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People in the News: Mar 31, 2009

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Joshua Sharfstein, who recently was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, this week took over as acting FDA commissioner.

Sharfstein will hold that title while confirmation hearings are held for Margaret Hamburg, who was named by Obama to head the agency.

He takes over the interim role from Frank Torti, who has served as acting FDA commissioner since January.

Sharfstein has been health commissioner for the city of Baltimore for the past three years. He also is a former investigator for the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, serving under Rep. Henry Waxman (D - Calif.).


Geron this week announced the appointment of Karen Eastham to its board of directors.

Eastham currently serves as a director of several life-science companies, including Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Illumina, and Genoptix. She most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of trustees of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.