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Media Advisory 05-015

James Collins of Arizona State U. to Become NSF Head of Biological Sciences

August 8, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

National Science Foundation Director Arden L. Bement, Jr., has named James Collins of Arizona State University to head the Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences. Collins is currently the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment, and Faculty Leader of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Sciences in ASU's School of Life Sciences. He will join the Foundation in October 2005.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Jim Collins," said NSF Director Arden L. Bement Jr. "Not only is he a scientist of extraordinary distinction, his longstanding interest in the broad cultural, institutional and educational aspects of biology will serve our mission to integrate research and education."

As Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, Collins will oversee NSF's nearly $580 million annual investment in fundamental biological research and serve on the Foundation's senior management team. He replaces Mary E. Clutter, who is retiring.

As an investigator, Collins has focused on how subgroups within a species physically change in response to ecological and evolutionary pressures, and, most recently, the role of pathogens in the global decline of amphibian. He chairs the task force of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Declining Amphibian Populations.

In addition, he has concentrated on the intellectual history of ecology and taken an active role in ASU's successful curriculum-enhancement and mentoring programs for undergraduates.

Collins has substantial prior experience with NSF in his roles as program director, a research awardee, and as chairman of the external Advisory Committee for the biological sciences directorate (BIO AC). He also represented BIO AC on NSF's Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education.

Collins received his B.S. degree from Manhattan College and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served on the editorial board of Evolution and Ecology/Ecological Monographs. In addition to his NSF grants, Collins' research has been supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Army, and the National Geographic Society, among others.

Collins' full bio is available at


Media Contacts
Leslie Fink, NSF, (703) 292-5395, email:
Skip Derra, ASU, (480) 965-4823, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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