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Hello Salaries, Goodbye FGT, Welcome Standards


One year ago in Genome Technology, the magazine featured its third annual salary survey, for which we boiled down salary data offered by 1,447 respondents. Compared with the results from two years back, which were based on the answers provided by 1,180 of you, last year’s forecast indicated that the field’s economic roller coaster had finally hit a brake run. As we reported at the time, salaries were holding, pay cuts weren’t as widespread as before, and layoff rates were comparable to those in the previous year.

This year, we’re continuing the salary survey tradition with our cover story, and it looks like the field is continuing to enjoy an economic springtime. Salary ranges are on the rise, company-wide layoff rates continue to drop, and raises are slightly up from last year. For those of you who did receive a recent bump up in pay, the percentage increases were significantly higher than those reported last year. Responses this year were also tracked in regions outside of the US and Canada, so we’ll be able to report on global salary trends in this and future issues. For details on all of this and more, check out this year’s results, starting on p. 23.

In last year’s issue, we also spoke with Andy Feinberg about his work to trace loss of imprinting of the IGF2 gene, an epigenetic mutation that he found increases the chance of developing intestinal tumors. Soon after the issue published, Feinberg teamed up with Orion Genomics to develop a colon cancer molecular diagnostic test based on methylation patterns. Since then, Feinberg has joined in the call for a Human Epigenome Project, and most recently delved into the epigenetic bases of cancer for attendees at an AACR meet-the-experts session.

Five years ago, our cover story focused on the early days of First Genetic Trust, the biobanking business set up by Arthur Holden and Andrea Califano. Califano left the firm in 2003 for a faculty post at Columbia University, where he leads several bioinformatics and systems biology research efforts. First Genetic Trust, meanwhile, shuttered its operations late last year. Arthur Holden has been appointed as Illumina’s senior vice president of corporate and market development.

 Hiroaki Kitano appeared in these pages five years ago, back when his international conference on systems biology was still a newbie. The meeting kicked off in Tokyo in 2000 and will return to Japan — Yokohama, to be precise — for its seventh incarnation this October.

The Human Proteome Organization was also in the news five years ago, back when it was little more than 24 advisory members hashing out initial goals in a McLean, Va., conference room. HUPO has come a long way since then, having even established an international secretariat in Montreal last summer. Most recently, leaders of the organization’s Proteomics Standards Initiative met to work out ways to integrate MIAPE standards with publication guidelines. Realizing that marrying disciplinary and presentation norms is hardly specific to proteomics, scientists at the meeting called for the construction of a central registry of reporting standards. We’ll let you know as soon as more meta-information about minimum information comes to a white paper near you.

— Jen Crebs



Next Month in GT

Don’t miss these features in the July/August issue:

Funding: NIH & beyond

After years of double-digit increases in NIH funding, systems biology researchers are faced with an NIH budget crunch. GT will provide an in-depth look at where NIH dollars are going — and how readers can grab their share — as well as external funding opportunities available for this field.


More and more, proteomics-based companies are proving their value through collaborations with big pharma. This story will examine how these partnerships work, and how pharma researchers are advancing their work thanks to the integration of proteomics data.


This year’s roundtable theme: setting up the lab of the future. In this second installment, experts discuss informatics and data handling issues for the cutting-edge laboratory of tomorrow.


The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.