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John McKearn Moves Up to Head Kalypsys; Barry Polisky Is Promoted to CSO of Sirna; Joe DeRisi, Tom Tuschl, Greg Hannon, Evan Eichler, Stephen Quake Join Ranks of Howard Hughes Investigators; and Others

John McKearn has been promoted to CEO of Kalypsys, the San Diego-based company said yesterday. He joined the company in 2003 as chief scientific officer and become president in 2004. Prior to Kalypsys, he was senior vice president of research at Pharmacia. McKearn holds a PhD in immunology from the Universityof Chicagoand a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University.


 

Barry Polisky was promoted to chief scientific officer and senior vice president of research of Sirna Therapeutics, the Boulder, Colo.-based company said last week. He has been leading Sirna's research organization since June 2002. Prior to joining Sirna, he was vice president of research at NeXstar Pharmaceuticals.

 

In addition, Nassim Usman, senior vice president and chief operating officer, is leaving Sirna "to pursue other interests," according to the company.

 

Sirna said today that Keith Yamamoto has become chair of its scientific advisory board. He is the executive vice dean of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.


 

Rick Burdsall has been promoted to vice president and chief information officer of Agilent Technologies, the company said last week. Most recently, he was Agilent's vice president of information technology solution services. Burdsall holds an MBA and a BSc in electrical engineering from San Jose State University.


 

Stephen Benoit has become vice president of sales and marketing, and Tod Kombell director of business development of Sciona, the Boulder, Colo.-based genetic testing company said on Monday. Previously, Benoit was a co-founder of NanoMed Pharmaceuticals. He holds an MBA in finance from LoyolaMarymountUniversityin Los Angeles. Kimbell held management positions in product development at Whole Foods. He has a doctorate in geochemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas.


 

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute on Monday named 43 new investigators, chosen from almost 300 proposals in a nationwide competition. Among the new HHMI investigators are microbial microarray pioneer Joe DeRisi, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco; RNAi researchers Tom Tuschl, an associate professor at Rockefeller University, and Greg Hannon, a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Evan Eichler, an associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle; and Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering at Stanford University.


 

Gary Patou will join the board of directors of Oscient Pharmaceuticals, following his retirement as executive vice president and chief medical officer at the end of the month, the Waltham, Mass.-based company said yesterday. He will remain a company consultant until the end of the year. Prior to joining Oscient in 2005 after its merger with GeneSoft Pharmaceuticals, Patou was president of Genesoft. He holds MD, MB, BS, and BSc degrees from University College London.

 

Further, Vernon Loucks Jr. has resigned from Oscient's board. He was an original member of the board of GeneSoft.


 

Frank Douglas has joined the board of directors of Archemix, the Cambridge, Mass.-based aptamer therapeutics company said yesterday. Until his recent retirement, he was executive vice president of Drug Innovation & Approval and chief scientific officer of Aventis Pharma. Douglasholds a medical degree.


 

James Winkelman has been appointed as chair of the scientific advisory board of Xenomics, the New York-based company said yesterday. He is a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School and the former director of laboratories for Brigham and Women's Hospital.


 

Samuel Barker has become chairman of the board of directors of Lexicon Genetics, the company said on Monday. He replaces Thomas Caskey, who will remain a company director. Until his retirement in 1999, Barker held various executive positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has been a Lexicon director since 2000.


 

Thomas Williams has joined Exagen Diagnostics as special advisor for molecular pathology, the Albuquerque, NM-based company said on Monday. He is the vice chairman of the department of pathology at the Universityof New Mexico Schoolof Medicine.


 

Katherine High has joined the scientific advisory board of Benitec, the company said last week. She is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an advisory committee member of the Food and Drug Administration. High holds an MD from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.


 

Peter Pulay has been appointed to the Mildred Cooper Chair in Bioinformatics Research at the Universityof Arkansas, the university said last week. The chair was created through a $750,000 gift from philanthropists John and Pat Cooper, and will be matched through theUniversityof Arkansas Matching Gift Program. Pulay is a theoretical chemist who is currently developing parallel software programs to reduce the time needed to predict the properties of molecules.

 

Promoted? Changing jobs? GenomeWeb News wants to know. E-mail us at [email protected] to announce your move in PEOPLE, a weekly roundup of personnel changes in the genomics industry.

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