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Michael Lebl, Neal Nathanson, Louise Henry, Mark Enyedy, Saeid Akhtari, Andrew Conway, Scott Kahn, J. Tyler Martin, Dennis J. Purcell

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Michael Lebl, senior director of automation at Illumina of San Diego, was awarded the Jouan Robotics Award at the

Lab Automation 2003

conference in Palm Springs, Calif.. this week. Lebl won for his centrifugation-based highly parallel oligonucleotide-synthesis technologies, which form the basis of Illumina’s oligator oligonucleotide service business. The award includes a check for $10,000 and the opportunity to address the conference. Lebl has previously worked at Trega Bioscience and Selectide Corp., and was a co-founder of Spyder Instruments. He is a 1974 graduate of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague.

Neal Nathanson, vice provost for research at the

University of Pennsylvania

, announced his retirement last week. Nathanson was director of the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health from 1998 until 2000. He was chairman of the department of microbiology at Penn for 15 years, and served as dean of research and training at the school of medicine there. In his career, Nathanson, a Harvard-trained MD, also headed the polio surveillance unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Louise Henry was named vice president for quality, and Mark Enyedy was named vice president for business development, for Vertex Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass. Henry was director of quality operations and quality global product development for Eli Lilly. Mark Enyedy was as vice president of business development for Genzyme. Henry holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Purdue University. Enyedy holds a bachelor’s from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Saeid Akhtari was named president and chief executive officer of Silicon Genetics from his post of chief operating officer for the Redwood City, Calif., company. Akhtari succeeds Andrew Conway, who will remain as executive chairman of the board of directors.

Scott Kahn was named chief science officer for Accelrys of San Diego. Previously, he was general manager and senior vice president of Accelrys’ life sciences division. He received his PhD in theoretical organic chemistry from the

University of California, Irvine

, and did post-doctoral work at Cambridge University, UK. He was also an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

J. Tyler Martin was named vice president for development for Sangamo BioSciences of Point Richmond, Calif. Prior to Sangamo, Martin was senior vice president for research and development at Valentis of Burlingame, Calif. Martin earned a BS in chemistry from the University of Nebraska and an MD from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.

Dennis J. Purcell and Reinaldo Diaz were named to the Valentis board of directors as the company moved to trade on Nasdaq’s small cap exchange. Purcell is a senior managing partner of the Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund. Diaz is the founder of the Diaz & Altschul Group, a merchant bank.

The Scan

Tennessee's COVID-19 Sequencing

The Tennessean reports that a state lab there can now run its own genome sequencing analyses of SARS-CoV-2 samples.

Sanction Violation Charges

A former professor has been charged with exporting genetic sequencing equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions, the Miami Herald reports.

Prenetics to Go Public Through SPAC

Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based genomic and diagnostic company, is going public through a SPAC merger, according to 360Dx.

Nature Papers Examine Genomes of Centenarians, Transcription-Coupled DNA Repair

In Nature this week: analysis of centenarian genomes uncovers longevity-linked variants, and more.