB of Afferent Corp. He is also a member of the SAB of MannKind Corp. and Codon Devices, respectively. Dr. Collins' research focuses on developing nonlinear dynamical techniques and devices to characterize, improve and mimic biological function. His specific interests include: (1) systems biology—reverse engineering naturally occurring gene regulatory networks, (2) synthetic biology—modeling, designing and constructing synthetic gene networks, and (3) developing noise-based sensory prosthetics.