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The Bounds of Academia


A few years ago, I was trying to decide whether to continue my studies, try for a PhD, and hopefully become a biology professor. Though I ultimately did not, many of my colleagues did. As Tracy Vence finds in this month's cover story, the job market, especially in academia, is tight, and though many PhD scientists are still looking for careers there, others are looking for creative ways to use their PhDs outside the bounds of academia. Tracy also notes areas of growth in the biosciences, namely in toolkit companies, synthetic biology, molecular diagnostics, computational biology, and biostatistics.

I'd like to take a moment to note two changes at GenomeWeb and Genome Technology. First, we've bid a fond farewell to Meredith Salisbury, who was the editor in chief of GenomeWeb, though she started out as an associate editor at GT in 2001. While she has moved on from our company, I'm sure that we have not yet heard the last of Meredith. Second, there is a new section in GT this month. Each issue, the Project Spotlight will focus on a lab or collaboration that is doing some particularly interesting research. The inaugural article by Matthew Dublin, on page 13, looks at the work of Cenk Sahinalp's lab at Simon Fraser University. Sahinalp is developing a new bioinformatics framework to better study structural variation.

On our Web site this month, you'll find a Letter to the Editor that was sent to us from William Grizzle and Katherine Sexton at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Tissue Collection and Banking Facility. In a response to an October GT article, Grizzle and Sexton point out challenges biobanks face in fulfilling specific requests from researchers, especially as they relate to The Cancer Genome Atlas project.

Finally, two corrections: The November article "Research Reparations" erroneously stated that Tuskegee patients were infected with syphilis by the researchers. That is not so. Rather, they were denied the standard treatment for the disease. And last month's profile of Michelle Chang misidentified her affiliation. She is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. GT regrets the errors.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.