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Making Proteins at Warp Speed


Generating proteins, and lots of ’em, is the name of the game for Joanna Albala, a senior biomedical scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. She says her lab — a handful of people — has a two-pronged mission: to develop proteomic technologies and to look at protein function in high throughput. Hence, she says, her group is taking a close look at protein-chip technology and bead-based technologies that it can use to generate and evaluate proteins from Lawrence Livermore’s massive collection of IMAGE Consortium cDNA clones.

Lately she’s gotten some attention for this work. In October, the proteomics company Phylos signed Albala up for a four-year partnership. Phylos will provide Albala with what she says is “significant funding” to add staff to her lab and to continue work developing a high-throughput process for deriving target proteins from cDNAs. In turn, by early 2002, her team will begin delivering to Phylos on the order of 100 protein targets per quarter.

Albala says the deal is actually the outcome of “a true networking opportunity” at last year’s Chips to Hits meeting in Philadelphia. It was there that executives from Phylos, a Lexington, Mass., developer of protein binders, happened to be on the lookout for a collaborator that could custom deliver target proteins. Albala sat down next to one of them during a luncheon in the exhibit hall.

“We’d been buying protein targets from various sources, but the quality is variable and it’s also not cheap,” Phylos president Ashley Lawton says. “We felt we needed to find a more controlled source of target proteins” to use as substrates when developing binding agents.

— Adrienne Burke

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

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