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Mike Snyder, Personalized Medicine, Open Access, SBGN, and the 1,000 Genomes Project


In Genome Technology's cover story five years ago, we looked into the tech transfer process, with our cover image showing off Mike Snyder, who worked with the Yale tech transfer group to start his company Protometrix. The startup was acquired by Invitrogen not long after the story ran. Since then, Snyder has spun out another company — this one called Affomix, which is working on large-scale antibody arrays. Meanwhile, Snyder left Yale this summer to lead the new Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford, where he will also serve as chair of the school's genetics department.

Also five years ago, a feature article looked into the promise (and reality) of personalized medicine; the story included interviews with Paul Billings and Hunt Willard. Billings, then a vice president at LabCorp, has since been named acting director and chief science officer of the new Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital. Hunt Willard, who continues as director of the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University, was honored with the 2009 William Allan Award by the American Society of Human Genetics. The award was established in 1961 to recognize scientists for substantial contributions to the field of human genetics.

Last year in Genome Technology, our cover story investigated the open access literature movement to familiarize readers with various sides of the debate. Recently, Nature Publishing Group — whose flagship journal, Nature, does not have an open-access option for authors — announced that it would launch a new publication next spring called Nature Communications that will include an option for authors to pay a fee to make their papers openly accessible.

Also last year, GT reported on the Systems Biology Graphical Notation project, an international effort headed up by researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute, which had just released the first of three specifications targeted at helping systems biologists depict biochemical and cellular reactions. This summer, SBGN published a description of the initiative in Nature Biotechnology in an effort to move the guidelines beyond the computational biology realm.

In other news in November 2008, scientists from the 1,000 Genomes Project reported that they had produced nearly 3 terabases of sequence data. Earlier this year, researchers presented the first analyses of the pilot project data, finding new common variants in the human genome. And in September, scientists in the project said they were on track to sequence almost 1,000 additional samples at low coverage by early 2010.

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