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Grant funding, Potenzone, Protometrix and Affomix, Harvard's stem cell duo, and Haussler


Here's something that will make you long for the good old days: five years ago, getting grant funding seemed like a major challenge. In our May 2004 issue of Genome Technology — just after then-NIH Director Elias Zerhouni had succeeded in doubling the agency's budget — we devoted our cover story to offering advice on writing and winning grants, and we profiled a number of program directors who could offer their assistance to readers. What's happened in the years since is hardly a mystery: with inflation outpacing the NIH budget — an effect many scientists have taken to calling the "undoubling" — grants are significantly harder to come by now than they were just a few years ago. But a new stimulus plan from US President Obama has directed some $20 billion in funding to the scientific community for the next two years, and researchers are churning out grant applications to try to get their share.

In other news from five years back, we reported that Lion's Rudy Potenzone had joined Ingenuity Systems as senior vice president of business development and strategic planning. In the time since, Potenzone went to CambridgeSoft, and followed that with a move to Microsoft as worldwide industry technology strategist for pharmaceuticals. He coordinates Microsoft's BioIT Alliance.

A feature story in the May 2004 issue looked at the new forays into protein microarrays, a technology that was clearly taking off but still had plenty of needed improvements. Leigh Anderson told GT at the time that scientists would need chips covering all antibodies — not just the readily available ones. One of the first companies to offer protein arrays was Michael Snyder's Protometrix, which was later sold to Invitrogen. Snyder now has a new company called Affomix that's working on large-scale antibody arrays.

Our cover story last year looked into genomic approaches being used to study stem cells. Brad Bernstein and Konrad Hochedlinger, both from Harvard, graced the cover of GT — and just this spring, the two were named Early Career Scientists by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an honor that includes coverage of salary and benefits, as well as $1.5 million to fund lab research, for the next six years.

A year ago we also profiled David Haussler, whose University of California, Santa Cruz, lab has become synonymous with genome alignment and the study of genomic conservation. Last summer, Haussler was presented with the Senior Scientist award by the International Society for Computational Biology.