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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.              


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

Cell Atlas of Human Lung Development Gives View of Developing Airway

Researchers have generated a cell atlas of human lung development, which they report in Cell.

Study Finds Costs of Genome Sequencing May Limit Utility in Routine Care

Researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics that genome sequencing for rare disease diagnoses currently has similar benefits as less expensive exome analysis.

Study Suggests Nursing Mother's Diet Can Impact Offspring's Gut Microbiome

A new Cell Host and Microbe paper finds that mice whose mothers were fed a low-fiber diet during nursing experience lasting microbiota dysbiosis and increased obesity.

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.