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With Reorganization Ongoing, ABI Lists New Challenges for Its Business

SAN FRANCISCO — “We are re-thinking everything,” Tony White, chairman and CEO of ABI parent company Applera, said at a breakout session during the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, held here last week.

He declined to provide details on the progress of ABI’s reorganization, which was announced in July 2004.

Instead, Cathy Burzik, president of ABI, offered a list of long-term business and research goals — what it calls “grand challenges” for the next 10 years.

These challenges include: making genotyping routine and inexpensive; locating regulatory genes by comparing sequences across species and evolutionary time; real-time imaging of molecular function at the cellular level; determining how to get a cell to dedifferentiate; finding new ways of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting massive datasets; developing a toolkit to characterize gene functions; predicting three-dimensional structure of a protein or other complex molecule by knowing its gene sequence; and developing an understanding of human cells and tissues well enough to predict reaction to novel drugs and pathogens.

— MOK

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.