Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Short Reads: Jan 28, 2009


The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking volunteers to participate in the Sequencing Quality Control project with the aim of providing objective assessments of DNA and RNA analysis technologies and the software designed to manage and analyze the "massive new data sets" that next-generation tools create. Volunteers could include vendors of next-gen sequencing tools and institutions interested in generating, managing, analyzing, and interpreting data.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute announced 12 new universities that have joined its Science Education Alliance aimed at involving students in scientific discovery across the US. Among the new participants are Brigham Young University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Colorado.

Darren Platt left 23andMe, where he was senior director of research, to join Amyris Biotechnologies as a principal scientist. Before joining 23andMe, Platt was head of bioinformatics at the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute.

Sanjiv Gambhir, director of the scientific program at the Canary Foundation and a professor at Stanford University, was named to the US National Academies Institute of Medicine.

New York University researchers John Chen and Richard Novick reported in Science that bacterial genes can be transferred as quickly between some bacteria of different species as they can within the same species. Regions known as pathogenicity islands were shown to be transferred between Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, leading the scientists to caution others about using phage-mediated therapies where such gene-swapping bacteria exist.

RainDance Technologies and Harvard physics professor David Weitz will share a $750,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to develop a new fluorescence-activated cell sorter. The researchers plan to use the funding to demonstrate the use of RainDance's micro-droplet technology as part of a cell-sorting device.

Emile Nuwaysir, formerly senior vice president of program management and business development as well as chief technology officer of Roche NimbleGen, joined Cellular Dynamics International as its chief operating officer.

The University Hospital of Bordeaux's Biomedical Innovation Platform launched a new biomarker research facility and plans to open a next-generation sequencing center.

The National Institutes of Health will commit around $1.5 million in the coming fiscal year to fund the development of informatics training programs that could become regional, national, or international centers of excellence in informatics education and bioinformatics centers. The program, which will fund five or six new grants with up to $230,000 for five years, is a collaboration between the Fogarty International Center, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the National Library of Medicine.

The European Commission has awarded €12 million to a consortium of European research centers through 2012 to conduct genome-wide association studies on several dog breeds in hopes of gaining a better understanding of human diseases. The program involves 20 veterinary schools in 12 European nations that will collect 10,000 DNA samples from purebred dog species that have genetic diseases and from healthy dogs.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a call for genomics, proteomics, and other biomedical researchers to submit white papers about needed advances in personalized medicine. The advice will be used to develop new competitions for funding under the agency's Technology Innovation Program.

Daphne Bell and Eliott Margulies are two of 12 NIH-supported researchers who received the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Both are researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute and received the award for their contributions to human genomics. The National Institutes of Health's effort to study the interplay between genetics and the environment in 100,000 children over two decades has begun recruiting volunteers. The National Children's Study's first phase of recruitment will seek volunteers in Duplin County, NC, and in Queens, NY. Over the next 18 months, each volunteer center is expected to have a total of roughly 375 volunteers, and when the study is fully operational, NIH expects the NCS to have around 40 study centers recruiting volunteers from 105 study locations throughout the US.

NIH awarded the University of California, San Diego, $16.6 million to study epigenetic modifications across the human genome. The five-year grant will fund interdisciplinary studies to comprehensively map elements of the human genome and will be led by Bing Ren, who heads the Laboratory of Gene Regulation at UCSD's Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.