Tucker Collins grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He won the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and was accepted at Amherst College, where he worked with Edward Leadbetter and Walter Godchaux. He spent two summers at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he attended Gerald Weissmann’s physiology course. Collins went into University of Rochester’s Medical Scientist Training Program program, obtaining both his MD and his PhD. Collins began work on vascular endothelial cells while in Jordan Pober’s pathology lab section at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, while finishing his residency in pathology. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded his research into platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Collins set up his own lab with one of his numerous grants and began teaching at Harvard University. His lab continues investigations into cytokine adhesion and PDGF, hoping to discover how and why organisms form or malform.