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Synchrotrons, microarrays, careers, and more


Only five years ago this month, Genome Technology celebrated its very first birthday. For the inaugural anniversary issue, we sat down with Wayne Hendrickson, father of multiwavelength anomalous diffraction, who led us through the ins and outs of protein structure determination. These days, Hendrickson heads the NIH-funded New York Consortium on Membrane Protein Structure. The center, funded with $17.6 million over five years, seeks to speed up membrane protein determination and to address bottlenecks in their expression, purification, and structure determination of membrane proteins.

The cover story in September 2001 also featured stats on synchrotrons the world over, including the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France. Earlier this year, the facility inaugurated the Carl-Ivar Brändén Building, which serves as a focus for structural biology in Grenoble and comprises the Partnership for Structural Biology along with the Institut de Virologie Moleculaire et Structural. The shiny new facilities include labs for high-throughput protein purification and expression, robotic crystallization, deuteration and isotope labeling, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spec, and cryo-electron microscopy.

GT’s first-ever job survey debuted in the September 2001 issue. It was a modest offering, clocking in at only one page, and featured the advice of several headhunters who plied their trade exclusively in the genomics sector. Since those days, we’ve beefed up the coverage on the genomics jobs sector with our annual salary survey. Check out this year’s June issue for practical tips regarding your career.

Last year’s issue of Genome Technology took you into the world of microarray standards by way of a look at the US FDA-sponsored Microarray Quality Control project. Last summer, the project’s investigators were deep in experiments designed to generate performance standards. In May, the consortium released datasets to the public and submitted final manuscripts for publication. In December of this year, the group plans to hold a public meeting at the FDA to discuss microarray quality control and data analysis. If all goes according to plan, the group should have an official guidance ready by December 2007.

One year ago, GT served up results from our first-ever conference ratings survey. We deployed two surveys during the summer of 2005 to rank and report on the most worthwhile conferences in the field. Biology of Genomes, ASHG, Chips to Hits, and ISMB topped the lists depending on category. By our admittedly casual calculations, these conferences have continued to be popular destinations for the systems bio set. At this year’s Beyond Genome, for instance, conference organizers say that more than 700 attendees made their way to San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.

In Brute Force a year ago, Massively Parallel Technologies had just started recruiting beta testers for its on-demand Blast speed-up service. In December of last year, MPT officially released Blast PbH, a high-speed, software-based version of Blast that is available via the Web. This year, in April, the Colorado-based company doubled compute capacity at its Virtual Power Center, launched a biotech users’ forum, and announced compatibility with a host of Linux, Microsoft, and Mac operating systems.              

— Jen Crebs



Next Month in GT

Don’t miss these features in the October issue:

Brain special issue

This theme issue will focus on systems biology and the brain, with profiles of researchers and innovations in neuroscience from the fields of genomics, proteomics, epigenomics, and more.

RNAi delivery

The ultimate hope for RNAi is in use as a therapeutic — but the issue of delivering such a therapeutic to human cells is still a major obstacle standing in the way of this field’s success. GT will talk to specialists about the delivery issues, latest approaches, and needed breakthroughs to the problem.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.