Rory Collins, appointed Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank in September 2005, was recently knighted for Services to Science.
His work has been in the establishment of large-scale studies of the causes, prevention and treatment of heart attacks, other vascular disease, and cancer. His research has helped save millions of lives around the world every year. For example, the studies that he has run have shown that “clot busting” treatments and “clot preventing” treatments (like aspirin) can halve the risk of death following a heart attack. He has also shown that the cholesterol-lowering “statin” drugs reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in a much wider range of people than had been thought to benefit (including the elderly, women, people with diabetes and those with below average cholesterol).
Rory qualified in medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1981 and obtained BSc in statistics from George Washington University, Washington DC in 1977 and MSc in statistics from the University of Oxford in 1983.
In 1985 he became co-director, with Professor Sir Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford’s Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU). In 1996 he was appointed Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford, supported by the British Heart Foundation. CTSU was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2006 for its research contributions to public health.