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Short Reads: Dec 1, 2011

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Illumina plans to lay off 200 employees, or 8 percent of its global workforce, as part of a restructuring move.

Chris Kaiser will be the new director of the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Kaiser is a cell biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He replaces Judith Greenberg, who became acting director of the institute last July after the departure of Jeremy Berg. Kaiser is expected to take up the post in the spring.

The University of California, Davis, and BGI signed an agreement to establish a state-of-the-art BGI sequencing facility on the UC Davis Health System campus in Sacramento. They will also initiate planning for a permanent [email protected] Davis Joint Genome Center.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas awarded more than $100 million in new grants to cancer biology and therapeutics research, several projects using genomics, and to establish 'omics-focused labs. Among the recipients are Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Brendan Rae is the new chief business officer at Arrowhead Research. He was previously CBO of Vivaldi Biosciences.

The Archon X Prize Foundation announced new guidelines for its genomics competition, the $10 Million Archon Genomics X Prize presented by Medco. Participants will have 30 days to sequence 100 centenarians for a total cost of no more than $1,000 per genome, with no more than one error per million bases, to 98 percent completion, and with one complete phased chromosome. The competition will begin January 3, 2013.

Daniel Grosu is now Illumina's chief medical officer, a new position at the company. Previously, Grosu was group director of clinical science and clinical and medical affairs at OrthoClinical Diagnostics.

The Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute has chosen 41 research projects to use its sequencing services under its Community Sequencing Program. Among the selected projects are ones to study the rhizosphere, microbial genomes from a bioremediation research site, and microbial communities derived from peatlands.

Concordia University has launched a new center in Montreal that will focus on using structural and functional genomics to develop ways to transform green waste into biofuels. The Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics was funded with a $28.8 million grant.

Start-up nanopore sequencing company Genia's management team includes Stefan Roever as CEO, Roger Chen as chief technical officer, Randy Davis as vice president of research and development, and Pratima Rao as vice president of marketing.

Eleven research institutes have signed on as part of the New York Genome Center, which is to open in the spring. The nonprofit center will focus on sequencing and bioinformatics for research and clinical purposes, though it will also offer educational programs. The center aims to raise $125 million in investment commitments from private and public sources.

Tim Hall is Oxford Gene Technology's new finance director. He was previously the finance director of Lombard Medical Technologies.

Bernd Brust has resigned as Life Technologies' president of molecular medicine. He will serve as a consultant to the company through the end of December. Brust previously served as president of commercial operations at Life Tech and senior vice president of global sales at Invitrogen.

Patrice Milos has left Helicos BioSciences, where she was vice president and chief scientific officer. She has joined Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation.

Norrie Russell is Sialix's new president and CEO, a recently established full-time position at the company. Previously, Russell was president of Gene Logic, the US operating division of Ocimum Biosolutions.

The National Science Foundation has launched a new program for researchers with unusual ideas, through which it will fund new types of research. The program — Creative Research Awards for Transformative Interdisciplinary Ventures, or CREATIV — offers grants of up to $1 million over five years, and allows researchers to skip the normal peer-review process required to get NSF grants. Funding decisions for this program will be made within two to three months.

Sharon Tetlow is the new CFO at Pathwork Diagnostics. She was recently VP and CFO of Cell Genesys, and a venture partner at Apax Partners.

Markus Warmuth is the new CEO of H3 Biomedicine. He joined the company in August as its CSO. Before that, he was head of Oncology Drug Discovery at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research.

Affymetrix and Harvard Medical School researchers developed a new SNP genotyping array for studying the relationships between human populations.