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In Review: The Affable Face of Affymetrix, the 'Omics of Neurological Research, and Women in Science


Genome Technology profiled Sue Siegel in its October 2001 issue. At that time, she was the president of Affymetrix — having been promoted from her post as senior VP of marketing and sales two years before — tasked with making the company more customer-friendly. Having established a reputation for herself as a charming, charismatic leader, Siegel's job was to regain customer loyalty and trust as Affymetrix battled both a host of competitors and what GT termed the company's "reputation for Microsoft-esque arrogance." Affymetrix began listening to feedback from its customers and acting on their requests, GT said then, and began coming up with new products to suit their clients. Today, Affymetrix continues to serve up new products. The company recently commercialized a next-generation transcriptome array for use in large-scale clinical studies. In 2007, Siegel joined venture capital firm Mohr Davidow, where she still works. The firm has financed such companies as RainDance Technologies and Navigenics.

In October 2006, GT looked into the widening use of genomic technologies in the study of the brain. The issue's cover story profiled several different researchers using various approaches for everything from identifying genes linked to brain development to finding treatments for neurological diseases. The use of various 'omics approaches in neuroscience continues. A team of European researchers reported in Molecular Psychiatry in September that epigenetic regulation of the BDNF gene has implications for psychiatric disorders, and several research teams have published work on the connection between impaired cholesterol metabolism and Huntington's disease.

Last year, GT took a look at the "leaky pipeline" — women leaving the sciences because of incompatibilities between family life and work, salary gaps, and an absence of women in the upper echelons of academic research. GT spoke with Catherine Hill, director of research at the American Association of University Women, who said the majority of people still associate math and science with men, rather than with women, and that many women have a hard time in male-dominated fields because they are perceived as being outside the norm. Indeed, GT's recent salary survey showed that women earn less than men in the sciences, even when they hold the same positions, and in August, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released a report showing that women with a PhD earn only as much as men with a BA.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.