Barry University

2014-2015 Common Reader

Book Title:

“The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine”


Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

What is a "common reader"?

A common reader is a book that is assigned to all first-year students to read before they arrive on campus. The purpose of a common reader is to create a connection among all new students. A University is essentially a learning community and the first-year reader is the one assignment you will have in common with other new students. When students, regardless major area of study, read a common text, a shared learning experience is possible. A common reading allows various experiences, reactions, and perspectives to be exchanged and discussed. All first-year students are expected to read this book before arriving for fall term classes.

Who selected this book?

The common reader was selected by the General Education Curriculum Committee, a 16-member group of faculty who teach the core courses (writing, theology, philosophy, literature, fine arts, history, sociology, political science, math, and science) that are required for every undergraduate program.

How will it be used?

All first-year students are expected to read this book before they arrive for fall term classes. Many first year classes will use the book as part of one or more assignments.

A mini-conference is planned for the fall semester and attending conference sessions and relating the information to the reader may be required or optional assignments for many classes. Instructors may require attendance to the conference as part of a class assignment.

Buying it

“The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine” by Francis S. Collins

Harper Collins Publishing
ISBN-10: 0061733172

Available at most retail outlets and soon at the Barry Bookstore.

Barry Bookstore link

About the author

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., helped to discover the genetic misspellings that cause cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease, and a rare form of premature aging called progeria. A pioneer gene hunter, he led the Human Genome Project from 1993 until 2008. For his revolutionary contributions to genetic research, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, and the National Medal of Science in 2009. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and has a longstanding interest in the interface between science and faith. He currently serves as the Director of the National Institutes of Health. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and in his spare time he enjoys riding a motorcycle and playing guitar.

Praise for this book:

“Those looking for a basic and broad view of the field should be satisfied. Writing with the authority of one who has seen human genomics develop from its infancy, Collins offers a clear and hopeful vision of this field’s role in the future of medicine.” – Science News

“Collins suggests that the key to realizing the potential of genomics is the active involvement of stakeholders, including scientists, doctors, policy makers and individuals. To this end he offers his book as a guide.” - American Scientists